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The Sin of Murmuring

(Num. 14:1-3) "So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, 'If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims?'"

The Israelites murmured against their gracious and loving God. Their murmurings displeased Him. Sadly, many Christians are murmurers and complainers. In the home, on the job and in the local church they grumble, murmur and complain. They can see nothing good. To them, everything is bad -- their life is miserable and they pour their misery out on everyone else.

To murmur means to grumble or whine. It is not wrong to complain if correction is needed, but there should be no murmuring.

The families of the Grecian widows in Acts 6:1-5 had a just complaint. They were being neglected. It was in order for them to complain - - but not to murmur.

There are several examples of the sin of murmuring in the New Testament, like the parable of the laborers in the vineyard (Matt. 20:1-16). They murmured because they had worked all day while others who had worked for a much shorter period received the same wages. They had received their just due but they still murmured.

The scribes and Pharisees murmured against the disciples of Jesus because they ate and drank with publicans and sinners but they were really striking out at Jesus (Luke 5:29-32). They did not care that the publicans and sinners needed Jesus. They were only concerned with their personal agenda.

If we were to summarize the general tone of these examples it would be fair to conclude that when the behavior of Jesus was not according to what they thought it should be, they murmured.

There is not a single one of us who appreciates murmurers. When another person engages in this sin, we see its ugly quality. Trust me, it does not look any better in us.

Make no mistake, murmuring is sin. "Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world" (Phil. 2:14-15). "Be hospitable to one another without grumbling" (1 Pet. 4:9).

- Gene Taylor


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