Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #336 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Psalm 142-143 today and our focus is on  Is it Wrong to Whine To God? Should We Ever Complain to God? How to Plead With God in Hopeless Times. We are a daily 10ish minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in   Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\

Two more Psalms today – both Psalms of King David. The first is a prayer that David made to God when he was in a cave hiding out from King Saul and his men. In that prayer, David says some pretty interesting things – let’s read it. Note vss 1-2 and vs. 4:

I cry aloud to the Lord;
I plead aloud to the Lord for mercy.
I pour out my complaint before him;
I reveal my trouble to him.   Psalm 142:1-2 
Look to the right and see:
no one stands up for me;
there is no refuge for me;
no one cares about me. Psalm 142:4 
David is obviously in trouble, and he is telling God about his troubles – even complaining to God about his hardships. Not only is he complaining, but he sounds a bit whiny too – “NO ONE cares about me”?!  Complaining? Whining?  Now wait a minute – didn’t God severely punish the Israelites in Numbers 11 for complaining by sending a terrible plague among them? Does not Philippians 2 say something about not complaining?
14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, Phil 2:14-15
So, yes – generally speaking, we are not supposed to complain to God. And yet…:
As for me, I shall call upon God,
And the Lord will save me.
17 Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur,
And He will hear my voice.
18 He will redeem my soul in peace from the battle which is against me,
For they are many who strive with me.  Psalm 55:16-18
Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint;
Preserve my life from dread of the enemy. Psalm 64:1
Job 7:11 “Therefore I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. (remembering that God said that Job did NOT sin) 
and, Acts 6:11 Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food.
So what are we to make of all of this? Are we allowed to complain, or not??  This is a difficult question, but here is my own conclusion: Those going through a genuine and real hardship and are greatly troubled and seeking the Lord’s help- such as David in our Psalm today, Job in Job 7, and the widows in Acts 6…can, prayerfully, complain to God and ask Him for help, sharing their complaint. On the other hand, the Jewish people in Numbers 11, and probably most of mine and your complaints over the years – are  quite different – having more of an aspect of grumbling and ingratitude, rather than crying out for help and presenting our requests before God.
Based on the verses we’ve read, it appears to be right and biblical to share our troubles and complaints with God when we are going through great hardship. Ungrateful grumbling to each other, and especially to God, however, is never right or righteous.
Second Psalm – Psalm 143. Here we have a textbook example of how to pray in desperate times. Notice, as in many of these Psalms, that David begins with a plea to God for his prayer to be heard. He then spells out His problems before God and remembers God’s past deliverances. All three of these things are absolutely crucial for us in prayer when we are going through burning and fiery trials. God will hear the prayers of His people – have no doubt – and yet, it is a very biblical thing, perhaps helpful to our own souls – to cry out in agony for God to listen to us. It is also right and biblical and helpful to tell the God who knows every detail of our lives better than we do, the current troubles we are going through. This is not information for God, but such pouring out of our troubles does form an important part of all prayers for deliverance. The reminder of God’s faithfulness in the past is both a praise and declaration of His goodness AND a reminder to our weak and weary souls. Desperation is perfectly appropriate and acceptable in crying out to God – you need not attempt to pray like you have it all together…because neither you nor I have it all together in any way! I love what David prays in verse seven:
Answer me quickly, Lord;
my spirit fails.
Don’t hide your face from me,
or I will be like those
going down to the Pit.
Brother Spurgeon, in commenting on this verse, writes:

Hear me speedily, O LORD: my spirit faileth.” If long delayed, the deliverance would come too late. The afflicted suppliant faints, and is ready to die. His life is ebbing out; each moment is of importance; it will soon be all over with him. No argument for speed can be more powerful than this. Who will not run to help a suppliant when his life is in jeopardy? Mercy has wings to its heels when misery is in extremity. God will not fail when our spirit fails, but the rather he will hasten his course and come to us on the wings of the wind. “Hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.” Communion with God is so dear to a true heart that the withdrawal of it makes the man feel as though he were ready to die and perish utterly. God’s withdrawals reduce the heart to despair, and take away all strength from the mind. Moreover, his absence enables adversaries to work their will without restraint; and thus, in a second way, the persecuted one is like to perish. If we have God’s countenance we live, but if he turns his back upon us we die. When the Lord looks with favour upon our efforts we prosper, but if he refuses to countenance them we labour in vain.

C. H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David: Psalms 120-150, vol. 6 (London; Edinburgh; New York: Marshall Brothers, n.d.), 336–337.


Bible Memory passage for the month of December: Revelation 5:12, “They said with a loud voice: Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

The Bible 2021 Podcast Is a ministry of Valley Baptist Church A Baptist Church in Salinas, California.

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