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Bible verses about Murmuring
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Exodus 14:5-10  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The Israelites accuse Moses of not dealing with them fairly, murmuring that he should not have led them out of Egypt. This occurs just days after they went out with a high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians, joyful that they were free. How quickly their faith evaporated when fear began closing in on them!

The Egyptians, their horses, their chariots, all the shining army and might of Egypt were represented there. The Israelites' backs were up against the sea, and they could see the death sentence approaching them as fast as a horse could pull a chariot. They thought their lives were hanging in a balance when they saw the army. The end of their lives was quickly coming within view.

Had not God given them enough evidence through all His plagues against Egypt? Had He not given them enough evidence to impact their thinking, clearly dividing the Israelites from the Egyptians, beginning with the fourth plague? All of the plagues fell on Egypt, but none of them after that fell on the Israelites. Had He not impressed their minds enough on Passover when the blood of the Lamb enabled their firstborn to live while the Egyptians' died?

We can learn and grow from this lesson. In principle, we all come to our own personal Red Sea. Every one of us fails repeatedly, just as Israel did when they lost their faith for a while. What we go through when we come up against our personal Red Sea is very similar to what Israel went through.

God rescued and chastened them, but He did not dump them. He shows that He will continue to work patiently with us just as a teacher continues to work with students, even though some fail and rarely do anything well. A teacher is faced with the same principle that we are involved in with God. The teacher does not want to fail students, so he uses all of his time, energy, and efforts to encourage and instruct so that those who are failing will turn around, catch the vision, and begin to apply the right teaching.

God thinks of time in the same way a teacher does: “There is still time to catch this person's interest and turn them around.” Therefore, God gave the Israelites forty years in the wilderness.

Hebrews 11:29 shows that these people did recover their faith in time to go through the Red Sea. The major reason that they turned themselves around may have largely been because of faithful leadership, primarily by Moses and possibly by others as well. They exhibited some measure of faith, and God faithfully and duly records it.

This ought to encourage those of us who fail from time to time. Many times our faith has failed, but God patiently continues to work with us. We cannot become discouraged, but must keep going on, because God will not stop. He will keep working with us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Faith (Part 1)


 

Exodus 16:7  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The people thought that they were complaining against Moses and Aaron, but Moses said, "No, you are murmuring against God." They did not see God in the same way that Moses did. He saw God ruling over His creation. He understood that he was God's servant, so when they complained against Moses, they were really complaining against God. Moses interpreted the situation as, if God wanted something done differently, He probably would have moved Moses to act differently.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Submitting (Part 2)


 

Numbers 11:6-10  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

First, note that these people, spiritually, were so far from God that they did not take the first warning, the burning that took place on the outskirts of the camp. It was just a little thing from God to say, "Hey, wait a minute. You need Me. I am giving you the manna, and if it was not for that, you would die. Not only that, I was the One who gave you freedom." But how quickly they were forgetting.

What is the lesson here? They wanted variety; they felt they were leading a monotonous life. The Bible records no particular occasion for the beginning of their complaint except that they were bored with what they had to eat. Their words express dissatisfaction with privations incurred on their journey through the wilderness.

We are to learn from that. It is the Old Testament's form of whether or not we are willing to bear our cross—whatever comes upon us as a result of our repentance, our baptism, our receipt of God's Spirit, our entering into the covenant with Jesus Christ, and being His slave! Are we really willing to be His slaves and take what He dishes out?

What they wanted was food that had a sharper, more distinctive flavor, something more stimulating than manna, which tasted like pastry. They wanted cayenne powder, hot sauce, onions, garlic, spice. They wanted sauces and herbs for flavor that add a dimension to eating that otherwise would not be there.

It is interesting how quickly our taste can become perverted. Many people, for instance, put far too much salt on the foods they eat. Observe this the next time you are in a restaurant: There is a good chance that you will see diners pick up the salt and pepper shakers and shake them over their meals before they even taste the food. It is an ingrained habit, and their taste has become perverted.

That is what happened to the Israelites. They did not comprehend that God was feeding them angel's food, as it is called in the New Testament, the best possible diet they could get in their circumstance. Would we expect God to supply anything less than the best for the situation? Because He is a God of love, He will always do the best for us in every circumstance.

He was doing that for Israel, but their taste was perverted and so they were unwilling to be content with what God was supplying. Therein lies the lesson for us. Are we content with what God is supplying, or are we looking for stimulation that Christianity seems to lack? Are we looking for an edge? Are we craving flavor in our lives? Are we looking for something out of life in the way of entertainments or social contacts that we feel we are being denied because we are Christians? Do we feel this "privation" is a cross we are unwilling to bear? The lesson from these people is, if such a desire begins to gnaw at us, there is a chance we will give in to intense craving and begin complaining to God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Passover and I Corinthians 10


 

Psalm 135:3-6  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Since God is God, who can dare challenge His prerogative? Who can dare call Him into account for the way in which He deals with us or those we feel close to? Do we, in our limited perception, frequently become critical or frustrated with the way God is handling affairs? When this happens, we are in reality leaving God out of the picture. Where is our faith in His character or His lovingkindness? To murmur against Him is rank rebellion. To question His ways in the wrong attitude is to impugn His power, wisdom, and rights. We should never forget what Isaiah 40:17-18 says of Him whom we serve: "All nations before Him are as nothing, and they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless. To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to Him?"

We can see that God has created all of nature with great diversity. The laws of nature, also set in motion by God, operate and keep everything under control. Is it really necessary for Him to manage or govern His creation actively? Psalm 22:28 reminds us, "For the kingdom is the LORD'S, and He rules over the nations." The King James version reads, "He is the governor over the nations," but rule is what a governor does. He rules, manages, keeps under control, or directs according to His own purpose.

Did God create all things and then step away from what He had made, allowing it to operate on its own? Are we now subject to uniform, impersonal law rather than a sovereign God actively controlling the operations of His creation? Everywhere the Bible confirms that God is actively involved in managing His creation—and no part of His creation receives more attention than the supreme, ongoing creation He is working in our lives, the creation of His image in us. This almighty, sovereign God has His attention focused on His church, and we can have faith in that. There is nothing in its existence of which He is not aware and that is not subject to His sovereign dictates.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sovereignty of God: Part Three


 

1 Corinthians 10:6-11  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The apostle lists five major sins of the Israelite people here. In essence, though, there was really only one major sin, but the others led to this major sin, which was idolatry. The other sins they committed were just a step that took them into it.

These verses list lust, idolatry, fornication, tempting God, and murmuring. But the Corinthian church had another problem that Paul does not list here. It is something that we have to read between the lines to see. But once we begin to see it, it begins to become very clear. Their problem was a careless presumption that had its roots in pride. They were elevating themselves above their brethren, and their careless presumption that they were all right with God led them to treat their fellow man in a way that they ought not to have done. He is implying that behind this whole circumstance is idolatry. They themselves were the gods they were worshipping.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Passover and I Corinthians 10


 

1 Corinthians 10:10  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Among the truly distinctive biblical terms describing the attitudes of those journeying through the wilderness are forms of the term "murmur." Such words are not used much today, as most would use a form of "complain," "gripe," "grumble," "protest," "criticize," or "whine." In referring to the children of Israel in the wilderness, the King James Version uses a form of "murmur" 24 times.

It is natural to complain against afflictions, losses, and hopeful expectations dashed. We seem to think that our possessions are ours unconditionally, especially those things on which we had set our hearts. We feel that, having worked diligently, we are entitled to success and deserve to enjoy and keep what we have accumulated. In the same way, when we are surrounded by a loving family, no one has a right to break into that circle and strike down a loved one.

We live our lives under the sovereignty of God, whose watchful oversight is on us constantly. How do we react to Him when things are not going well? It is easy to gripe without even thinking of the ever-watchful God who promises to supply our every need. We may find ourselves complaining to Him about our state of affairs, as if He is totally unaware. Have we forgotten that this One, who by His grace has called us into a relationship with Him, has neither afflicted us nor allowed us to be afflicted anywhere near what we truly deserve as the wages of our sinful lives?

Another benefit of fully accepting the sovereignty of God is one that is not always appreciated because its cause and solution are not always understood. Comprehending God's sovereignty brings resignation into our lives. In this day, being resigned to something almost seems like a position of defeat, as though at best we have to choose the lesser of two evils rather than forging ahead in confidence to grab life's brass ring.

The Reader's Digest Great Encyclopedic Dictionary defines resignation as "the quality of being submissive; unresisting acquiescence." The Reader's Digest Oxford Complete Wordfinder defines it as "uncomplaining endurance of a sorrow or difficulty." The mention of endurance is noteworthy because of Jesus' statement in Matthew 24:13 for the need of endurance.

A major benefit of intelligently living by faith, seeking God through His Word, meditating on what we study, and relating everything in life to an awareness of God, looking for His hand in events, is that these activities will gradually produce a much deeper awareness of His loving nearness. It gives us a clearer sense that everything is under control. Recall Jesus' crossing the turbulent Sea of Galilee during a storm. There are huge waves and high winds. The disciples are terrified, but He is sleeping right through it. In fear, they wake Him. He arises and says to the wind and waves, "Peace, be still," and they immediately calm. He then asks His disciples, "Why are you so fearful; how is it that you have no faith?"

When we have a right and true recognition of God's sovereignty, the griping and fears that we are so prone to because human nature is so easily offended can diminish considerably. Understanding God's sovereignty better teaches us that we must know that our lives are in God's hands. He owns us body and soul, we are in His view at all times, and we must bow to His will. Therefore, regardless of circumstances, He can take care of us.

He never afflicts us with more than we deserve nor more than we can bear (I Corinthians 10:13). If He chooses poverty, poor health, or family problems for us, we must understand that He never piles more on us than we deserve. After all, we killed His Son, and besides that, He has great plans for us in His Kingdom for which we need to be prepared.

An upset woman once complained to her minister that church members had heaped much scorn on her and her family by saying derogatory things about them. She asked the minister if anybody else in his memory had had to endure such things. He replied, "Yes, Jesus Christ. All His disciples abandoned Him, and the government put Him, an innocent man, to death. He not only did not complain, He accepted God's will, and before He died, He forgave them all."

There are other examples: Job says, "The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away" (Job 1:21). God took away seven sons and three daughters, as well as his wealth and home. As a young boy, Samuel delivered God's judgments on Eli's two sons. That surely must have stung the old priest, but Eli responded, "Let [the LORD] do what seems good to Him" (I Samuel 3:18). Aaron accepted God's verdict of death on his two sons without a murmur (Leviticus 10:3).

John W. Ritenbaugh
Fully Accepting God's Sovereignty, Part Three: The Fruits


 

Ephesians 5:20  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

For some, this is difficult, and indeed, we all often stumble over it. We can be very gracious to God when things go well. Perhaps, after returning safely from a trip, we are quick to thank God for our successful arrival, as if He were personally responsible for the operations of all who worked to get us home. Suppose, however, that the trip was not so successful. Maybe we were involved in an accident and injured or delayed so that we were late for a meeting, costing a large sale or the loss of a client? Or maybe lightning struck the house, an earthquake damaged it, or a burglar broke in and stole valuables?

Do we see God's hand in these circumstances as well? Is God involved only in the "good" things of life? For example, did Job bemoan his "bad luck" or murmur against God? He bowed before Him, even managing to bless Him (Job 1:13-22)! Is this just fatalistic acquiescence or blind credulity? No, in people who live by faith, it is neither of these because real faith always rejoices in the Lord, knowing He is involved in all aspects of life.

Paul's exhortation to the Philippian church (Philippians 4:4) is nothing short of a call to faith of those undergoing some sort of heavy trial. If a Christian believes that his life and all its circumstances are in the hands of the sovereign, wise, and loving God who is always working for his good, then he can truly rejoice always.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Sovereignty and Its Fruit: Part Ten


 

Jude 1:15-19  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Verse 15 emphasizes ungodliness. These false ministers are the total opposite of what God is, and if we know what God is—what godliness is—then we can identify and avoid them.

Jude then gives four more descriptors to help us identify false teachers: 1) They are discontented murmurers and complainers. They always have something to gripe about. Discontent with their lot in life, they find fault with everything. Nothing is ever right for them. 2) They live to satisfy their every desire, a trait Jude has already explained thoroughly. 3) They speak bombastic bragging words, and 4) they are respecters of persons, if it will benefit them. They will do anything to get ahead.

In verse 17, we were warned that such people will enter the church and try to ruin it, so we have no excuse. They are here already, and we need to make sure they do not stay here by keeping an eye out for them and giving no quarter to them when they begin their ungodly work.

Jude then gives three final descriptions of them in verse 19. He calls them 1) "sensual" or worldly. They are based totally in this world, in the realm of the five senses. They have no connection to the heavenly. 2) They "cause divisions," meaning when they appear, the congregation begins taking sides. 3) He ends his description with the opposite of his description of true church members in verse 1: False teachers do not have God's Spirit. They are not of us. They may be among us, but they are not God's spiritual children (Romans 8:9-17). We can see from their fruits that the spirit they have is not God's.

With these descriptions of false teachers, we can be more confident in testing the spirits (I John 3:24-4:6).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Jude


 

Find more Bible verses about Murmuring:
Murmuring {Nave's}
Murmuring {Torrey's}
 




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