2002-10-07 - Complaining
Lamentations 3:39 Why should any living mortal, or any man, offer complaint in view of his sins?
If you know the book of Lamentations, then you know that before this verse the author had been complaining about how God had been unkind and severe. Here he seems to re-evaluate what he had been saying. He implies that neither he nor anyone else has any reason to complain. He says that we should not complain in view of our sins. If we are honest we know that we are often prone to complain. However, we learn here that we ought not to complain but rather we should patiently submit to the will of God.
If we go back to Numbers 11:1 we get a good idea about how God feels about complaining. "Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord; and when the Lord heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp." It seems that from this example that when we complain we simply increase our own misery and sorrow. As sinners our hardships and struggles are to be expected. Sin naturally brings on misery. If we are to complain we ought to complain about our sin and how easily we fall into it.
To never complain when we feel like we are under affliction is simply impossible. I am not saying we have to keep our mouths totally shut when we are struggling and our grief's and sorrows seem only to increase. In fact we find godly complaining in the words of David in Psalm 102:1-11. David takes his struggles to the Lord and acknowledges, after his rant, throughout the rest of the chapter, the glory, graciousness, and compassion of God.
We must be sure not to complain of God. It is not a wise thing to complain about the sovereign ruler of the universe. As we saw in the passage in Numbers 11, God can silence complainers at His will. We also know that God can do no wrong so when things seem to go wrong with us, we know that God is not to be blamed. "God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all," 1 John 1:5. When we are sick we don't go to the doctor and blame him for our illness. So also when we experience afflictions we do not go to God and blame Him for our troubles.
To complain is simply to torment ourselves. The origin of the word comes from a Latin word that means to lament. So to complain really signifies that we are making ourselves sad. It does not really mean that we are sad, but rather that by complaining we make ourselves sad. When we are tempted to complain we ought to remember a couple of verses which we also find in Lamentations chapter 3. Verses 22 and 23 tell us, "The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness."
Soli Deo Gloria,