About a year ago, I sent out a series of messages about griping and complaining. I often explain how I might send a message that I know is for someone specific, but then realize that it speaks to me just as clearly. Ouch! Well, ever since I sent those messages out, my daily prayer has changed. I often pray: “Father, I do not want ever to offend you, so I ask that through your Holy Spirit, please help me never to gripe or complain about anything.”
With everything that is beginning to happen in our world, it is easy for fear to spread and for uncertainty to abound. So I think all of us should be praying for the Holy Spirit to remind us how murmuring and complaining are signs of impatience and a lack of faith of our faithful Lord.
In Exodus 17, Moses called it “tempting [or testing] God.” The children of Israel were at Rephidim, and they were out in the desert with absolutely no water to drink. Their needs and concerns were certainly legitimate. And what we feel is certainly legitimate. But that isn’t always the case. With them, their unbelief and doubt spread through the encampment like wildfire! The people forgot all their past deliverance from distress and began once again to doubt that God was with them. They cried, “Oh God, why did you bring us out of Egypt? Why didn’t you let us die there instead of bringing us to this place to kill us?” Wow!
They were ready to stone Moses and his brother Aaron. Their God being merciful gave them water out of a rock, but the Lord made them call it Massah and Meribah — murmuring and complaining. Ouch! It was a big black eye for those Hebrews, and it became a place they would never forget.
Right now, some of us are feeling that we have the right to murmur and complain because our particular situations are so painful and so difficult. I confess that I have been guilty of this kind of testing of my Lord. But when I read and reread Exodus 17, a reverent fear of the Lord grips my soul — because He takes this matter very seriously. And the closer we come to His presence and the more time we spend with Him, the more sensitive we become to how sinful it really is. As I explained the other day, the closer we draw to the light of God’s Word, and to our Lord, the more pronounced the sin in our life becomes.
You can see the reality of this in the Song of Solomon. After the maiden enters the King’s chambers and experiences the awesome presence of God. As she is brought to the light of God, she cries out, “I am black” (Song 1:5) . But please understand this is not a blackness with deliberate disobedience and sin, because she has already received cleansing from her past.
She had to have put aside everything that was knowingly wrong in her life in order to have entered into the Lord’s chambers. The Spirit of God will deal deeply with everyone who makes the confession of the maiden that they “will run after you.” He will reveal everything in their heart and life that is contrary to His Holiness. The maiden laments, “I was left alone, gazing at this overwhelming vision; I had no strength left, my face turned pale, and I was helpless” (Daniel. 10:8).
Job cried, “My ears have heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore, I despise myself! (Job 42:5-6), “I am undone; I am ruined; I am unclean” (Isaiah 6:5). When this self-abhorrence is real and deep, then you will have no hesitation to acknowledge it. Many people want the self-life dealt with in secret and are not willing to be as honest before others as they are before God. Some even refuse to be fully open before their God.
This pride must be broken before deliverance can come. Even our spiritually religious appearances must be surrendered so that we can enter a life of transparent reality before both God and man.
My wife has a marvelous gift that allows her to see beyond the words of people she is counseling. She can see inside the motives and truth in what people say to her. Okay, granted, I call it a marvelous gift — but it can also be very disconcerting when you are the patient under the knife of the exam — unable to hide from her probing eyes. This is not something she does deliberately, or even consciously — she doesn‘t even see it as all that “special.” But the insight she has is very amazing and the more marvelous because of her innocence in using the gift.
When the maiden realized the depth of her blackness, she also recognizes the changes that the Lord has accomplished through the righteousness of Christ. This new beauty displays her acceptance in Christ and the transforming effect of grace in her life. “Yes, I am black, yet lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem. Black in myself as the rough, unsightly tents of Kedar” (Song 1:5). Kedar refers to a dark room or chamber, so she is pointing to her dark and un-renewed mind. Paul stated that he counted everything in his soul-life as rubbish, which allowed him to experience the righteousness of God.
In the same way, in the symbolic language of Scripture, the believer is often referred to as the moon. The moon is dark in itself, it has no light of its own; however, the light it gives off is a reflection of the light from the sun. The sun in scripture represents Jesus. So when the maiden proclaimed that she was “dark like the tents of Kedar,” she was still as attractive as the beautiful curtains of Solomon. Solomon‘s curtains were made of fine linen, which refer to the righteous acts of the saints (Revelation 19:8). What has happened that the maiden has turned to the finished work of her Redeemer, knowing that she is accepted in the Beloved, and covered with His beauty in the eyes of a Holy God.
“One with Him, O Lord, There I live, and yet not I; Christ it is who there adores Thee; Who more dear, or who more nigh? All the Father‘s heart mine own—Mine—and yet His Son’s alone.” —Author Unknown.
Let’s get personal. Over the years, has our Lord seen you through any difficulties? Has He proven His faithfulness during these times? I trust that He has, but if He has not, then ask Him why? Where are the lapses of His help? When will we learn to trust Him, without reservation? When will we ever fully trust His promise to keep us, to love us, to be a Father, a Keeper? For that, we need the Holy Spirit to help us.
In a prophetic dream Evangelist Bobby Connor was shown a tiny cloud on the horizon. Jesus stated in an urgent tone, “Warn My people to avoid this dangerous, raging cloud!”
As you can imagine, he was shocked and asked, “Lord, how can this be such a dangerous cloud when it is so small and appears harmless?” He answered, “This cloud has the potential to devastate and steal every spiritual blessing from My people.”
Connor then asked, “Lord, what is this cloud?” The Lord told him, “It is the cloud of doubt!” What had appeared so insignificant now became of utmost importance.
This cloud of doubt becomes most effective when we allow it to penetrate our mind. If we continue to meditate on those thoughts, it will erode and erase all the promises of God in our lives. Which should remind us of something the Lord told Isaiah:
With perfect peace you will protect those whose minds cannot be changed, because they trust you.
Trust Yahweh always, because Yah, Yahweh alone, is an everlasting rock (Isaiah 26:3-4)
I plead with you, do not murmur or complain, because anyone who holds fast to their faith will experience peace in their victory. I pray that the Holy Spirit will help me, as well. Help me to take this to heart in the testing times I experience. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. I realize that if we could know how this will all end up to His glory, we would rest in his Word — but we don’t need to know how, we just need to trust!
The supernatural power of our God will drive away our doubt. Do you remember when John the Baptist was in prison? He was immersed in the dark cloud of doubt. He was overcome with doubts and fear and it silenced his voice for God! But what did Jesus tell John’s followers?: “Go tell John what you hear and see: The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them” (see Matthew 11:4-5).
When Paul and Silas were in prison, they drove back the dark cloud of doubt with shouts of praise and prayers of adoration. And I promise you that Praise and Thanksgiving, combined with an attitude of gratitude, can transform any situation!
The Psalmist declared, “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can people do to me?” (Psalm 118:6). “In the day when I am afraid, I will trust in You” (Psalm 56:3). Make those your declarations!
Friends, whatever it takes, turn from your doubts as quickly as possible — don’t allow the enemy to gain a foothold in your mind. Here’s an idea! Begin to meditate daily on Psalm 27! plant our Father’s promises deep within your heart. Declare these words as true over your life and the lives of those around you. These promises will prepare you for adverse circumstances!
The Lord is my Light and my Salvation—whom shall I fear or dread? The Lord is the Refuge and Stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked, even my enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, [even then] in this will I be confident.
One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek, inquire for, and [insistently] require: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord [in His presence] all the days of my life, to behold and gaze upon the beauty [the sweet attractiveness and the delightful loveliness] of the Lord and to meditate, consider, and inquire in His temple.
For in the day of trouble He will hide me in His shelter; in the secret place of His tent will He hide me; He will set me high upon a rock.
And now shall my head be lifted up above my enemies round about me; in His tent I will offer sacrifices and shouting of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; have mercy and be gracious to me and answer me!
You have said, Seek My face [inquire for and require My presence as your vital need]. My heart says to You, Your face (Your presence), Lord, will I seek, inquire for, and require [of necessity and on the authority of Your Word].
Hide not Your face from me; turn not Your servant away in anger, You Who have been my help! Cast me not off, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation!
Although my father and my mother have forsaken me, yet the Lord will take me up [adopt me as His child].
Teach me Your way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain and even path because of my enemies [those who lie in wait for me].
Give me not up to the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen up against me; they breathe out cruelty and violence.
[What, what would have become of me] had I not believed that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living!
Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord (Psalm 27)
We just need to trust!
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list. However, you can also find these messages at: Thought For The Day)