Now when the people complained openly before the LORD, the LORD heard, and His anger burned.
— Numbers 11:1
We have a whole marketing industry that is based on discontent. From class warfare to envy and petty jealousy, the goal is to make people unhappy with what they have. It is so easy for us to complain, because there is always a “snake in paradise.” As long as we live in this world, there will be trouble and imperfections, from bugs that ruin your picnic to life-threatening disease.
God hates the discontented spirit, the murmurers. The Old Testament describes all the marvelous things God did for the Israelites when they came out of Egypt on their way to the Holy Land. But soon we read, “They murmured against Moses.” They murmured. They were always murmuring. God was sorely displeased with them and He sent fiery serpents upon them because they were rebelling against His providence. This is a picture of what discontentment is.
Now this does not mean that we may not strive to improve our circumstances, but we are to recognize the providence of God and His promise to provide for all of our needs out of His riches in glory. We are to be content in all our circumstances and in whatever state we are in. Paul said, “I know both how to face humble circumstances and how to have abundance. Everywhere and in all things I have learned the secret, both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need” (Philippians 4:12).