From the Pastor’s Desk  
Tabernacle Murmuring Lesson 21
Manchaca Bible Fellowship
3 March 2002 Bible Lessons
Operation Outreach
Murmuring = (Greek) The low constant sound of a running brook; The cooing of doves; The contented sounds of a baby; To grumble in low tones (as the cooing of doves) to oneself or secretly to others; To confer together in a secretive manner about matters of discontent; A secret debate in quarrelsome discontent.
Please keep in mind that there is a difference 
muttering and murmuring.

Every occurrence of "murmuring" or its derivatives found, in the Bible, is used in a negative sense. Not only does the Holy Spirit use it in a negative sense, it is presented as down right unacceptable to God.

Just a few examples...

Numbers 17:5 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARE"And it shall be that the rod of the man whom I choose will blossom; thus I (God) will rid Myself of the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against you."

God considers murmurings as something very unpleasant, totally unacceptable and something of which He will rid Himself. That should tell us something about the quality of the sin, AND it should spur us on to eliminate murmuring from our own lives, and our church.

Psalms 106:24 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREThen they (Israel) despised the pleasant land; They did not believe His word, 25 But murmured in their tents, And did not heed the voice of the LORD. 26 Therefore He (God) lifted up His hand in an oath against them, To overthrow them in the wilderness, 27 To overthrow their descendants among the nations, And to scatter them in the lands.

Notice some of the results of murmuring. Because Israel was in a state of murmuring:

  1. They despised God's provision -- the land.
  2. They did not believe God's Word.
  3. They did not heed God's voice.

Because Israel was in a state of murmuring, and would not repent of it:

  1. God set Himself against them.
  2. God would overthrow them.
  3. God would overthrow their descendants.

Once again, we see the gravity of this most common action of Believers. Notice the effect on the descendants of these murmurers in the wilderness. We will see this result even more graphically brought out in the next lesson.

Jude 1:16 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREThese are murmurers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. 17 But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: 18 how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. 19 These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.
Complainers = (Greek) Blaming others and fate (God); Quarrelsome; Discontented.
Lusts = (Greek) A consuming passion for what they do not have or is forbidden; The activities and desires resulting from the diseased condition of the soul.
Great swelling words = (Greek) Bulging over; Over-inflated; Insolent; Expressive arrogance.
Flattering = (Greek & context) Excessive and over inflated compliments and/or kind deeds given in order to gain the allegiance of the one flattered. The purpose of this allegiance is for a personal agenda, usually to cause division, so the flatterer can have more control or acclaim.
Cause divisions = (Greek only used once) To separate from the boundary; Disjoin, so as to form another party or alliance.
Mockers = (Greek) Deriders; To teach by means of jeering; To play like children to get ones own way.

Jude is speaking about murmurers of an earlier time, the time of Enoch. Please forgive the hurried look at this portion. Its truths need extensive comparative study.

For this lesson, we need to see some of the basic elements of Biblical murmuring, and the results on the murmurer and others. In these lessons, when we refer to murmuring, it is not a reference to an honest complaint brought to the right source for the best possible resolution. We are talking about conditions and actions, whether deliberate or unknowingly, that are designed to weaken a present order with the intent of establishing another order for personal benefit.

A murmurer very seldom wants a 
proper solution! 
Murmurers most generally want their 
"own way" 
with distinct disregard for the benefit or harm to others.

Jude gives us some real insights into the sin of murmuring:

  1. Murmurers are complainers who blame God, others and fate for their own self-caused discontent.
  2. Murmurers attempt to establish conditions allowing them to live by their own consuming passion in personal comfort, and in an unhindered manner without regard to the proper established order.
  3. Murmurers are often those who speak well of someone and do nice things, BUT not for the sake of the well being of the person, BUT to establish their own agenda so as to have personal control and acclaim.
  4. Murmurers often use over-inflated descriptions, aggressive speech in order to intimidate, and present themselves as the "number one" authority."
  5. Murmurers "disjoin" others from an established alliance, so as to bring the person within the boundaries of their personal alliance.
  6. Murmurers use the childish methods of deriding and jeering other people or programs without honest facts or solutions regarding the so called problem.

As we can see, the chronic murmurer has some very distinct characteristics. Let me tell you, after about 50 years in this business, it doesn't take much to spot a murmurer.

There are some murmurers who simply dabble in this sin of murmuring, just for the fun of it, I guess!?! Then there are those who are dead serious about this business of murmuring, and it is almost a life and death matter. We have both in the Church Universal -- and yes, we have both at MBF.

Proverbs 6:16 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREThese six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.

Keeping in mind Jude's description of a murmurer, let's take a fresh look at this passage in Proverbs.

Think for a moment about the last or seventh item mentioned in this list of things that God hates, and are an abomination to Him. To "sow discord" among the brethren (which is the purpose of murmuring), the sower of discord uses the other six to accomplish the purpose of discord.

It might help to think of the last item, the sowing of discord, as a "seed pod". Within that "seed pod" is:
(a) A proud look

(b) A lying tongue

(c) The destruction of innocent people

(d) One who is always making wicked plans

(e) One who will move quickly to any evil or problem

(f) One who freely makes false statements

Those are the elements of Biblical murmuring, and those are the elements of sowing discord..,

those are things that God  
We are not talking about a 
Biblical misdemeanor.  
We are talking about a 
Spiritual felony!

Let's do a quick review, and then continue on with our God given example. Quite often, the chronic murmurer will have the exterior look of a very spiritual person. These murmurers do religious things, act in religious ways and speak religious phrases, so as to possibly:

  1. Compensate for the dark cloud of murmuring within their own lives.
  2. Hide the reality of such a sin from the view of others.
  3. Gain a following for their cause, using murmuring as a factor in a campaign to achieve personal goals or revenge.

I have summarized many of the "causes" of murmuring, and have designated three of the main causes as:

  1. Selfish discontent.
  2. Absence of true thankfulness.
  3. The absence of Biblical truths, and the application of those truths in every situation.

You remember the story that constitutes this Biblical example. God brought the plagues on Egypt. The final plague, the Passover convinced Pharaoh and all of Egypt to let Israel go.

God deliberately directed Israel to take the "long way around" to get out of Egypt. We need to see several facts, so that the import of their murmuring and the results can be clearly seen. Notice, over and over again in this passage, it states that their location and their conditions were at the directions of God.

  1. "God did not lead by the way of the land of the Philistines."
  2. "So God led the people around by the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea."
  3. "And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light.."
  4. "Now the Lord spoke to Moses.."
  5. All of these events happened by the word and will of God!

Don't forget the summary of the causes of murmuring:

  1. Selfish discontent.
  2. Absence of true thankfulness.
  3. The absence of God's truths, and the application of those truths in every situation.

All three of these causes were evident in the lives of the Israelites, as they stood with the Red Sea in front of them and the Egyptian army coming upon them from the rear.

Their only concern was and always had been their OWN comfort, never the completion of God's plan or the glorification of God's person.

Never once did they show or declare their true thankfulness to God for His deliverance from Egypt.

They were, however, quick to BLAME Moses for all the difficult things that accompanied freedom.

By the way,  ANY freedom has its cost!

There was a total lack of God's Word and the application of that Word in their thoughts and actions. God directed their journey. God led them in a particular path. God went before them by day and by night showing them the way. They had the evidence of the Word of God, they had the clear direction of God's leading, etc. Therefore, you would think that ANY Believer would be content with God's provision in such a situation, and would be praising God instead of murmuring.

too many 
of us have only to look in the 
to see someone who acts and responds in the 
manner as these Israelites.
Exodus 14:11 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREThen they said to Moses, "Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? 12 "Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, 'Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians?' For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness."

Oh, yes!!! There it is again...

  1. Selfish discontent.
  2. Absence of true thankfulness.
  3. The absence of God's truths, and the application of those truths in every situation.

Isn't it amazing!! When I am possessed with me, myself and mine.., I can lie, twist the truth and blame everything and everyone for my unpleasant circumstances. However, we so often forget to thank God for what He has provided, fail to trust Him or allow Him to use what He has provided for His glory.

Exodus 14:13 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREAnd Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 "The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace."
Exodus 14:19 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREAnd the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. 20 So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night. 21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. 23 And the Egyptians pursued and went after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. 24 Now it came to pass, in the morning watch, that the LORD looked down upon the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud, and He troubled the army of the Egyptians. 25 And He took off their chariot wheels, so that they drove them with difficulty; and the Egyptians said, "Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the LORD fights for them against the Egyptians." 26 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the waters may come back upon the Egyptians, on their chariots, and on their horsemen." 27 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and when the morning appeared, the sea returned to its full depth, while the Egyptians were fleeing into it. So the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. 28 Then the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen, and all the army of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. Not so much as one of them remained. 29 But the children of Israel had walked on dry land in the midst of the sea, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

WOW !!!!

Let me tell you! When they gave the "altar-call" at the close of that service, everyone came to the front for re-dedication! Look at Exodus 14:30-31 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARE

Exodus 14:30 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARESo the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31 Thus Israel saw the great work which the LORD had done in Egypt; so the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD and His servant Moses.

There was a revival that day! The people saw the world for what it was - dead, and they saw that God was working, and had worked even in Egypt. We want to come back to that phrase in just a little while. For a time, Israel gave God proper respect.., and believed God and His servant Moses. By the way both will happen when true revival comes. There will be proper respect for God and for the true servants of God.

Look at another fact found in v. 31.  
It was not 
this time that the Israelites 
really saw 
what God had done in Egypt, so they could be free.

While in Egypt, they were so self-centered that they didn't really see the hand of God at work in the plagues and their rescue from Egypt. They were blaming Moses for the discomfort involved in their deliverance from slavery, instead of praising God for His work. BUT that is a subject for another time.

For a short time, Israel's murmurings ceased, as they turned their attention away from their selfish desires to praising God for His wonderful provision and person. In Exodus 15 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARE, we have a wonderful praise service on the banks of the Red Sea.

I mean to tell you, that praise service would satisfy even the newest of the New Evangelicals. There were dead bodies, there was singing, there was hand raising, there was hand waving, there was hand clapping, there was foot stomping and there was dancing in the aisles. It was a great service! Everyone left that service saying, "Boy! I feel good. The spirit was really in that service!"

Now you would think that a service like that, and the participation of the people in all those wonderful activities would set a Spiritual tone that would have changed the nation, and evangelized the world.

If a service like the Red Sea experience  
bring revival and world wide evangelism,  
What kind of a service will??!!?

Experiences only produce change for as along as the circumstances remain favorable to that change. Experiences, in and of themselves, can produce nothing but an experience.

Exodus 15:22 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARESo Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23 Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah. 24 And the people murmured against Moses, saying, "What shall we drink?"

Three days later..., and the Israelites were back in their same carnal "rut". They had experienced that wonderful praise service with hand waving, dancing and all that good stuff -- and such a good spirit. BUT they couldn't even make it through the Wednesday night prayer service before they were just as carnal as they were before the Red Sea opened for them, three days earlier.

Sounds a lot like modern day New Age Evangelism. God's grace is so wonderful! It was wonderful back the in the wilderness, it was wonderful on the Cross, it was wonderful in the early church and it is still wonderful in this modern wilderness of Austin.

God sweetened the waters for them, and made a great offer to them, at the same time. I'm sure you've noticed. Many of God's great promises came in the midst of mankind's worst sinning sprees.

Exodus 15:24 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREAnd the people murmured against Moses, saying, "What shall we drink?" 25 So he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree; and when he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet. There He made a statute and an ordinance for them. And there He tested them, 26 and said, "If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you." 27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees; so they camped there by the waters.

I'm sorry, but I can't go by this without "venting" just a little. For as long as I can remember, there has been a doctrine of the demons that keeps popping up in the Bible believing churches, AND the so called Bible believing Christian run after this doctrine of the Devil with great fervor. About every 5 to 10 years or so, a new book is released, and sometimes it is the same book with a new cover

The essence of this demonic doctrine is that if you will eat and live like the Israelites in the Wilderness, then you will not have any diseases, and you will be healthy.

I don't have the time, nor will I dignify those writings by answering them line by line. I don't know, I guess I'm just getting old and grouchy, BUT I don't have much patience with these stupid presentations, or the equally stupid Christians that run pell-mell after them, and yes, I do mean stupid. Worst of all, it is a deliberate perversion of the precious Word of God.

(They tell me it's not nice to call something or someone stupid. Well, when they are, and there is no other English word to describe their condition and actions, I don't know what a person's suppose to do. I guess this is the time to speak in tongues, or at least use "code" words.)

This offer of God, to protect them from these diseases, had nothing to do with the Law and the things they could or couldn't eat under the Law. THE LAW WASN'T EVEN GIVEN YET. This has nothing to do with eating habits, the way they dress, or even speaking in "Old King James"!!!!!!

This was a contract made with the nation of Israel, not the individual Israelites, and certainly not New Testament Believers. It has to do with only those diseases that God BROUGHT on the Egyptians. Look at the last part of vs 26.

This was a Spiritual exercise that has nothing to do with what or how you eat. Look at vs 26, again. This promise had to do with:

  1. Diligently heeding the voice of God
  2. Doing what was right in God's sight
  3. Listening carefully with the intent of following God's commandments

WHERE in the world is the "food" that these Biblical "crack-pots" say we should eat to rid ourselves of disease???? Similar promises were made by God, to the nation of Israel, later in their history, also.

WHY, are we so willing to leave the clear teaching of the Word of God, and follow an absolute lie of some person, who has twisted the Scripture for personal gain????

Well, that had nothing to do with the lesson of today, BUT I sure feel better. AND I hope you will be very careful. Go back to Scripture, and make sure that what you are following is truly Scripture. If you want to eat and live like the Israelites in the wilderness, that's fine, BUT you will have to find out how to make Manna.

These perversions of Scripture just keep coming off the press, because Christians will buy and follow almost anything (EXCEPT the Bible) that tells them what to do. They have even come out with "The Prayer of Jabez for Women". I don't know. Maybe they think Jabez had a life changing operation, or something.

No! The real reason is money. They want more, and they know that the Christian herd is ready to spend it. We really ought to heed God's offer. Christ said that if anyone thirst, they should come to Him and drink without cost.

We'll come back to our example in the next lesson. For now, please remember that God's grace is great. Israel murmured, and murmured and murmured. Yet, over and over again, God forgave them, picked them up and put them back on the right path

I'm sure that many of you have experienced God's grace again and again, many times over. BUT God's patience will not endure forever. We need to remember our example...

Psalms 103:7 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREHe made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel. 8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. 9 He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. 10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Hebrews 10:26 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREFor if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, says the Lord." And again, "The Lord will judge His people." 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
© Clyde White, Austin TX, 2002