beginning there in Verse number 15 of Proverbs 15, where the Bible reads, "All the days of the afflicted are evil, but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast. Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith. Better the dinner of herbs where love is than a stalled ox and hatred therewith. A wrathful man stirreth up strife, but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife." Then jump back, if you would, to Verse number 13. The Bible says, "A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken."
This morning I want to preach on the subject of murmuring and complaining. Now complaining is something that can have its place in certain situations. There could be times when a complaint would be appropriate, but the type of complaining that I'm preaching about this morning is the whining and sniveling and feeling sorry for yourself, getting angry about every little thing. This is an attitude that God warns us against.
Now if you would, turn to Numbers Chapter number 11. What we just read there said, "All the days of the afflicted are evil, but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast." You see, if we have a good attitude in our lives, if we have a merry heart, if we stay joyful and have a cheerful countenance, as the Bible says, our life is like a feast even if we're not necessarily eating the finest foods. He said here, "It's better to have a dinner of herbs where love is than a stalled ox and hatred therewith." You see, people who have a good attitude, who the joy of the Lord is their strength and they don’t spend a lot of time murmuring and complaining, even just a vegetarian meal is more enjoyable to them than someone who is having a filet mignon with a bad attitude. That’s what the Bible is teaching here.
Now you're turning to Numbers 11, but I'm going to read for you from 1 Corinthians 10, which is a New Testament scripture referring back to Numbers 11. It says in the New Testament, "Neither murmur ye as some of them also murmured and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples and they are written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come." The Bible is clearly teaching us that this story that we're about to look at in Numbers 11 is specifically intended for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come.
Paul is telling the New Testament church at Corinth, "Don’t murmur like they murmured." In fact, that story was written for you, to teach you not to murmur. Now you may not know what the word murmur means because it's not a word that we use in our modern vernacular, but it's a word that’s derived from what's known as onomatopoeia. Did you ever learn that in school in English class? Put up your hand if you know what onomatopoeia is. It's words that are basically derived from the way that they sound. They're trying to mimic the sound that’s actually made.
Murmur is kind of like a "mur, mur, mur, mur, mur." Yeah, that’s where the word murmur comes from, from the sound that you make when you're sort of grumbling, complaining. A lot of this happens under your breath. Somebody tells you to do something at your job or maybe your parents tell you to do something, kids, and you go to do it, "mur, mur, mur." That’s murmuring. It's a complaining and sort of talking behind people's backs and saying negative things or maybe just to where they can hear you because you kind of want them to hear you a little bit as you talk about how you're not happy about the situation. God says don’t murmur, don’t complain.
Now let's go back to some of these stories, starting with Numbers Chapter 11, Verse 1, "And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord." This is something that we should ingrain into our memories. I quote that to myself all the time. I don’t know if there's a week that goes by that that phrase doesn’t come into my mind, "When the people complained, it displeased the Lord." That just needs to be drilled into your mind, that God is not pleased with us when we're whining and complaining about the provision that we have.
Pastor: "When the people complained, it displeased the Lord and the Lord heard it and his anger was kindled and the fire of the Lord burnt among them and consumed them that were in the outermost parts of the camp." Sounds like a pretty serious sin to me if God's wrath is burning amongst people and he's angry about them murmuring and complaining. Look at Verse 2, "And the people cried under Moses and when Moses prayed unto the Lord, the fire was quenched. And he called the name of the place Taberah because the fire of the Lord burnt among them and the mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting.
"And the children of Israel also wept again and said, 'Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish which we would eat in Egypt freely, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, but now our soul is dried away. There's nothing at all." Oh, besides this free food that we get every day, angel's food the Bible calls it. Oh, except this manna. Yeah, I guess we have that before our eyes. "And the manna was as coriander seed and the color thereof as the color of bdellium. And the people went about and gathered it and ground it in mills or beat it in the mortar and baked it in pans and made cakes of it, and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil. When the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it."
Here we see that the children of Israel are being fed with manna from heaven and they're trying to find all these different ways to make it. They're grinding it in mills, they're grinding it in a mortar, they're baking it in a pan, they're making cakes out of it, trying to get some variety in their life. The reason that they're complaining about the food, it's not that there was something wrong with the food. It's just that it wasn’t giving them the party in their mouth that they were looking for.
They're trying to make it more exciting and spruce it up, which I don’t blame them, but they ought not be complaining about the fact that they're getting free food from the Lord out of heaven, miraculous provision. They're actually a part of history, eating manna from heaven. What an amazing miracle to see every single day. Instead of appreciating that, they just complain that they don’t get to eat spicier food.
Now here's the thing about this. God was not expecting them to eat this way for the rest of their lives. This is just a phase that they had to go through. You see, this was only supposed to be a process that would take a few months and then they'd be in the Promised Land and then they'd have all the land flowing with milk and honey and the grapes and all the meat and everything that they would desire. This was only supposed to be a short process. A maximum of 6 months would they have had to eat this austere diet of just eating the manna, but they whine and complain about it and snivel about it instead of just being thankful for what they have.
In fact, God had said that he could have brought them to the Promised Land in only 11 days, according to Deuteronomy, but that he didn’t take them through the land of the Philistines because he knew that when they saw war, they would repent, meaning that they would turn backward and not make it to the Promised Land. Already, because of the hardness of their heart, he had to stretch this thing out over a few months, which should have been an 11-day process. Okay, it's lasting a few months, and now they're just complaining that they have to eat the same food for a few months.
The Bible says in Verse 10, Chapter 11, Verse 10, "Then Moses heard the people weep throughout their families, every man in the door of his tent, and the anger of the Lord was kindled greatly." Watch this. "Moses also was displeased." We need to understand that when we complain and murmur and fuss and moan, not only are we angering the Lord, but we're also angering the people around us. We're also angering the boss at work or angering our parents or angering our spouse when we're constantly complaining. We're a pain in the neck to everyone around us, not just unto the Lord.
"Moses also was displeased," Verse 11, "and Moses said to the Lord, 'Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant and wherefore have I not found favor in thy sight if thou layest the burden of all this people upon me? Have I conceived all this people? Have I begotten them thou shouldest say unto me carry them in thy bosom as a nursing father beareth the sucking child unto the land which thou swearest under their fathers? Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people, for they weep unto me saying, 'Give us flesh that we may eat.' I'm not able to bear all this people alone because it's too heavy for me.'"
What we see here is Moses angry. You see the ranting here. You can sense his spirit here, just how frustrated, how angry and how upset he is, and in a few moments, he's going to say, "God, if you're going to deal with me thus, just kill me out of hand." Now if you want to make the people around you that miserable and that frustrated and that angry, to where they're just at a breaking point, then be a complainer, be a murmurer. This is what you're doing to the people at your job. This is what you're doing to the people in your family when you go around complaining and whining all the time about everything.
Go back to Exodus Chapter 16. Second book in the Bible is Exodus, Exodus Chapter number 16. God's up in heaven angry, displeased. People around you are angry and displeased and then they treat you bad because you're making them angry and displeased, and then you complain even more and it's this vicious cycle where your complaining makes the people around you miserable. Then they treat you bad and then you get even more miserable, and it just tears everyone down. The problem would be solved if we would have a merry heart, a cheerful countenance, and if we would rejoice in the Lord and be thankful for what we have and look on the positive side of things instead of just always dwelling on what we don’t have.
Why aren't they just happy that they got out of Egypt, that they're no longer a slave, that they no longer have the task master's whip beating at them, that they actually have a future now? Even if they're going through a difficult time, they know that the Promised Land awaits them and that things are going to get better and that this is only temporary. What about all the good things? There's no focus on that. It's just, "Oh, man, the same boring food again." It's ridiculous.
Look at Exodus Chapter 16, Verse 7, "In the morning, then you shall see the glory of the Lord for that he heareth your murmurings against the Lord and what are we that you murmur against us? And Moses said, 'This shall be when the Lord shall give you in the evening flesh to eat and in the morning bread to the full, for that the Lord heareth your murmurings which you murmur against him and what are we? Your murmurings are not against us but against the Lord.'"
The next thing I want to show you is that when we complain and whine to our parents or to our job or to our spouse or whoever the case may be, when we're constantly complaining and whining, actually, our problem is with God, not with man. We may think to ourselves, "Oh, I wouldn’t be complaining if it weren't for so-and-so that’s making my life miserable," or, "It's my parents' fault," or, "It's my husband's fault," or, "It's my boss' fault." It's somebody else's fault.
No, because Moses is correctly pointing out that when you murmur and complain, it's not really the authority figure that’s the problem. It's actually God that you have a problem with, because who's the one that was providing the manna? Was it Moses? Whose idea was it to lead them out of Egypt into the wilderness? Was that Moses' idea? No. Moses didn’t even want to do it. God had to keep telling him to do it, and finally forced him to do it. It's easy for us sometimes to be unthankful and ungrateful to the Lord who has blessed us so much and given us so many things, but then we'll just direct that anger at someone else, because if we were to direct it straight to God, then we'd look like a complete idiot, wouldn’t we?
Pastor: If we went outside and started shaking our fist at God and yelling at God, people would think that we were a complete fool to be yelling at God and rebuking God and reproaching God, so you just turn around and instead just yell at your parents or yell at your husband or yell at your boss at work and point to some other authority figure and basically shake your fist at him, when in reality, your problem is a spiritual problem with the Lord himself. "What are we that you murmur against us," Moses says. "It's not me that’s the problem. It's God that you have a problem with."
Look at Numbers Chapter 14, Numbers Chapter 14. You say, well, why does it reflect on a problem with us spiritually or a problem with us with the Lord? Because of the simple fact that God has blessed us more than anyone else. "God has lifted us out of the dunghill and saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace." We've been blessed with an unspeakable gift of salvation.
Pastor: He feeds us, he clothes us, he gives us our health. He gives us any blessings or riches or whatever we have or don't have, but he gives us all a good life. When we complain about dumb little things, it just shows that we're not thankful to him, because every good gift and every perfect gift is from above. He's given us so much, and we're not focusing on that. Instead, we just complain about what we don’t have. Then that shows ingratitude to God more than anyone else.
Look at Numbers Chapter 14, Verse 26, "And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, 'How long shall I bear with this evil congregation which murmur against me? I've heard the murmurings of the children of Israel which they murmur against me. Say unto them as truly as I live,' sayeth the Lord, 'as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you. Your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness and all that were numbered of you according to your whole number from 20 years old and upward which have murmured against me.'"
Now this again should show us how serious this sin is. We think it's not a big deal to complain and snivel and gripe and whine. We think it's no big ... "It's just my personality. I'm just kind of like that. I'm like that cat that always makes a frowning face and is just real negative. That’s just kind of my style." You know what? It's a style that God hates.
Congregation: There you go.
Pastor: The Bible said, "A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance."
Pastor: This complaining, murmuring attitude angers the Lord, angers the people around you, makes your family and your home life have a poisonous atmosphere, makes the office have a poisonous atmosphere, makes the church have a poisonous atmosphere because it's evil, the Bible says. It's sin. These are major sins that make God so angry that he dooms people to spend 40 years. He says, "I'll do what you’ve said that I would do."
See, God's plan, and let me just break this down for you. God's plan was just a few short months in the wilderness, suffer a little bit, and then the rest of your life in a land that flows with milk and honey. That's God's plan, but they keep saying, "Oh, we're going to die in the wilderness. We're never going to make it to the Promised Land. We're just going to be stuck here." Basically, God says, "Okay, if that’s what you're going to say about me, then that’s what I'll do to you."
Pastor: "You're saying it anyway. I might as well just do that to you so you will die in the wilderness. I'm going to make you wander in it for 40 years." Now think about that. What if God hears you complaining about something, whining about something and being ungrateful? Then what if he says, "Oh, you don’t like that? Well, how about if I make that be your situation for the next 40 years, when in reality, deliverance was just around the corner, when in reality, things were about to get better, but now that you're whining and complaining about it, I'm just going to make your bad situation continue longer to teach you a lesson."
This is serious. Go to Numbers Chapter 16, Verse 11. Now Numbers Chapter 16 is the famous story about Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. The reason I bring that up is because this story is referred to in the Book of Jude. In Jude, he talks about the gainsaying of Korah being something that would characterize modern false prophets, and he says in Numbers 16:11, "For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the Lord and what is Aaron that ye murmur against him?"
Korah, Dathan, and Abiram are murmuring against Aaron, and Moses is saying, "No, you’ve actually gathered yourselves together against the Lord." Then in Jude, when it's referring back to these type of people, same type of people, Korah is actually mentioned by name. This chapter is specifically referenced. It says in Jude, Verse 16, "These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts and their mouths speak of great swelling words having men's persons and admiration because of advantage." I point that out to say that when you are a murmuring and complaining person, you're in some really bad company, with people like Korah, the archetypical evil false prophet. We don’t want to be anything like him.
Look at Numbers Chapter 17. Numbers Chapter 17, Verse 5, "And it shall come to pass that the man's rod whom I shall choose shall blossom, and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel whereby they murmur against you." Now flip over to Proverbs Chapter 22, Proverbs Chapter 22. The first thing I wanted to show you was just all these different examples from the children of Israel in the wilderness, whining, complaining, and murmuring against Moses, which is really against God, because that was the one who was really controlling their destiny.
Then we saw in 1 Corinthians 10 how God told us that that was written for us so that we would not murmur as they murmured. He wanted us to learn a lesson from that, and we saw all the different examples of that. Now a lot of people would look at that story and say, "Well, I can see why they murmured, because, you know, if I had to eat the same thing every day, I'd be complaining too." The thing is, there are people in this world who murmur and complain no matter what situation they're in, and they're always going to find something wrong with their situation. There are 2 types of people in this world, people who go through life complaining all the time and then other people who look on the bright side and are thankful and cheerful with what they have.
That’s why the Apostle Paul said, "I have learned in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things, I'm instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." He says that in any situation, whether he's free, whether he's in prison, whether he eats a good meal, whether he eats junk, he says, "I've learned in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content." That’s what we need to learn if we're going to be a person who doesn’t complain and murmur. We need to learn in whatsoever state we're in to be content.
Now let me explain this to you. God is not going to give you everything that you want in order to teach you to be content.
Congregation: Yeah. Yeah, right.
Pastor: "But, you know, I just need more practice in being content. If my parents or God or whoever would just kind of give me everything I want for awhile, then I'd be content and I could kind of get used to that for awhile, kind of practice. Spend about 6 months practicing, having everything I want and then what would I complain about? I got everything I want, right? So it will be like 6 months of no complaining because everything goes perfect. What's there to complain about? Then at the end of that, when bad times come, I'll be so used to just not complaining that I'll never ..."
No, that’s not how it works. That's exactly the opposite of how it works. It's going through bad times that teaches us not to complain, that teaches us to find the good in our situation. It teaches us not to murmur. The more you complain, the more bad times God has to put you through to teach you how to be content. The less you complain, the more God can bless you with good times, knowing that it's not going to turn you into a spoiled, sniveling brat. That’s what the true story is.
Now another thing that kind of goes hand in hand with complaining is people who are angry all the time, because when people are complaining, what is the spirit behind the complaining? What is the emotion that they're feeling as they complain? Anger. You put the food in front of the child that they don’t want, "Ewe." Anger. When you see spoiled little kids, what emotion characterizes them more than any other? Anger. You see the little kid in the grocery store, when he's throwing himself on the ground and beating his fists and feet on the floor, he's not going like, "Woo." He's not like a charismatic or something, rolling in the aisles. He's actually beating on the floor in anger. Today, more than ever, you see children that literally hit their parents.
Pastor: I was just out soul-winning a few weeks ago and this kid just ... I'm talking to his mom and he's just beating on his mom, just "Aah, bah, bah." Thank God he's only 4 or 5 years old so he couldn’t really do a lot of damage, but this same kid when he's 20 years old and starts throwing those same punches, it's going to really hurt somebody. There are people out there who are growing up and they're spoiled, and they're not suffering as God wants them to suffer when they do wrong. They're supposed to be chastened and chastised, disciplined, spanked, punished. Yet, they don’t get that, so they grow up and they're these spoiled, complaining, whining, sniveling brats.
Pastor: Anger is closely associated with this. Now, again, anger is not always wrong. There is a righteous anger. There is a righteous indignation, but when we look at the anger in our lives and in the lives of the people around us, 90% of it is sinful. We don't want to just get this idea that because anger is not always sinful, that that just gives us a carte blanche to just go through life just angry and mad and furious all the time, when in reality there is a sinful anger, and it's most anger.
Now if you're angry at the fact that some innocent person is killed or you're angry at false religion or you're angry at false doctrine, you're angry that things are being sold in the house of God, that’s a righteous indignation. That’s the type of anger that Jesus had, where he's angry with the hardness of the heart of the Pharisees or he's angry that they turned his house into a house of merchandise. People get angry.
For example, King Saul was filled with the spirit and he was filled with anger at the same time, but it was anger about a foreign country coming in and wanting to oppress the children of Israel, and they were going to make them all have one eye punched out. Now look, if some foreign troops came and surrounded the city of Phoenix and said, "Well, everybody in Phoenix has to have one of their eyes poked out as a punishment and you're going to be our servants," well, then that would be a good reason to get angry.
Pastor: Right? Is that the kind of stuff you're getting angry about in your daily life? Is that the kind of stuff that most of the people around you get angry about? Or are they just getting angry because their food wasn’t cooked right or they're getting angry because of this, that, or the other little things, or things that aren't spiritual? The Bible teaches that we're to be slow to anger. That means if you are quickly angered, you are in sin. You are not right with God. The Bible says that we're to be slow to anger. If you just ignore that and just fly off the handle at the moment's notice and just at the drop of a hat, you're just, "Aah," then you're in sin. You're violating scripture. When you get angry with your brother without a cause and when you're constantly angry and have anger in your bosom day to day, you're in sin.
That’s why the Bible says, "Be ye angry and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your wrath." The sin of anger is when you let the sun go down on your wrath. When you're still angry today about what happened yesterday, that is sin. When you're angry at a moment's notice, that’s sin. When you're angry because things aren't going your way, because bad things happen to you and you get angry, you know what? That's the wrong kind of anger. We should be angry about other people being harmed or being angry about false doctrine. We shouldn’t just be angry because things aren't going our way.
Now I had you turn to Proverbs Chapter 22, right? Verse 24. It says, "Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man thou shalt not go lest thou learn his ways and get a snare to thy soul." This complaining and anger is actually infecting other people around you. If you're an angry person ... Again, this isn't saying that it's wrong to ever be angry, but you should not be an angry man. You shouldn’t be known as, "He is an angry man."
Pastor: I'm talking about people who are with you on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, just thinking, "Wow, he's a really angry person." The Bible says don’t even be friends with a person like that.
Pastor: What does it say? It says, "Make no friendship with an angry man." You're going to learn his way. If you get around people like that, you're going to become an angry person, and that’s not the type of person that you want to be. Now you say, "Well, Pastor Anderson, you seem like a really angry person," but here's the thing. Anybody who knows me knows that I am rarely angry outside of the pulpit. Yeah, I get up behind the pulpit and foam at the mouth-
Pastor: ... about sin because that’s my job.
Pastor: I'm paid to do this. No, I'm just kidding. Anyway, I get up and I rail on sin. Yeah, obviously if I'm dealing with sin and dealing with false doctrine and preaching hard against the wickedness of our society, you know what? I'm going to go to bed tonight with a big smile on my face, and I'm going to wake up tomorrow morning and the birds are going to be chirping and I'm going to be a happy person all day until something goes wrong.
I'm saying that you don’t want to be an angry person that just drags people down all the time because you're always just so mad about everything, and complaining is a big indicator of this. What does it mean to be an angry, somebody who's just, "Oh, great." Every Monday morning, they walk in, "Oh, great. We got to do this job again. Oh, it's this customer again. Yeah, wouldn’t you know. Oh, the coffeemaker is broken again. Ah, you know. Chipotle's closing for 3 hours. Ah. That’s when I needed to go there." I didn’t lose my temper about that. I just waited till the next day when they closed down for one day. Wasn’t a big deal.
Look at Chapter 29. While you're turning to Chapter 29, let me just read that scripture from Proverbs 22 again. Sometimes we need repetition to let things kind of sink in. "Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man thou shalt not go lest thou learn his ways and get a snare to thy soul." The Bible is telling us to avoid people who are just so negative all the time, where they're just so angry and, ah, and complaining and whining. We don’t want to become that type of person.
The Bible says in Chapter 29, Verse 22, "An angry man stirs up strife and a furious man aboundeth in transgression." This shows us that anger can lead us into other sins, because a furious man, he abounds in transgression in general. Now go to Chapter 21, because some people might be thinking, "Yeah, these angry men, I tell you." How about the angry woman? All right? It's not just men. They get angry, say, "Yeah, you know, angry. Don’t make friends with that angry man." Okay, what about this? Proverbs 21:19, "It's better to dwell in the wilderness than with a contentious and an angry woman."
Pastor: If you wonder why your husband goes camping so much, it's because he read this verse. He'll skip the running water, he'll skip the indoor plumbing. He'll skip the home-cooked meals because he'd rather go dwell in the wilderness than with an angry and contentious woman. Beware of the husband that wants to go camping a lot. I'm not saying go home and start ... Some woman's going to go home and start screaming at her husband, "Why don’t you spend time with me? You're always working [inaudible 00:29:20] to go camping with your buddies and hang out with everybody else. Why don’t you want to spend time with me? Stay late and work at the office every day. I want you here spending time with me. Aha ha."
It's like, hmm, I wonder why your husband doesn’t want to spend time with you. Instead of wives complaining that their husband doesn’t want to spend- Here's an idea. Be someone that your husband wants to spend time with.
Pastor: Sorry I'm making so much sense this morning. When you're an angry, bitter person, people are just going to try to get away from you.
Congregation: Right. You're right, absolutely.
Pastor: Why? Because when you get around people that are real angry and bitter and complaining, you'll start acting the same. When I get around people like that, then I'll find myself feeling that way, and I don’t like to feel that way. I'd like to enjoy my life, thank you very much. If you have to go out in the wilderness to do it ... You know what I'm saying. Just for the record, I don’t go camping very much. All right. This isn't a self-testimony here about my family. I go camping very rarely.
The Bible says in Ecclesiastes Chapter 7, Verse 9, "Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry, for anger resteth in the bosom of fools." Two things that we can get from this passage. Number one, we should not be quick to be angry. We shouldn’t be hasty in our spirit to be angry. Another thing we notice that "anger resteth in the bosom of fools." What does that mean? That the fool hangs onto anger from day to day and it just rests in his bosom. Not just he gets mad about something that’s wicked. Certain things ought to make us mad. When we see things that are just wicked and ungodly, we ought to get mad about it.
Pastor: Sometimes I get irritated with people who never get mad about anything. It's like, "Get mad about something," because there is a time and a place for anger, but when anger just rests in you, when you just become characterized by fury and anger and when your anger is a complaining type anger, which, look, 90% of the anger that I think comes up in our lives and in the lives of people around us is usually like a complaining anger, a murmuring anger. It's an anger that’s accompanied by whining, and you know that’s true. It's not an anger of, "Oh, man, you know these wicked sinners that are destroying our world." It's more of just, "Aargh, so-and-so at church didn’t smile at me and wore the same outfit and wouldn’t shake my hand and is avoiding me."
Just whatever the complaint. Or complaining that your husband doesn’t make enough money, or complaining about your wife, or complaining about your parents, whatever the complaint is. By the way, it's not just wives that complain about their husband or make him want to go on an extended camping trip, but also there are so many husbands who complain about their wives and it's really pathetic. When you as a man go to another man and complain about your wife, it's pathetic.
Pastor: It's embarrassing. You ought never say negative things about your wife to other men. It's not right. It's a very unloving thing to do when you criticize your wife to other people and when you use your wife as an excuse. I've heard people, "Well, I'd be serving God, but you know my wife," or, "I'd be a great wife, but you know my husband, if I just had a Godly husband." Sometimes it's in the form of a prayer request. "Yeah, I pray for my husband. He smokes pot. He's a drunk. He watches porno." It's like, what in the world? Why are you just announcing all that to everybody? "Yeah, I pray for my wife that she'll not have a rebellious spirit, you know, that she'll be more submissive." Oh, okay, yeah. Let's pray for you.
The point is that when you complain about your spouse, it's hurtful and unloving, but especially it's even worse, it's worse when a husband complains about his wife, and here's why it's worse. Because the husband's a leader, and so there's a real big chance that there's something wrong with you as a leader that you're not fixing the problem if your wife is so out of line all the time. If your wife is just that out of line, maybe that says something about you as the leader. It's even more pathetic when men whine and complain about their wives and call her the old ball and chain or whatever they call her. It's not right.
If you would, flip over to Proverbs 19. The Bible says in Proverbs 16:32, "He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty and he that rule with his spirit than he that taketh the city." Look at Chapter 19, Verse 11, "The discretion of a man deferreth his anger and it is his glory to pass over a transgression." Anger deferred would be something happens that would maybe cause you to just snap into anger at the drop of a hat, but because you have discretion, you control yourself, self-control.
See, some people feel anger as a kneejerk reaction to something, but then they get it under control. They stay calm, they stay cool, and they don’t start complaining and murmuring and angering the Lord and angering everyone around them. They just take a deep breath and chill out and keep it inside. Watch this. It is his glory to pass over a transgression. What's this saying? When the people around us do something wrong not to just jump down their throat every time they do something wrong, but rather, to defer that anger.
People at the job are going to make mistakes, and we shouldn’t just be like, "Oh, you idiot. Oh, now I have to redo the whole thing. Aw, this is, aw. I don’t know why I just don’t do it myself." Who has worked with someone like that? Think of a name in your mind and then put up your hand. If you have a name in your mind, somebody, yeah, I've worked- I'm thinking of names. I'm thinking of faces. I remember this one guy that I worked with was the most negative, bitter, angry person, and this guy was really good at his job. That’s the only way he kept the job. He probably would have been fired a million times because he had the worst attitude, the worst spirit, just angry, bitter.
If you made a mistake, it was just, "You stupid, blankety-blank idiot." He was really good at the job, so he looked way down his nose at everybody else. That’s the only way that he probably even kept the job. Nobody liked him, nobody wanted to be around him. He was a person that you'd avoid. You'd sign up to work with all the other technicians and be like, "Yeah, let's send him over here by himself where he can do his amazing work somewhere far, far away where we don’t have to be around him." Have you ever heard the saying, "There's no use crying over spilled milk"?
Pastor: There's also no use screaming over spilled milk. It's not just like, "Ooh." It's more like crying like Biblical crying, like yelling over spilled milk. Learn to pass over a transgression. There is a time. If your kids do something that’s really bad, then anger may be appropriate, but when they just commit an everyday, run of the mill infraction that they commit. Look, "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child," the Bible says, "but the rod of correction will drive it far from it."
If your children are just making everyday type of mistakes or everyday type of disobedience, where it's just a little thing, they do this or do that that’s wrong, there's no reason to get mad about it. Stay cool, defer anger, apply the rod of correction to the seat of learning, and move on. Just discipline your child, not angry but just calmly. Just administer discipline and just be a happy person. Don’t let it just ruin your whole day.
Here's the thing. You can be strict without being angry. Did you know that?
Pastor: You can be firm without losing your temper. Like I said, anger could have a place for extreme infractions, but reserve that. Don’t just set off that nuclear bomb of anger every day over every little thing, because then when your kid does something that’s really bad, you're not going to have anywhere else to go. What if they really do something bad? You can't even show them what extreme anger looks like because literally, kids will just start to zone it out.
If you're just angry and screaming at your kid every day, they're just going to start- It's going to become like Charlie Brown's parents, like, wah, wah, wah, and they're just going to turn it off, "Uh-huh, yeah," just waiting for the lecture to be over. If you reserve that for when they actually do something serious, then you can really make an impression, "Wow, Mom and Dad have never yelled at me like that. I must have really messed up." Whereas it just becomes meaningless when that’s all it is, just always anger.
Let's go to Ephesians Chapter 4, Ephesians Chapter 4. Ephesians Chapter 4, then we're going to go over to Philippians Chapter 3. What is the answer to this problem of complaining, murmuring, anger about not getting our way, not getting the things that we want? The answer to this will be to rejoice, rejoicing. This is something that the Bible brings up over and over again, is that we're to rejoice in the Lord. This is what's going to give us a cheerful countenance even when we're going through bad times, is when we learn to rejoice in the Lord.
That’s what Paul meant when he said, "I've learned in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content." What was keeping him happy when he was in the prison cell? He's rejoicing in the Lord. The Bible records the fact that he's in prison at midnight, and what's he doing? He's singing hymns unto God. He's singing praises to the Lord.
Pastor: That’s what kept his spirits up. That’s how he learned to be happy. The joy of the Lord was his strength. Now look at Ephesians 4, Verse 26, "Be ye angry and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your wrath. Neither give place to the devil." Look at Verse 31, "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
Flip over to Philippians Chapter 3. Just a few pages to the right, Philippians 3. He says get rid of the bitterness, the wrath, the anger. Be kind, be tender-hearted, forgive one another. When people make mistakes, don’t jump down their throat, just forgive them. Just let it go. He says in Philippians 3, Verse 1, "Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord." Then he says this, "To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous but for you it is safe." He tells them to rejoice in the Lord and he tells them, "And I don’t mind writing that to you again, even if you think that you already know that. It's safer for me to repeat it than that you don’t get that instruction.
Then what's funny is that you flip over one chapter to Chapter 4, Verse 4, he says, "Rejoice in the Lord alway and again I say, rejoice." Why is he saying it again? He already told us in Chapter 3, "Rejoice in the Lord. By the way, I'd like to repeat that." Then one chapter later, "Oh, rejoice in the Lord. Oh, let me say it again. Rejoice." He just said it over and over and over and over again. It must be pretty important if he wants to repeat it and repeat it and repeat it and repeat it.
God wants us to have joy in the Lord. If we go through our life gloomy, down in the mouth, complaining, just we wake up in the morning, we talk about everything that’s going bad, we go to bed at night thinking about all the bad things. Throughout the day, "So, how are you doing?" When somebody asks you how you're doing, you're supposed to say, "Fine. I'm doing good." It's just a figure of speech, a way of saying hi. It's not like, "Well, you know, sit down, let me tell you about it." "Whoa, buddy, I was just trying to say hi."
First Thessalonians 5:16, one of the shortest verses in the whole Bible, "Rejoice evermore." Two words, gets its own verse. "Rejoice evermore." Go to 1 Peter Chapter 1, 1 Peter Chapter 1, and while you're turning there to 1 Peter Chapter 1, I'm going to read for you from 2 Corinthians 6. This is where the Apostle Paul is talking about some of the hard things that he's been through. He said, "But in all things, approving ourselves as the ministers of God in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes." He's not saying in stripes like, "Man I went to prison and they made me wear that black and white striped outfit."
When he says, "in stripes," he means that they're whipping him to where he has bloody stripes on his back. "In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumult, in labors, in watchings, in fastings, by pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness, on the right hand, on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report, as deceivers and yet true, as unknown and yet well known, as dying and behold we live, as chastened and not killed." Watch this. "As sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing and yet possessing all things."
What's he saying? You can look on the negative or you can look on the bright side. Yeah, we're poor. Okay, we're poor, but he says, "But we possess all things," because the meek shall inherit the earth, because we have an inheritance in heaven. "As sorrowful," yeah, you could focus on that or you could focus on the fact that we're always rejoicing. "As poor yet making many rich, as having nothing. Man, we have nothing," he says, "but yet we possess all things." See, there's 2 ways of looking at it. He says, "O, ye Corinthians," after this big long spiel, "O, ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. You're not straitened in us, but you're straitened in your own bowels."
You need to decide that you are going to be a rejoicing person, not a complaining, displeasing to the Lord type person. Look at 1 Peter Chapter 1, Verse 6. It says, "Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations, that the trial of your faith be much more precious than that of gold that perish it. Though it be tried with fire might be found under praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen, ye love, in whom though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." Even if you're in temptations, even if you're going through testings and trials and tribulations and hard times, he's saying you can still rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
Go to Psalm 16, last place we'll turn, Psalm 16. While you're turning there, the Bible says in Hebrews 12:15, "Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you and thereby many be defiled." See, when you get bitter, you defile the people around you. When you're angry all the time, you teach other people to be angry all the time. When you complain, you get everybody in a bad mood. When you rejoice, that can also spread to the people around you as well. When you're joyful and cheerful and rejoicing, you can brighten the days of those around you.
Look at Psalm 16, Verse 8. It says, "I have sat the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore, my heart is glad." What is it that’s making his heart glad? Is it because everything is going perfect? Or is it because the Lord is at his right hand? That’s what's making him glad. He said, "I have set the Lord always before me. Because he's at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore, my heart is glad and my glory rejoiceth. My flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou will not leave my soul in hell. Neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt show me the path of light. In thy presence is fullness of joy. At thy right hand, there are pleasures forevermore."
Pastor: We need to learn to walk in the spirit, to get in the word of God, to sing praises to God, to keep the Lord always before us, and that’s going to help us to rejoice and be glad, and to be glad for the right reasons, and to be glad in a gladness that’s real, not where the world has joy but it's kind of an emptiness inside, and it's not a lasting joy. It's the pleasures of sin for a season. The Bible says at God's right hand there are pleasures forevermore.
Pastor: If we'll walk in the spirit, if we'll spend time in the word, and if we just learn to pass over transgressions, not focus so much on the things that we don’t have and on the bad things, but to focus on that which is good in our lives and be thankful and content and to count our blessings, because honestly, it's all about your attitude, it's all about what you focus on. I mean if I wanted to right now make a list of everything that I don’t like about my life, I could come up with a really negative list. I could probably write an essay and make my life sound horrible. You know what I mean?
If somebody said write a one-page paper where everything is truthful, but you make your life sound as miserable and horrible as you can, I could do it. You could do it. In fact, let's all take out a piece of paper. Okay, the ushers will pass out the pens. Think about it. You could really spin it, couldn’t you, and just make it sound like you're the most miserable wretch that this world has ever seen. Or if I said take out a piece of paper and take a pen and describe your life without ... Everything has to be truthful just like the other paper, no lying or exaggerating, just truthfully only talk about all the positive things in your life and make your life sound just amazing, to where anyone would envy your life, you could do that, too. You could make it sound great. It's the same life, right?
This shows how it depends on what we're focusing on. Look, this isn't just my opinion up here. God commanded you to rejoice. He didn’t say, "Rejoice is optional." He said, "Rejoice evermore. Again I say rejoice. Rejoice. Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. Write the same things to you. It's not grievous. For you, it is safe. Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice." How many times did he say in Psalm, "Praise the Lord for his good. In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
Over and over again, "I bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall be continually in my mouth." It's not optional. It's a commandment. Make your life happier and everyone around you happier by not complaining and not murmuring. When you catch yourself murmuring and complaining, just quote that scripture to yourself or another scripture. "When the people complained, it displeased the Lord." If that’s not enough for you, then quote the part about how the fire of the Lord burnt among them. All right. Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer.
Dear Lord, we thank you so much for all the blessings and all the things that if we were to stop and think about really have made our lives so happy and so blessed, far more than we could ever deserve. Lord, I know it must make you very angry when we who have been blessed above measure and live in the lap of luxury and have so many wonderful things here, living in a free country and having all these blessings and having salvation and having the Bible at our fingertips, Lord, I know it must make you very angry to hear us complain about breaking a nail or about not getting our favorite food today, Lord. Please just help us to take these things to heart and to rejoice in you and in your word and to be thankful, contented people, not grumbling, murmuring complainers. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.