All the Israelites grumbled and deplored their situation, accusing Moses and Aaron, to whom the whole congregation said, would that we had died in Egypt! Or that we had died in this wilderness! Why does the Lord bring us to this land to fall by the sword? Our wives and little ones will be a prey. Is it not better for us to return to Egypt?
— Numbers 14:2–3 (AMPC)
Adapted from the resource Battlefield of the Mind – by Joyce Meyer
A stronghold is an area in which we are held in bondage—any part of our lives in which Satan imprisons us. He does this by causing us to think a certain way—a way that is based on lies we have been told. As long as we believe things that are not true, we will remain imprisoned by those strongholds. To enjoy freedom, we must learn to use God’s mighty weapons.
“What is your problem?” That’s the question I would have liked to ask the Israelites! Their chief occupation seemed to be to grumble. As the verses above tell us, they not only lamented and groaned about their situation, but they also accused Moses of bringing them into the wilderness so they could die. In other scripture passages, we read that they complained about the food. God provided manna for them, and all they had to do was pick it up fresh every morning—but they didn’t like the heavenly diet.
In short, it wouldn’t have mattered what God did for them or what Moses and Aaron told them. They were committed to complaining. They had formed the grumbling habit. And much of it is a habit! If you grumble about one thing, it’s not long before there is something else to complain about.
When two complainers come together, the situation only gets worse. What about the million or more people who came out of Egypt? Once the disease of disgruntlement struck, it became like a virus and infected them all. They were negative about everything. When the slightest problem arose, they were ready to return to Egypt. They preferred bondage as slaves rather than pressing on into the Promised Land.
One time Moses sent 12 spies into the land, and they came back and reported what wonderful, fertile land they had seen. (Read the story in Numbers 13 and 14.) The complainers joined with 10 of the spies (again, all but Joshua and Caleb). “Yes, it’s a great place,” they agreed. But grumblers never stop with positive statements. They added, “But the people who dwell there are strong . . . and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers” (13:28, 33 AMPC).
Had they forgotten all the miracles God had done for them? Yes, they had. That’s where Satan trips up many people. They whine—and often it’s about a small thing. They find fault with something. If they don’t realize what they’re doing by allowing such thinking to continue, they don’t need to ask, “What is the problem?” What they need to learn to say is, “I don’t have a problem; I am the problem.”
That was exactly the situation in Moses’ day. The enemy in Canaan wasn’t any worse, bigger, or more powerful than what the people constantly faced. But what if their problems really were more serious? If God could destroy the Egyptians at the Red Sea, why wouldn’t He give them another miracle? They were His people, and He loved them.
They themselves were the problem, and they never accepted that fact. Forty years of wandering, and they never got the message. How dense could they be? I’ve wondered many times. Of course, it’s easy to say that—because I wasn’t there, and I can see the situation with hindsight. It’s harder to examine our own lives and see why we gripe and moan.
“But my situation is different,” people often say to me. That’s true, but the spirit in which you operate is the same as those in ancient Israel. You’re so caught up in grumbling, complaining, and seeing what’s wrong that you have no energy or time to appreciate what’s good.
Prayer Starter: Father God, please forgive me for seeing others or my surroundings or the situation I’m in as the problem. Forgive me and set me free. In the name of Jesus, amen.