Parenting Through the Life of Moses : Complaining

I have a whole new appreciation for Moses now that I am a parent…especially after parenting for a week alone while Ryan was in London! We are studying the “Life of Moses” this year in BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) and having kids has certainly made this study much more applicable than ever before. The next few posts will be a little series of situations I have seen played out in my life as I relate them to what happened to Moses as a parent figure and leader of the Israelites.

Whining and complaining. Didn’t like the water, didn’t like the food. Somebody got something better than me and that’s not fair. We can’t do it because it’s too hard. Goodness, if ever I think I am having a rough day with my TWO whinny kids, I really need take a step back and think of Moses who had over TWO MILLION whining kids…I mean Israelites, to take care of and lead to the Promised Land. I am entrusted with these children, God’s children, just as Moses was entrusted with God’s chosen children the Israelites, to get them to the Promised Land that is our Heavenly reward!

But it’s not easy. It is challenging. I have taken great hope and encouragement from Moses, as a leader and God, our heavenly Father, and the way they handled situations that came about. Never had I thought of the book of Numbers to be such an incredible parenting resource! :)

How often do your children whine and complain? It’s an ongoing battle here for one of our precious babes. I don’t know if it’s a girl thing or what, but she tests and pushes me every day! We have really been working on and trying to instill “a happy heart is a thankful heart,” to curb the ungrateful spirit. I can sympathize with Moses when I read this:

Exodus 16:2-4

”2 In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”
The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the LORD commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”
Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the LORD to the test?”
3 But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”
4 Then Moses cried out to the LORD, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”

This started already almost the minute they crossed the Red Sea! Were their memories that clouded that they forgot their absolutely miserable circumstances and complete oppression? Unfortunately, I witness this daily as I have given instructions and my son or daughter has a relapse of the consequences faced the day before after not obeying. We read in Numbers again where they had just set out for the Promised Land and no sooner did they forget what they were truly traveling for.

Numbers 10:33-11:6

“33 So they set out from the mountain of the LORD and traveled for three days. The ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them during those three days to find them a place to rest. 34 The cloud of the LORD was over them by day when they set out from the camp.
35 Whenever the ark set out, Moses said,
“Rise up, LORD!
May your enemies be scattered;
may your foes flee before you.”
36 Whenever it came to rest, he said,
“Return, LORD,
to the countless thousands of Israel.”
Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. 2 When the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the LORD and the fire died down.3 So that place was called Taberah, because fire from the LORD had burned among them.
4 The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. 6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”

Now some of this is probably a little extreme (you know, like being stoned!), but how many times do you feel like you give and give and give to your children, only for them to turn around and complain about what you feel is your best leading, guidance and daily provision?! God was even there physically leading them with the cloud! It blows me away that it only took 3 DAYS of traveling before the Israelites were complaining again and wanting to be back in Egypt! But it really hits home when a talk has just been had with my sweet pea and it isn’t 3 MINUTES later that she has something else to complain about.

As we see in Numbers 11:2, Moses didn’t just let the people burn in their sin though, He PRAYED for them. We as parents have a high calling to not only lead our children, but to pray on their behalf that the Lord would change their hearts and show them the way. There is only so much we can do, but through the Lord, I pray that the complaining will cease.

As I see my children whine and complain about something they don’t like, I am caught short when I start to feel that ungrateful sprit rise up within me. The long and short of it is God is not pleased when His people complain. We need to tell ourselves that it is nothing short of sin and tell our children this truth too. We try and combat this with a thankful heart and I want this verse posted all over my house so I can remind my kids and myself all day every day to:

Deuteronomy 26:11

” Rejoice in all the good things the LORD your God has given to you and your household.”

When I get fed up and discouraged, if not disgusted with my children for their complaining, do I get just as disgusted with myself for those same tendencies? Are my eyes opened to the ugliness of my ungratefulness and sin? I pray as I train and correct my children to rejoice in all the good the Lord has given us, that I too will have a consistent grateful spirit that they can learn from. These verses from Proverbs 10 leave us with some sound advice, telling us what can happen when we believe the chatter and what ultimately happened to the Israelites.

vs. 19 “Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.”

vs. 8 “The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin.”

I want to rise above the rabble of the everyday and help my children to do the same! This is leading me back to my “30 Days of Thankfulness” that I did through the month of November. I want to find as many reasons to rejoice and be thankful as I can each and every day so I can kick the spirit of complaining to the curb! So here on “Of the Mouth of Babes” I will be journaling my way to a “happy heart is a thankful heart.” Feel free to join me and let me know how God is changing your heart and mind to align with His. :)

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