I’m Just A Complaining Monk
“Moses heard the people weeping throughout their clans, everyone at the door of his tent. And the anger of the LORD blazed hotly, and Moses was displeased.” Numbers 11:10 (ESV)
Back in the 11th century there was a man who felt compelled to leave his rich life behind and join a monastery. As this man became a monk he was required to take a vow of silence and was allowed to speak two words every 10 years. At the end of his first 10 yrs the Superior of the monastery ask this monk, “What do you have to say” to which the monk replied “Food Bad”. After the end of 20 yrs the Superior asked the monk the same question to which he replied, “Bed Hard”. At the end of 30 yrs the monk was again asked the same question to which his reply was “I Quit”. And with that the Superior retorted, “Good, all you’ve done since you have been here is complain.”
One of the things that Dr. Richard Allen Farmer made clear to me, over the past Labor Day weekend, was that when the burden of self-reliance becomes too heavy (which it always does anyway) we complain. I got a clearer picture of this when he preached from Numbers 11. I had always looked at this chapter as the chapter where mass complaining lead to a darkening cloud of quail falling upon the Nation of Israel and unlike the manna they complained about, which had to be finished in one day, YHVH says “You will eat it until it comes outta your nostrils and that’s all you get for a month.” Personally it may have been wise to ask for quail to go with the manna, perhaps making BBQ’ed quail with a side of French fried manna, but eh, what do I know?
A very self-reflective statement that Moses’ made comes in Numbers 11:12, “Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth, that You should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a nursing child,’ to the land that You swore to give their fathers?” Sounds so much like, “The woman whom You gave to be with me”. I wonder how many times I have gone to God and made my complaint right along those lines. It doesn’t always have to be a people to have charge over or my wife of twenty some-odd years but it seems to carry the same tone…YHVH, this is your fault! Yeah I may have come to You in prayer over this but this is not how I would have done it!!
“I am not able to carry all these people alone; the burden is too heavy for me.” (Num 11:14) This was the first right thing Moses’ says during his dialogue with YHVH in this chapter and it usually is the last thing I’ll say myself. “The burden is too heavy for me.” BUT I’ll forget to acknowledge that I’ve been carrying the burden all alone and, like Moses’, wait until my frustration gets the best of me before I’ll seek YHVH’s help or dare I say His understanding and comfort. So often I’ll convince myself that things are always an automatic within God’s promises that I’ll forget it is God who promised and therefore gets done when God says it gets done. Sometimes I’m just a complaining monk who forgets who saved him from himself…but Jesus didn’t!!
Once again I am confronted by what The Master said, “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 ) When we read the rest of Numbers 11 we see how YHVH dealt with complaining and as much as they finally got what they wanted it came with punishment. Let that not be us today. Whether it be two words or two thousand, complaining against the promises of God will not profit your life anything. Let this day be the first of many days that what fills ours mouths be that of thanksgiving and praise…not quail. Amen? Chris Hughes is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and is a weekly Freedom Fighter blogger.
Think About This: “Sometimes I go to God and say, “God, if Thou dost never answer another prayer while I live on this earth I will still worship Thee as long as I live and in the ages to come for what Thou hast done already.” God’s already put me so far in debt that if I were to live one million millenniums I couldn’t pay Him for what He’s done for me.”—A.W. Tozer
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”’ Numbers 6:24-26