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And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.

Numbers 17:8
© Credit

People love to complain about their families, the economy, school, jobs, the government … even God and His divine decisions. That these things don’t meet their expectations! And most of their issues are legit! 

Parents teach their children to complain. The children turn these complaints on each other and eventually on their parents. Imagine a family sitting at dinner ‘eating’ complaints before the real food? Hmmm. Daddy will complain, mummy will share a grumble, and the children will also kvetch. After that, they eat the actual food. 

The main difference between people who have many complaints and those who don’t is perspective. Your complaining behaviour – call it ‘Complaint Meter’ – reveals your perspective. During my sixth form years, a colleague, Rosemary prayed, “….O Loving Father, Your goodness and mercy are now tormenting me!” Imagine complaining to God about His own goodness!

© Credit (Spencer H)

Now back to our story. Israel was always complaining. It had started with Aaron and Miriam. This time, Kohath, Dathan, and Abiram (Numbers 16) felt that Moses and Aaron had taken too much responsibility upon themselves. And Israel supported them against Moses and Aaron. God, as usual, provided a solution – He revealed whom He wanted to do His work. He asked all the leaders to bring rods representing their families. Commentators say that rods were symbols of authority and used to guide the sheep[1]. Among the rods/staffs brought to the tabernacle representing the leaders of the families, only Aaron’s staff “sprouted–buds, blossoms, and even ripe almonds!” (Message Bible). Yet they were not satisfied. They complained until God made the ground open instantly and swallow them. The following day, more people had to die before calm was restored. Creating a questionnaire to help us discover more about complaining would be nice. Consider the scale below as a complaint meter. It reveals whether we want to help with the solution or, instead, with the problem, whether we wish for God’s resolutions or our own solutions. It shows us if we expect God’s answers, whether we trust Him, whether we’ll accept His response, and whether we are submitted to Him or not! What reads your complaint meter? Place a check on your current number of complaints in life: 

© Credit (Thomas Kelly)
  • 0 – 5 o             – Want To Help With God’s Solution
  • 6 – 10 o           – Want God’s Solution
  • 11 – 15 o           – Want Any Solution Anyhow
  • 16 – 20 o          – Want To Always Find Problems
  • 21 – 25 o          – Want To Help Enlarge The Problem

A heart in love with God complains too. However, this is controlled/constrained by a perspective of submission, just like Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:42). That heart unites with God in finding and implementing solutions. It reviews and says, not my wish but Yours, dear Father. The other view is informed by defiance. This defiant view manifests in different forms. A constantly grumbling mouth usually is close to a heart not fully submitted to God. A Christian grumbler went on until one day, the pastor thought he had found something at last that she could not complain about – her potatoes. “Ah, for once, you must be pleased,” he said, beaming with smiles when they met in the street. “Everyone is saying you got splendid potatoes this year.” The lady glared at him as she answered, “Quite right. But what about the bad ones I need for my poultry?” She had wanted God to give her rotten potatoes for her poultry business!! Remember what my friend, Rosemary said above? Grumbling mouths may not emanate from hearts fully submitted to God. Are you entirely surrendered to God? What does your meter say?

[1] Difference Between Rod and Staff – Ask Any Difference; Staff vs. Rod – What’s the difference? | Ask Difference