Steve Ellison: Murmuring

Friday, October 20, 2017 - by Steve Ellison

The great theme of the book of Numbers is my unfaithfulness against the backdrop of God’s great unchanging, unfailing faithfulness.  I can be expected to be self-willed, unbelieving, even rebellious.  God can be expected to be always faithfully providing, loving, leading, disciplining, and chastising. The book of Numbers identifies many sins of mine and the children of Israel.  It seems that one sin is highlighted: murmuring.

  Murmuring would include grumbling, complaining, griping, ungratefulness, etc. It seems that the book of Numbers mentions at least nine episodes of murmuring in the Wilderness. The children of Israel murmured and complained against a wide variety of things. The people murmured against circumstances and against their leaders.  The leaders murmured against the people. God condemned every instance of it. The Bible is very plain in Numbers 11:1, “Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord; and when the Lord heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.” (NASU)

 

What is so bad about murmuring? God first brought up the topic in Exodus 16:7-8, “In the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, for He hears your grumblings against the Lord; and what are we, that you grumble against us?"  Moses said, "This will happen when the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening, and bread to the full in the morning; for the Lord hears your grumblings which you grumble against Him. And what are we? Your grumblings are not against us but against the Lord.” (NASU) It seems that because we serve a sovereign God, all grumbling and complaining is in the final analysis against God Himself.  If we consider that nothing is outside the reach of God, we will conclude that every complaint is a denial of His sovereignty. I must admit this truth is much easier understood in theory than in reality.

 

What if all Christians never complained again? What if I never complained again? Conflict would be in great decline. Peace and joy and happiness would be in much greater supply. Surely there are times when wrongs need to be righted. Certainly, there is a proper way to register legitimate complaints.  However, we are prone to murmur in the background, delivering personal attacks against people instead of reasonably discussing needed changes in policy or methods.  I imagine that we could all agree that we are inclined to approach these situations in a negative spirit, with a sour attitude.  The fact that this is such a difficult thing to control provides Christians with a tremendous opportunity. This is hard teaching that cuts across the grain of the sinful heart of man. It is a great testimony when God’s people accept what comes to them in a spirit of thankfulness, recognizing the sovereignty of God.  Surely God has not decreed explicitly all the things that have happened to me, but He has at least permitted them.

 

What is the cure for murmuring?  As fallen human beings we seem to think that changing the object of the complaint is the answer but it is not.  If I complain about bad food, substituting good food will not cure my problem.  Bad food is not the problem; thinking I deserve something better than I have received is the problem. It is a matter of the heart. Looking to Jesus, considering what He received in my place, is the cure. As the hymn writer has rightly observed, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus and the things of earth will grow strangely dim.”  One glimpse of His dear face should stop my murmuring.


"Ramp It Up" Is Sermon Topic At Metro Tab Church On Sunday

Dr. Steve Ball, senior pastor, will discuss the topic "Ramp It Up" at Metropolitan Tabernacle Church on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. The Music Ministry is led by Rob Alley and Metro Praise. The Children's Pastor Olivia Aziz and staff will host kids in the Metro Kidz Church. The church is at 2101 West Shepherd Road. You can also view live on Facebook or at  www.metrotab.net ... (click for more)

Mitch McClure To Speak On "Go: We've Got To Get Out Of This Place" On Sunday

Middle Valley Church of God at 1703 Thrasher Pike in Hixson, announced that Pastor Mitch McClure will speak on the topic, "Go: We've Got To Get Out Of This Place" in the 10:30 a.m. service on Sunday.  Pastor Mitch McClure will lead the congregation in a time of worship, and prayer on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. Each Sunday at 9:30 a.m. Sunday school classes are available for all ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Police Investigating Shooting That Victim Says Happened A Week Ago

Chattanooga Police responded to a local hospital on Friday evening after a person arrived with a gunshot wound.   The injured man told police he was shot on Thursday, Oct. 11. He said he was shot while on the dance floor of a club somewhere along Brainerd Road.   If you have any information about the incident, call Chattanooga Police at 423-698-2525. You ... (click for more)

Charles Pipkens, Lajeromeney Brown Arrested In Series Of Violent Home Invasions In Which Robbers Posed As Police

Chattanooga Police have arrested Charles Dijon Pipkens and Lajeromeney Brown in connection with a series of violent home invasions in which the suspects told their victims they were Chattanooga Police officers.. Pipkens, 27, was charged in an Aug. 11 case and Brown, 40, in an incident on Sept. 19. Pipkens, of 434 N. Hickory St., is charged with two counts of aggravated kidnapping, ... (click for more)

Teach For America Raises Concerns

For the last several years, many groups, individuals and parties interested in preserving public education for our children have stood firm as a rampantly growing privatization movement has descended upon our local educational landscape.  We saw last year the Department of Education push a plan that would form a partnership zone which could potentially lead to schools in the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Inequality & The Left

The story is told about a liberal politician who was getting a room full of snowflakes all heated up over equity and equality, which is big with the political Left right now. One of his handlers finally got the chance and whispered in his ear, “Use ‘fairness’ instead! That’s what sells … “ Afterwards a newspaper column read, “The liberals love fairness because it cannot be measured. ... (click for more)