Keith Green’s article “Grumbling and Complaining–So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt?” (Part 3)

Keith Green – So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt (live)

Uploaded by on May 25, 2008

Keith Green performing “So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt” live at West Coast 1980


This song really shows Keith’s humor, but it really has great message. Keith also had a great newsletter that went out every month and I always enjoyed reading it. Below is a portion of an article he wrote  and I still remember some of the things he said over 30 years ago when I first read it.

Keith Green – So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt

Grumbling and Complaining —So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt?

By Keith Green

#2 Complaints Of Jealousy

Numbers reveals another dangerous complaint that’s buried in each one of us like a ticking bomb.

In Numbers 12:1 it says, “Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married…” On the surface, their complaint seemed to be about Moses choosing a non-Jewish wife. But we know Moses was a praying man with a face-to-face relationship with God – and apparently God gave Moses the go-ahead to marry her. Actually, Miriam and Aaron were judging Moses and once they began to gripe, their real complaint came out. In the very next verse they said, “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us as well?”

You don’t have to dig too deep to see the sin of jealousy. God had elevated Moses to a place of leadership, honor, and respect. And his own brother and sister couldn’t stand it! Their complaint didn’t come from physical appetite, like the people demanding meat. They complained because of hungry egos!

Unfortunately, egos didn’t become extinct at the close of the Old Testament. New Testament Christians like us, have New Testament ego problems. By that I mean we sometimes get jealous and complain against our brothers and sisters in the Lord. I’ve seen this kind of jealousy between close friends who get involved in ministry at the same time. One of them is put in a leadership position and you’d expect the other one to be happy for him because Paul says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice.” (Rom.12:15)

But all too often the response is a bruised ego. Then the grumbling starts. “Why does he get to lead the Bible study? I’ve been a Christian longer than he has. I led him to the Lord! Last night he took five minutes to find Haggai!”

Sadly, one reason we get jealous of Christian preachers, teachers, or performers is because we see others idolizing them. We should be offended, but if some of us get honest, we’ll admit we want that kind of respect and admiration too. Maybe you’ve never seen it in this way, but sometimes we want to be idolized!

Jesus had to settle this problem among his 12 closest friends the night before He was crucified. He’d already told them He was about to die, and they were grieving, right? Wrong. The week before they had watched Him hailed as King when He entered Jerusalem and now they were arguing over who would be the greatest in His Kingdom! (Lk. 22:24) I would’ve gone out and looked for 12 new disciples! But Jesus took a towel and a basin of water, and washed their feet one by one, like a common household servant. Then He said, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me teacher and Lord; and you are right; for so I am. If I then… washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” (Jn. 13:12-14)

Are you complaining because no one recognizes your gifts? Are you picking at the flaws in leaders? Are you murmuring because someone besides you is getting attention and praise?

Paul warned one group of Christians: “But if you bite and devour one another, take care lest you be consumed by one another.” (Gal. 5:15) Jealous complaining is like a destructive cancer.

God allowed Miriam and Aaron to feel the cancerous effect of their complaints against Moses. In anger, the Lord struck Miriam with leprosy – the cancer of that age. (Num. 12:10) Though He cleansed her of the leprosy, she and Aaron were later forbidden to enter the Promised Land “because of rebellion.” (Num. 20:24)

The message is clear. Sometimes our complaints come from hungry egos we haven’t surrendered to the Lord. If you’ve been complaining because no one’s recognizing your gifts, surrender your ego to God before it becomes like a cancer, devouring your brothers and sisters in Christ, and consuming your own Spirit.

Your complete surrender will allow God to cleanse you. Then you will be ready to take your position in His Kingdom.



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