Don't Complain, God Is Moving

August 25, 2002 AM
Pastor Chris Abernathy
Columbus, Georgia

If you would, turn with me in your Bibles this morning to the book of Numbers chapter nine. The book of Numbers chapter nine. And when you reach the book of Numbers chapter nine, please signify by saying amen. Would you please stand for the reading of God’s holy Word? Look at verse fifteen today.

15. And on the day that the tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered the tabernacle, namely, the tent of the testimony: and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning.

16. So it was alway: the cloud...

Look at your neighbor and say, “The cloud.”

16. ...covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night.

Look at your neighbor and say, “Fire by night.”

17. And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents.

18. At the commandment of the LORD the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the LORD they pitched: as long as the cloud abode upon the tabernacle they rested in their tents.

19. And when the cloud tarried long upon the tabernacle many days, then the children of Israel kept the charge of the LORD, and journeyed not.

20. And so it was, when the cloud was a few days upon the tabernacle; according to the commandment of the LORD they abode in their tents, and according to the commandment of the LORD they journeyed.

21. And so it was, when the cloud abode from even unto the morning, and that the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they journeyed: whether it was by day or by night that the cloud was taken up, they journeyed.

22. Or whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was taken up, they journeyed.

23. At the commandment of the LORD they rested in the tents, and at the commandment of the LORD they journeyed: they kept the charge of the LORD, at the commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses.

Let us pray.

Most holy and gracious heavenly Father, we truly thank You for who You are and for what You do. Dear Lord, hide Your son behind the cross, that Your people would see You and not me. Dear Lord, as I decrease I ask that You would increase. Let the words of my mouth today and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, oh Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. In Jesus’ Name.

The people of God said amen. You may be seated in the house of God today.

Those who travel or move or face new challenges know what it is to be uprooted. Life is full of changes. And few things remain stable. The Israelites were constantly moving through the desert. They were able to handle change only because God’s Presence in the Tabernacle was always with them.

You see, in the body of Christ the only way we will be able to continue to handle change is if the Presence of the Lord is with us.

You see, we don’t want to change. But if we are submitted to God, if we are surrendered to God, whatever God wants to do, however God wants to do it, God can have His way and be sovereign in our life. Give God some glory.

They were able to handle change only because the Presence of God was with them. The portable Tabernacle signified God and His people moving together. You see, the house of God was mobile.

You see, even in the body of Christ we can’t get used to staying in one place. We’ve got to learn how to move with the Presence of Almighty God. The house of God has got to be mobile, somebody.

They moved together with God. It wasn’t an individual thing. It was a corporate thing. You didn’t have nobody trying to be an individual. Everybody was trying to be a unit. Come on. Talk to me this morning. They moved together with God. They walked together with God.

You see, God was in the process of teaching them a new system. You see, when God begins to do something new in your life, you got to learn something new about God.

You see, they were in a position of learning a new system. They weren’t used to doing the things that God wanted them to do. They weren’t used to moving the way God wanted them to move. They weren’t used to trusting in God that they could not see.

God caused them... In other words He wanted them, to learn how to trust Him.

You see, a lot of times you don’t know where you’re going. But you’ve got to trust God. A lot of times you don’t know how you’re going to do what you need to do. But you’ve got to trust God. You may not be able to see your way clearly, but you got to trust God. You and I have got to get into the mode that I’m walking by faith and not by sight. And where He leads me I’m going to follow.

The Glory Cloud was with them. Cloud by day and a Pillar of Fire by night. The Israelites were learning a new system. They were learning God’s system.

You see, but the deal is with that, if I’m really going to move with God, I really got to learn God’s system. You see, because that’s a place where I give up myself. That’s a place where I surrender. That’s a place where I submit.

Not my will, but Thine will be done. Though these light afflictions come my way, in the process of You taking me where You want me to be... Glory to God. So let them come.

They were learning a new system. You see, a lot of times we think that we know how it should go. But in the process of us thinking how we know it should go, God is trying to do a new thing. Come on. Talk to me.

You see, you and I can’t go with that move that they had on Azuza Street. Come on. Talk to me. God wants to do a new thing. He wants to rain down the Fire from heaven. He wants the Glory to fill the temple. He doesn’t even want me to be able to stand to minister because of the Cloud.

God was teaching them the way He wanted it done and the way He expected them to live. But He was being gentle with them. He was being patient with them. Though they were in the midst of each other, and they began to complain... That’s what it said in the book of Numbers chapter eleven and verse one. It said they began to complain. They began to murmur.

That word “complain” means to chide. It means to find fault with. It means to think that somebody’s doing you wrong. That word to “murmur” means to talk among yourselves quietly.

You see, they didn’t have the revelation that I can take my complaint to God and God is going to hear me. You can’t do nothing for you. You can’t do nothing for you. You can... All you can do is talk about each other. But if I can take my complaint to God. And God is going to hear me.

They began to murmur and to complain. Making this type of transition that we’re about to embark on, if I’m not prayerful, I’ll begin to complain too.

You see, the only difference with Moses and with the children of Israel, they murmured and complained among themselves. But Moses took his complaint to God. And God reacted to the children of Israel negatively. But God reacted to Moses positively.

You may not like the way it’s going. But God said, “You can come to Me. You can talk to Me. And I’ll talk to you. If only, if only you would trust Me.”

What does it mean to complain? It means to accuse someone of wrongdoing. They were accusing Moses. And in other words, they were accusing God. They were saying, “Why would you bring us out here into this desert to die?”

You see, when you begin to learn a new system, God is taking your old ways and your old system out of you. And while God is doing it, it may seem odd. It may seem strange. It may seem weird. But I’ve got to allow God to be God.

They even remembered how they were back in slavery. And they said, “When we were in slavery, it was better.” All they could remember was the food they ate. Come on. Talk to me. You can’t just remember your appetite. You can’t just think about your appetite. I don’t care about my appetite as long as I’m going on with God.

They were concerned with the menu. God began to feed them manna from heaven. It was a miracle, you know. In the morning this fluffy stuff would have come down with the dew. They would make cakes with it. But they got tired of eating the cakes. They said, “Give us meat to eat.” They wanted meat to eat. There wasn’t nothing wrong with wanting meat to eat. It was what was in their heart.

You see, it’s nothing wrong with having a desire. But if that desire turns into greed, we got a problem. Come on. Talk to me today. If that desire that I have turns into greed, it’s going to turn into lust. And after lust has conceived, it brings forth death.

God got angry, not because they asked for quail. But He got angry because their hearts weren’t right.

You see, you can want something so, so bad, to the point where it causes it to be an idol in your heart. You see, whatever your appetite desires, don’t let it set up an idol in your heart. God said, “I’ll have no other gods before Me.” He said, “I am the true God, the only God. And you are to serve Me and only Me.”

So the Bible said He gave them just what they wanted. But it said while the meat was still between their teeth, He sent a plague.

You see, you may get what you desire. Somebody needs to hear this. But sometimes it’s going to have a consequence to go along with it. See, that desire that you had, if it turned into greed and lust, God may still fulfill that desire. But it might cost you everything. It’ll even destroy you.

They complained. They were in the midst of their tents. And the Bible said every family, not just one or two. Said every family was complaining in their tents. They were murmuring. They were talking among themselves.

You see, there ain’t nothing wrong with talking among ourselves, as long as we’re talking about God. Hello, somebody. But as soon as it doesn’t seem like it’s going the way I want it to go, don’t let me have a bad word to say. The Bible tells me to speak the Word of God over my situation. And the Word of God is going to make a change. We learned about that. Changing your world.

They complained.

Most of us are in a place where we are leaning and depending on God right now. Am I the only one in the house? And we know can’t no man help us. If God don’t help us, my God, my God. Totally leaning and depending on Him.

But in the midst of our leaning and depending on God, we are not to find fault and start accusing God that He is not faithful to His promises. If God promised it, it shall surely come to pass. Sometimes I got to learn how to wait on God.

In the midst of the Cloud the Bible said that sometimes it would rest there for a day, a month, a year. No matter how long it rested there, they stayed there. They didn’t move until God moved.

A lot of times we move too quickly. And we get in front of God. And then when the devil start beating us alive, we want to know why. Why God, why? Leaning on Him and depending on Him.

Let me tell you something. In True Vine Ministries God’s Presence is here. And we’ve got to move with His Presence. We’ve got to move when God say move.

They complained. And then Moses complained. But you know, God responded to his positively. You see, the people complained to one another. And once the people start complaining to one another, you can’t get anything accomplished. And therefore we hinder God’s progress.

Moses took his complaint to God.

Let me tell you something. Dissatisfaction comes when I take my attention or my attention shifts from what I have to what I don’t have. See, we give too much attention to what we don’t have. I need to say that all over again. We give too much attention to what we don’t have, instead of praising and thanking God for what we do have. You see, if your attention has started to shift, then you need to shift it back, baby.

The people of Israel didn’t seem to notice what God was doing for them. Setting them free. Taking them out of slavery. Making them a nation. Giving them a new land. But they were so wrapped up in what God was not doing for them that they murmured and complained.

But they had to realize that God is a God of love. But God gets angry too. He gets angry. He punished them for having lust.

When we become preoccupied with something until it effects our perspective on everything else... Now don’t get the devil now. We bind you.

You have moved from desire to lust. Don’t lose your perspective about things. Don’t let your situation, your circumstance, your atmosphere, cause you to lose perspective about what’s really going on.

When I move to lust or you move to lust, it’s the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. All it got to do is with the world. And the Bible says the world is the enemy of God.

God was teaching them a new system. You may be going through a crisis right now in your life. But respond not with complaining.

In Exodus fourteen, verse ten and eleven, that’s when Pharaoh’s army was marching to the Israelites. And they began to complain. Over and over and over and over again they complained. And guess what. All the complainers died in the wilderness.

You may be in the wilderness right now. But you’re not supposed to die there.

In a desert there’s not much to see. But all they knew is that God told them about a promised land, and that they were to follow Him, and to do what He said to do. That’s all they had and they had a leader. That’s all they had.

We’ve got so much more. We’ve got the Name of Jesus, the Blood of Jesus, the Word of God. We got it all. We got folks that can preach it from Genesis to Revelation, from Revelation back to Genesis. We’ve got it all. We’ve got Dakes Bibles, Nelson Bibles. Come on. Talk to me today. Zondervan. Whatever you want. We’ve got it.

So why should we complain? Why should we talk among ourselves? Why should we murmur? We shouldn’t. We shouldn’t. If you have a need He said He’s Jehovah Jireh. He said He’d provide every one. Whatever the need is, He said He’d provide it.

The question I’ve got to ask myself is, “Lord, what season am I in?” Because the Bible says the day of adversity is laid over against the day of prosperity, in Ecclesiastes. “Lord, what season am I in? Am I in a season right now where You’re causing me to really have to trust in You? Where am I right now? What are You teaching me? What are You teaching me?”

He’s speaking to us. He’s saying, “Stop murmuring. Stop complaining negatively.” When Moses complained to God, God told him to go back to the camp and appoint seventy elders.

You see, when you complain to God because you’re doing something that He told you to do, God is going to give you instruction. See, He’s not going to leave you out there. Because you’re doing His will. And you’re not trying to... Well, we’re supposed to not be trying to consume it upon our own lusts. Amen?

If we have an issue, then we need to take it to God. He said we could. He said we could. We can enter boldly before the throne of grace. He said, “Come to Me.”

Don’t go to sister so and so and say, “I got a problem with so and so.” Don’t go to brother so and so, “Well, I got a problem with so and so.” Uh, uh. Take it to God. This word is not just for True Vine. It’s for the body of Christ. Take it to God.

And sometimes we have people that will try to pick a little bit, that will give you a little bit. They’ll put a little bait out there for you to get it. And if you not on your P’s and Q’s, you’ll take that bait. And you’ll start running with it. And they like, “Oh, yeah. I feel the same way.” You got to watch those folks. They’ll lead you down that path of destruction, the same one they going down.

Don’t complain. If you are a complainer this morning, be honest with yourself. Don’t nobody have to look at nobody else. Don’t nobody have to think about nobody else. “Oh, so and so should have been here for this message today.” Uh, uh. God has everybody here who He wants here today.

A lot of times when God says a word we don’t want it to be us. We’ll start pointing everything at so and so. But God is talking to all of us.

He’s talking to me, as your pastor, as your under-shepherd. He’s telling me, He’s saying, “Son, now I’ve given you position instruction. I say it’s going to be hard. But do not complain to the people. Don’t complain. Come to Me. And I’ll take care of it.” That’s a part of maturity. That’s a part of maturity. And that’s where God is leading us.

There has been so many churches that started in Columbus, Georgia, that have folded already. They’re there one week. Next week, next month, you don’t see them any more. Not that God didn’t tell them to do it. The journey may have been just a little bit hard for them. Do you hear what I’m saying? We’re not putting nobody down. The journey may have been a little bit too stressful. Oh, because it’s a stressful journey.

But if you lean and depend on God, He said, “I won’t give you more than you can bear.” That’s what He said. And anything that you go through, He’s given you strength to bear it. He’s already given you strength to bear it. All you got to do is receive it. Say, “Lord, only reason this came my way is because You’ve already given me enough strength for it. And in it I’m going to trust you.

Every head bowed, every eye closed...

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