A friend & I had a conversation the other day, in which, she made the observation that someone in her life was always critical, always grumbling about something. It had developed to the point that it was now driving her insane.
The dictionary defines “critical” as:
- inclined to find fault or to judge with severity, often too readily.
- occupied with or skilled in criticism.
Upon reading these definitions, several thoughts were raised in my mind….
- this is an inclination in certain personalities, meaning that it is a bent in the mind or a disposition towards doing this.
- it is done “readily” which to me means if we are prone towards being critical, we offer criticism quickly, easily, willingly.
- we can take up our time with criticism & become quite experienced with criticism
These were sobering thoughts to me. Like who wants to list on a resume that they are “skilled” in criticism? How does one even obtain or develop such a skill? No better place to find the answer than in Numbers 11. Interestingly enough, I stumbled onto this Scripture the very next day. I took it that God wanted to be sure to give me some answers 🙂
In this portion, we find the Israelites already in the wilderness having experienced God’s miraculous victory from the Egyptians, His provision of sustenance & protection.
“Soon the people began to complain about their hardship, and the Lord heard everything they said. Then the Lord’s anger blazed against them, and he sent a fire to rage among them, and he destroyed some of the people in the outskirts of the camp” (verse 1 NLT).
We become critical when we focus on our difficulties & start complaining.
They realize they have angered the Lord, cry out to Moses who prays on their behalf, the fire dies down & so does their complaining.
“Then the foreign rabble who were traveling with the Israelites began to crave the good things of Egypt. And the people of Israel also began to complain.” (verse 4 NLT).
We become critical when those we choose to journey with are critical & complaining.
The foreign rabble were “foreigners who had come out of Egypt with the Israelites. Since they were not Hebrews, they had no personal attachment to God & His promises.” (Key Word Study Bible).
We become critical when we crave things that are not God’s best for us.
They began to crave the good things of Egypt. They forgot the slavery, the brutal taskmasters & focused instead on the food that was available in Egypt. They became dissatisfied with God’s provision each day.
Grumbling, complaining, being critical are all contagious. That is the bottom line.
Today God has opened my eyes to this process. May I be mindful of the company I keep. May I be mindful of what I allow myself to focus on. May I crave only that which God provides.