The children of Israel were unthankful because of unbelief. We have to learn to be thankful in all things.
I Corinthians 10:1-3 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
We’ll start murmuring and complaining like the Israelites if we don’t learn to be thankful for all things. Paul said “Do all things without murmurings and disputings” (Philippians 2:14). God heard when they complained and was angry. He hears us if we complain. There isn’t any trial or temptation that comes our way that we can’t ask for God’s grace. He has a purpose and plan for us no matter what happens in our life.
I Corinthians 10:6-13 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them…and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for examples…for our admonition …Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but…is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
We don’t have anything to complain about… “If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep…You are richer than 75% of this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish some place…You are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy. If you woke up this morning with more health than illness…You are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week. If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation…You are ahead of 500 million people in the world. If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death …You are more blessed than three billion people in the world” (source unknown).
If we have a complaint, there’s always a reason: we’re doubting or questioning God’s sovereignty; we’re selfish and want our way; we’ve gotten our vision on earthly things or family; we have a critical spirit; we’re impatient. God wants us to learn patience. His timing is always perfect. People complain when they get spiritually lukewarm. God wants us to be fervent and on fire for him. Another reason people complain is because of rebellion. They aren’t thankful because they’re mad at God. There is an anger stage when people are in grief. People have to resolve this anger so they’re not angry with God. When we feel like complaining, we need to learn to keep our mouth closed and to be thankful.
Daniel was about 80 years old when king Darius made him president in Babylon because he had an excellent spirit. Many things happened since he was brought to Babylon at 17 years old, but Daniel didn’t complain and he trusted God.
Daniel 6:1-3 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes…And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them…Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.
God wants us to have an excellent spirit so those around can see God glorified in our lives. The other leaders in Babylon tried to get rid of Daniel but couldn’t find any fault. So they got the king to sign a law that no one could make a petition to anyone but the king. Anyone that broke the law would be put in the den of lion. Daniel knew the law was signed and he did as he always had. He prayed and gave thanks to God three times a day. Everyone knew he prayed that way every day.
Daniel 6:4-10 Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel…but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God. Then these…assembled together to the king, and said…King Darius, live for ever. All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute…that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions …Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree. Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open…kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.
Daniel prayed and gave thanks even when he knew he would go to the lions’ den. He knew if he died he was going to heaven. When hard things come, God wants us to give thanks. Paul said “to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). We need to give thanks and live for Christ, serving God continually. Paul also said he learned to be content in whatever situation he was in. We must work to be thankful so God doesn’t hear us complain and we make him angry with us.
After the ark of God was carried away by the enemy, David decided to bring it back to put in the temple. He didn’t ask God how to do it though. They put the ark on an ox cart and when it almost fell off, Uzza touched the ark and died. They left it at Obededom’s house. David was upset and asked God “How shall I bring the ark of God home…” (I Chronicles 13:3-12). God let David know the right way to bring it back. Everyone rejoiced as they brought it and David danced with joy. People around heard their rejoicing. Does everyone around know you serve God continually by your actions and how you live?
I Chronicles 15:25-29 So David, and the elders of Israel, and the captains over thousands, went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the house of Obededom with joy. And it came to pass, when God helped the Levites that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, that they offered seven bullocks and seven rams. And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers…Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps. And it came to pass, as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came to the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looking out at a window saw king David dancing and playing: and she despised him in her heart.
David wrote a psalm to thank the Lord and tell what God did. God wants us to thank him for all he does.
I Chronicles 16:7-8 Then on that day David delivered first this psalm to thank the Lord into the hand of Asaph and his brethren. Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)