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  • Shawn Thornton

Complaining and Bickering

Thursday - March 18th

Devotionals from the Book of James

Scripture to Read Today: James 5:7-12


Don't grumble against one another, brothers and sisters,

or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

James 5:9

When you read through the Nation of Israel's story in the Old Testament, you can't help but notice both the unfaithfulness of the people to God and their complaining about life. God remains faithful to them even when they stray away. He continues to provide for and protect the children of Israel in the ups and downs of life. Often, they respond by complaining to Him and bickering with each other.

The Israelites cried out to God during their slavery in Egypt. He sent Moses and the ten plagues that brought Pharaoh to his knees. They were released from bondage. The first challenge they faced was being trapped at the Red Sea with Pharaoh’s armies pursuing them. They complained. They told Moses slavery was better than being backed up against the Red Sea with the Egyptians poised to destroy them.

The pattern would continue. The people faced trouble. They complained. God delivered them. They celebrated. Another challenge emerged. They complained. God delivered them. When they complained, they attacked Moses and other leaders. They brought each other down with all of their murmurings.

When hungry, thirsty, tired, impatient, and fearful, the people of Israel grumbled to each other about how much better they had it in Egypt. The complaints of Israel became an irritation to the Lord and Moses, their leader. After seeing the great hand of God in caring for them over and over again, they constantly fell back into grumbling and complaining.

We can easily criticize the Old Testament Israelites for their complaints and their amnesia about the good things God had for them. But we often fall into the same patterns. We complain when things aren't working out the way we want them to work out.

James instructs us to stop grumbling and complaining in James 5:9. The word he uses for grumbling emphasizes a complaining that turns into quarreling. He challenges us to avoid pulling each other down with our lack of gratitude.

How about you? Are you constantly negative? Do you criticize or complain more than you encourage and lift others? Ask God to show you any complaining or grumbling you do over the next few days. Hear the conviction of the Spirit of God. Look for ways to thank the Lord and others for the blessings in your life. Find ways to encourage rather than bicker with them.

God's people must avoid a pattern of complaining and bickering. We should be grateful to God and uplifting to others!


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