When God took the children of Israel through the wilderness, they grumbled against Moses in frustration because of their circumstances. But it was God they grumbled against, unhappy and complaining about where they were and the "lack" they thought they had. They even went as far as to say they wish they would've died back in Egypt, where according to them they had plenty food. (Exodus 16:3) How crazy is that though? They were oppressed and kept in bondage in Egypt but would rather go back to that because the food was plenty. Though it was bondage, they had become so accustomed to being treated like that. But reasoned that they would rather be in bondage where they were familiar with the circumstances, than be in a new circumstance where they didn't know the end result. Why would they want to go back to bondage than be free though? Because the freedom came with a different level of uncertainty and uncomfortableness. They were mistreated and in bondage before but at least they were familiar with it. (*A whole other topic to go into.) They didn't understand that the new place they were in was a blessing in itself. A blessing because it's when we're placed in an uncomfortable position that we're forced to move and grow. It's in our fleshly nature that we avoid uncomfortable situations but God knows these situations are best for spiritual growth. And when we grow we get that much closer to walking out what God has for us.
So instead of the children of Israel first responding by getting in prayer (act of faith) to see what God had for them, their response was to complain (act of doubt) and regretted following Moses, who was following God, out of Egypt. Though they complained to Moses, those complaints were counted straight to God because Moses was only being obedient to Gods will and commands. So in essence, they were regretting following God at this time. In Exodus 16:4, God lets Moses know that He will provide for them but He was also going to prove or test them in the process by giving specific instructions and commands. The children of Israel had just proved to God once more, that they needed more refining and testing. It was in their grumbling and lack of gratitude, they showed they lacked maturity.
Many times when God is taking us through a refining fire and process, our first reaction or response is to complain and fuss about about our circumstances. Complaining comes from a place of misunderstanding though. Understand that these things are done according to God's understanding. Great thing is, we can get in prayer and ask God for His understanding of things. But we shouldn't delay in being obedient just because we lack an understanding. A child doesn't always know why a parent has certain rules but obeys out of respect and honor of that parent. So know that the refining process is to prove us ready. Prove us ready for what? you might be wondering. Prove us ready for the blessings, ministry, callings, answered prayers, marriage, etc - Whatever the case may be, this is a necessary process in where God teaches us to be more dependent upon Him to lead and guide us through. Some of these blessings are only released AFTER He's tested us and proved we're mature enough to maintain them.
Complaining stops progress in these ways:
- blocks us from seeing our own blessings because we're too focused on the negative.
- if we don't see our blessings than we have a lack of gratitude towards God.
- deflects from what we need to see within ourselves that need addressing (i.e. faults, mistakes, temptations, weaknesses, etc)
- promotes a prideful/arrogant mindset, as though you're "too good" to suffer or above it.
- prevents us from walking in humility and being content, therefore building up impatience, frustration, etc.
- builds up uncontrollable emotions and makes you emotion driven instead of being Spirit led.
- creates a negative environment for everyone else around us. Negativity breeds negativity.
- But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. - Matthew 6:33
- My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. - James 1:2-4 (KJV)
- But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. - Galatians 5:22-23 (KJV)