Emotions are contagious. When my kids are excited about a good grade at school, I can’t help but smile. Other times they are grumpy and irritable and I find it wearing off on me all too easily.
Today as I read Numbers 11 I saw evidence to back up the contagious nature of attitudes as well. It started with the foreigners living among the Israelites as they wandered in the wilderness waiting on God to lead them to the promised land.
Verse four says, “the foreign rabble who were traveling with the Israelites began to crave the good things of Egypt. And then the people of Israel also began to complain.”
They rehearse all the great food they had in Egypt and look back on the past with rose colored glasses. No mention is made of the slavery, hardship, and murder of their babies. Instead they are thinking only of their immediate hunger.
Verse ten says, “Moses heard all the families standing in the doorways of their tents, whining.” One verse later Moses has caught the complaining bug, “What did I do to deserve the burden of all these people?”
I love Moses’s dramatic flare, “If this is how you intend to treat me, just go ahead and kill me. Do me a favor and spare me this misery!” On some days I can relate to Moses’s diatribe. With facebook, texting, and cell phones, we have immediate access to friends complaints about their husbands, kids whining about their first world problems, and it seems no one has anything good to say about their jobs or the government for that matter.
All of this can lead us to say, “come today Jesus – I’ve had enough.” The cool thing is – God welcomes our complaints. He wants us to bring them to Him – not make them our FB status or drag the others around us down with them. He listened to Moses patiently. He helped him by appointing 70 leaders to share his ministry burden.
However, at the same time, He reminded Moses to have faith in Him. Verse 23 says, “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Has my arm lost its power? Now you will see whether or not my Word comes true.”
God welcomes our complaints, but also calls to believe Him and not join in the contagious complaints around us.