Murmuring is one of the sin committed by the Israelites against Moses, and against the Lord. They were punished and suffered terribly because of this sin.
It is calculated that over one million of the children of Israel died in the wilderness by God’s judgment for their murmurings for forty years.
This morning we will talk about murmuring so we as children of God will not commit the same sin and be punished also just like the Jews.
A. Murmur – to complain; to utter complaints in a low, half articulated voice; to utter sullen discontent (Webster)
B. In Biblical terms – murmuring is the characteristic rebellion of Israelites against God. It is used in connection with the complains of the Jews against God, and against Moses and Aaron
A. Exodus 15:24 And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?
B. Exodus 16:2 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:
C. Exodus 17:3 And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?
The whole congregation complained because they were thirsty and hungry. They had been away from Egypt only a month and still remembered the flesh pots of Egypt and the food they had eaten to the full. But for some reason, they’d forgotten the bondage, the beatings, and the misery of their forced labour as slaves. They accused Moses and Aaron of deliberately leading them into the wilderness to kill them. They said they wished the Lord had killed them in Egypt when they were full rather than in the desert when they were empty! Little did these Israelites know that they would one day get their request, for the entire older generation would die in the wilderness and never get to the Promised Land.
III. Bible Facts about murmuring:
1 Corinthians 10:10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
Philippians 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings.
Common Complaints of Spouses
Dr. Robert Travis, co-director of Marital and Health Studies at the Univ. of Alabama, lists the most common complaints of husbands and wives:
WIVES: He doesn’t listen to me, He takes me for granted, He’s not romantic, and He doesn’t help much with the children.
HUSBANDS: She doesn’t understand that I need time by myself, she nags about little things, she expects too much emotionally, she complains that I spend too much time at work.
B. Characteristic of the wicked
Jude 1:16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.
Those Who Complain First
A heavy wagon was being dragged along a country lane by a team of oxen. The axles groaned and creaked terribly, when the oxen turning around thus addressed the wheels, “Hey there, why do you make so much noise? We bear all the labor, and we—not you—ought to cry out!” Those who complain first in our churches are those who do the least. The gift of grumbling is largely dispensed among those who have no other talents, or who keep what they have and not using it.
C. Goes together with Ingratitude or lack of thankfulness
Proverbs 17:13 Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.
Numbers 16:2-3 And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?
The context here is the rebellion of Korah and the 250 men princes of the assembly. They are rejecting the authority Of Moses as God’s mouthpiece and their ambition to be included in the priest’s office. The position which no one can take “except he is called by God as was Aaron”. These people instead of being thankful they are included in the congregation wants status above the rest. They have no contentment, and are very ungrateful.
IV. Whom it is Committed Against
A. God – Proverbs 19:3 The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the LORD.
B. Christ. Luke 15:2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. Lk. 19:7; Joh 6:41-43,52
C. Ministers of God. Numbers 16:41 But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the LORD.
D. Disciples of Christ. Lk. 5:30 But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?
V. What does it do?
A. Tempts God – Exodus 17:2 Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD?
B. Provokes God – Numbers 14:11 And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?
Deuteronomy 9:8 Also in Horeb ye provoked the LORD to wrath, so that the LORD was angry with you to have destroyed you.
A. Old Testament Punishments:
1. Murmurers were burned, the place was called Taberah (“a burning”). Numbers 11:1 And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.
Those who were not contented with the manna but wished for flesh (meat), was punished by the LORD with a very great plague while the flesh was yet in between their teeth (Num. 11:33).
2. Murmurers were swallowed by the earth. Some Bible expositors says that they went down alive in Sheol. Numbers 16:31-32 And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that
was under them: And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.
The remaining 250 insurgents who offered incense was devoured by fire from heaven (Num. 16:35)
3. Murmurers and complainers died immediately (10 spies). Numbers 14:36-37 And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land, Even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the LORD.
The Israelites who were 20 years of age and older would die as they wander in the desert for 40 years.
It was estimated that out of 1,200,000 who left Egypt not including the mix multitude, (600,000 of both men and women Jews) as having to die in 14,508 days (38 ½ years), gives 85 deaths per day. Figuring 12 hours per day maximum for funerals, gives an average of 7 funerals per hour for all 38 ½ years.
B. New Testament Punishments
1. Most of the murmurings were done by the scribes and Pharisees.
2. Priests got saved as indicated in Acts 6:7,
3. By God’s grace He is not as strict now as it was in the OT times.
4. Murmurers or complainers in the church usually cannot stay for long in the local church they are attending. They transfer or do “church hopping” every now and then. They become stumbling blocks for others.
5. With so much murmurers, complainers, and rebels against God, the time will come where these sinners will be dealt with justly.
If murmuring is prohibited in the Bible, does it tells us believers also not to murmur against God’s chosen servants like Sunday School Teachers, Deacons, specially Pastors? What I want to emphasize here is love, respect, and pray for them especially for your Pastor. Obey Christ, obey God’s commands, and be blessed. Stop your murmuring and complaining against God and His servants.