Calamity’s Cause – Lamentations 3:37-42

Handling-Problems-Good-Morning-This-Is-God“Who can command things to happen without the Lord’s permission? Does not the Most High send both calamity and good? Then why should we, mere humans, complain when we are punished for our sins? Instead, let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the Lord. Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven and say, We have sinned and rebelled, and you have not forgiven us” (Lamentations 3:37-42, NLT).

The book of Lamentations is attributed to the prophet Jeremiah. The context for the book is the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC.

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Holy Ferocity – Acts 20:20-21, 27

“I did not shrink back from proclaiming to you anything that was profitable or from teaching it to you in public and from house to house. I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus…for I did not shrink back from declaring to you the whole plan of God” (Acts 20:20-21, 27, HCSB).

These declarations are from the Apostle Paul’s farewell address to the elders of the church at Ephesus (vs. 17-38).

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Trouble Along the Way – Acts 14:6

“And there they kept evangelizing” (Acts 14:6, HCSB).

This is one of those days when I get to the end of the day and find myself really weary. Some would say “weary from well-doing,” though I question how much “well” I’m really “doing.”

I’ll spare you the details of all my troubles because as hard as I think I have it, my troubles pale in comparison to the troubles encountered by Paul and Barnabas in Acts 13 and 14, who were undertaking the task God had assigned them.

In Acts 13:2 God sent Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey: “The Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work I have called them to.'”

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Stop Complaining – Exodus 16:8

“Yes, your complaints are against the Lord,not against us.”  (Exodus 16:8, NLT)

When the Israelites escaped from Egypt, God did not lead them straight to the promised land because they weren’t prepared for war with the Canaanites: “God said, If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt” (vs. 13:17).

Instead of going north towards Canaan, Moses led them south into the wilderness or desert region of the Sinai peninsula. After three days they came to an oasis but the water there was not potable.

The people complained against Moses and he threw a piece of wood into the water, which made it drinkable (vs. 15:24-25).

Then after a month of traveling south down the Sinai peninsula the people began to complain about the lack of food: “There, too, the whole community of Israel complained about Moses and Aaron” (vs. 2). They even went so far as to say they wished they were back in Egypt.

God heard their complaints and instructed Moses to tell them that He would rain down food from heaven each day and they should gather just enough food for the day. God wanted the Israelites to learn to depend on Him to supply their needs on a daily basis.

Moses announced to the Israelites what God was going to do, including a stern warning about complaining: “In the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaints, which are against him, not against us” (vs. 7).

One of the great dangers of complaining is that it distorts our perception of reality.

The Israelites complained for the “good old days” in Egypt when they had plenty to eat, yet somehow forgot the severity of human bondage they suffered there.

Like the Israelites, God wants us to develop a lifestyle of dependence on Him to supply our daily needs–a lifestyle of hope vested in God’s provision.

When you complain, you are not depending on God to supply your needs so your complaint is really against God.

Hope is the fruit of faith while complaining is the fruit of unbelief.

Complaining focuses on what is wrong with the present and glorifies a distorted view of the past while hope focuses on making the best of the present reality in anticipation of a glorious future.

Complaining demonstrates a lack of faith or confidence that God is in control of the circumstances of your daily life and of His ability to carry you through or supernaturally intervene.

Complaining can become a bad habit. And, the best way to rid yourself of a bad habit is to replace it with a good one.

Giving praise and thanksgiving to God acknowledges His sovereignty over the circumstances of your daily life and over all His creation.

So, stop complaining and start praising God!