On Murmuring and Complaining

“. . .for the Lord hears your murmurings which you murmur against Him—and what are we?  Your murmurings are not against us, but against the Lord”

Exodus 16:8b

A discontented spirit is a devilish one and an odious offense against the Heavenly Father.

How obedient are you today, Pilgrim?  Are you “giving thanks in everything because you know it’s the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thess. 5:18)?  Have you learned “to be content in whatsoever state you’re in and how to be abased or abound” (Phil. 3:11-12)?

If so, rejoice; if not, repent.

God had delivered the Israelites from 430 years of Egyptian captivity.  He’d miraculously parted the Red Sea, allowing them to “walk across on dry ground,” while the pursuing Egyptians perished beneath the returning water (Ex. 14:29-31).

Later on, they were thirsty and “murmured (Heb. ‘luwn’—‘to stop, stay permanently, abide, continue in, be obstinate, hold a grudge, etc.’) against Moses, saying ‘What shall we drink’?” because the waters were bitter (Ex. 15:22-24).  Thankfully, he knew what to do (“cry unto the Lord”—v.25a) and was used by God to make the waters drinkable (v.25b).

Shortly thereafter, they grew hungry and “murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, crying ‘Would to God that we’d died in Egypt when we sat by the flesh pots and ate bread until we were full—for you have brought us forth into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger’!” (16:1-3).

But, once again, God was merciful and “rained down bread/Manna in the morning and flesh in the evening” (16:4-8a).  And, still yet, they later would once again “tempt (Heb. ‘nacah’—‘to try, put to the test, provoke, etc.’) the Lord” (17:2) by “murmuring against Moses” (v.3) and even asking “Is the Lord among us or not?” (v.7).

How grateful we should be for God’s longsuffering Mercy (Ex. 34:6; Num. 14:18; Ps. 86:15; Lam. 3:21-23)!

Because of this, we should quickly catch ourselves and “bridle our tongues” (James 3:2) when a spirit of discontent arises within us and murmuring, complaining, criticism, backbiting and accusations, gossip, etc., begins to escape from our lips.  Remember:  All sins are against God (Ps. 51:4) and He listens to every word we speak, whether in private or public (Mt. 12:35-37).

That’s why we should be “swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to get angry” (James 1:19).  It only takes a few busybodies with tongues loose on both ends to stir up division within a church.  The spirit of discontent is quite contagious and our flesh is drawn to it; but, we must not allow it to have a place in our lives (or lips), for such is always a “stronghold of sin” (II Cor. 10:5).  As someone said, “If you can’t say something good about somebody, don’t say anything at all.”  Or, as Oswald Chambers put it, “God has not given us the spirit of discernment for criticism; it’s always for intercession.”  Amen and amen.

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated September 17, 2009

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