Do you know any cranky Christians? Christians who seem like all they do is complain? If you answered this question with a “Yes” I would like to challenge that answer.
Why Do You Tempt the Lord? – SERMON AUDIO
The Apostle Paul uses the Children of Israel and their struggles to obey God after the Exodus as a negative example to all Christians. He says this to them in 1 Corinthians 10:6-12;
“Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. 7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND ROSE UP TO PLAY.” 8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; 9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”
One of the greatest struggles Israel had in their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land was in trusting God for His daily provision; actually believing that He had saved them for a reason and that He was going to finish the job. They constantly complained saying things like;
Exodus 15:22-24 So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23 Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah. 24 And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?”
Just days after seeing God’s incredible power and the level of His covenant faithfulness in redeeming them from the slavery of Egypt, knowing that it was based on His promise to their forefathers, they immediately lost hope when they met a significant challenge.
Exodus 16:1-3 And they journeyed from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came to the Wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they departed from the land of Egypt. 2 Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3 And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
Oh sure, God went through all of that trouble to save you and defeat the Pharaoh and his armies just to leave you to die in the wilderness! That makes sense. NOT!
How much more has God done to save us as Christians? Even this event which would lead, ultimately, to the nation of Israel being formed so that God could bring His Messiah into the world, is a part of God’s redemption of His people, the Church. Abraham’s promise was to bless all the families of the earth, not just Abraham’s physical descendants.
Galatians 3:6-9 just as Abraham “BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS ACCOUNTED TO HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.
Has God come so far only to fail? Is He not strong enough, not smart enough, not committed enough, to complete what He has started? Our confidence needs to last longer than just a moment of faith to believe that our sins are forgiven. That faith needs to persevere through the trials of life, knowing that God will complete what He has started. That is what Paul told the Philippian Believers.
Philippians 1:3-6 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, 5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
If we doubt God every time a difficulty arises, we really do not trust Him! God tests His people on purpose, in order to show us where our confidence lies. Are we trusting in ourselves? Do we imagine that we know what God has promised without taking the time to read it in His word? God will strip away our false hopes through our trials. He will reveal to us, where our hearts are at.
Exodus 17:1 Then all the congregation of the children of Israel set out on their journey from the Wilderness of Sin, according to the commandment of the LORD, and camped in Rephidim; but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 Therefore the people contended with Moses, and said, “Give us water, that we may drink.” So Moses said to them, “Why do you contend with me? Why do you tempt the LORD?” 3 And the people thirsted there for water, and the people complained against Moses, and said, “Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?”
Israel was really lacking in their faith. This was demonstrated in their questioning of Moses as God’s appointed leader. To question him was to challenge the Lord and make the claim that He was not doing His job. It was to push God’s mercy to it absolute limit!
Exodus 17:4 So Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me!” 5 And the LORD said to Moses, “Go on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. Also take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go. 6 Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 So he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the contention of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?”
Ultimately they questioned whether He was really still with them, because they were having difficulties in life. God was testing them. He had proven Himself faithful to them, but they had not been faithful to Him. Complaining is Sin. It is a demonstration of UNBELIEF, of NOT TRUSTING GOD. Those who call themselves Christians, but live a life marked by the sin of complaining (especially about the leaders God has placed over them, political or spiritual) demonstrate the reality of their unbelief.
Are you caught in the trap of complaining all the time? It is time for you to repent and plead with God to grant you the faith to trust Him in all situations. He will get you to His appointed destination, just as Paul instructed the Philippians.
Romans 8:28-32 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
This does not mean that there will be no difficulties, no trials. On the contrary, it means that God will bring you through them all, even through death to arrive at your appointed end.
Romans 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE KILLED ALL DAY LONG; WE ARE ACCOUNTED AS SHEEP FOR THE SLAUGHTER.” 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Do you trust Him?
I encourage you to listen to the audio of the sermon by clicking on the link below. There is a lot more to it. Check it out!
Why Do You Tempt the Lord? – SERMON AUDIO