BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
John 6:41 says, “The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven” (KJV). The Greek word translated “murmured” in that verse is gogguzo (pronounced gong-good’-zo) which also means to grumble. To murmur also means to grumble. Moreover, in verse 43, Jesus told the Jews to stop murmuring and went further to explain more on the subject that He was the Bread of Life but the people didn’t stop their murmuring. “The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, how can this man give us his flesh to eat?” (Verse 52 KJV). Despite this, Jesus did not renounce his claim.
Many times we murmur over what we’re going through but don’t understand. The people were grumbling over what Jesus said because they tried to reason (with their brain) but couldn’t understand. What Jesus was saying didn’t make sense to them. “And they said, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?’” (Verse 42 KJV). It didn’t make sense and it would never make sense to them as long as they kept reasoning it out. What God expected them to do was simply to have faith in his Son – not to reason him out. “Then said they unto him, ‘What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent’” (verses 28-29 KJV).
In your journey in life as a child of God, God expects you to have faith in Him. Have faith in God no matter what you’re going through. Don’t grumble or stop grumbling if you’ve been grumbling all this while – grumbling about that negative condition you’re in, that job you’ve not secured, that exam you’ve not passed, that promotion you’ve being denied, etc. Stop murmuring!
You may not know why the situation hasn’t changed despite all your prayers – stop murmuring. Have faith in God that God has your best interest in mind and will work all things together for your good (Romans 8:28). When God is through with you, you’ll see why you shouldn’t have murmured when it appeared God was against you. God was never and is not against you.
Israelites and their habitual murmuring
The children of Israel were always murmuring each time they found themselves in a negative situation on their way from Egypt to Canaan but God was always faithful. He never failed them once. They didn’t have to murmur once because God knew why He allowed them to go through all they went through and He had provision already made for every need they would have. You had better realize this too – no need, situation, or condition of yours will ever catch God unawares. He knows the end from the beginning. “Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure’” (Isaiah 46:9-10 NKJV). Therefore, it makes much sense to have faith in Him rather than grumbling.
Let me show you an instance in the life of children of Israel when they engaged in needless grumbling. “So 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. 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. And the people complained against Moses, saying, ‘What shall we drink?’ So he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree. 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, 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.’ Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees; so they camped there by the waters” (Exodus 15:22-27 NKJV).
For three days in the wilderness, they went without water to drink. That was a painful experience. After three days of no water, they came to a situation of bad water – Marah, bitter water. That was certainly not what they expected after three long days of no water. Therefore, they started murmuring. It may appear justifiable but not justifiable considering God’s past interventions on their behalf. They should have expressed their faith in God who had parted the Red Sea to deliver them from Pharaoh and his army (Exodus 14:24-31).
Moses cried to the Lord concerning the water of Marah and God healed the water for the people to drink. You don’t have to murmur when you have God; only those who don’t know God murmur. Those who know God put their faith in Him even when they can’t explain why they’re going through what they’re going through.
Did you know that God allowed the children of Israel to go through this experience of no water and bitter water just to prove them – test them? Exodus 15:25 says, “So he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree. 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” (NKJV). But they failed God’s test because they murmured. Your current negative experience may be a test, so don’t murmur.
From no water, the children of Israel moved to a place of bitter water which was healed for them to drink. They must have been very happy. What a relief! But they didn’t know something better was ahead. “Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees; so they camped there by the waters” (Exodus 15:27 NKJV). If they liked, each tribe could have a well since there were 12 wells of water! They could go ahead to share the 70 palm trees among the 12 tribes to sit under for shade and refreshment!
What does this mean? God gave them more than enough of what they were grumbling about. Stop grumbling child of God. Have faith in God. He’ll give you in abundance what you currently lack which is the reason you’re grumbling. By the time God finishes with you, you’ll repent that you ever grumbled. So before this happens, stop grumbling.
In Genesis 15, Abraham was so worried that he would die without a son, and Eliezer of Damascus, his most trusted servant, would inherit all the wealth he had but God had a different plan. Abraham wanted a son but God’s plan for him was to give him descendants as many as the stars in the sky and as many as sand on the sea shore (Genesis 15:5, 22:16-18). God fulfilled the promise he made to Abraham in this regard. God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us (Ephesians 3:20). There is no need to be worried or to murmur.
Did you read what Hannah said in her prayer after God changed her status from a barren woman to a joyful mother? “Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, and the hungry have ceased to hunger. Even the barren has borne seven, and she who has many children has become feeble” (1 Samuel 2:5 NKJV).
No wonder Isaiah 54:1 says, “Sing, O barren, you who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you who have not labored with child! For more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married woman,’ says the LORD” (NKJV). Stop murmuring!
Israelites’ murmuring over food
The children of Israel murmured over anything possible. They murmured for food and God gave them manna (Exodus 16:2-7, 11-12). But the children of Israel later despised the manna provided by God and craved for meat. Quite ungrateful set of people! The Bible says, “Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: ‘Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!’” (Numbers 11:4-6 NKJV).
God responded to Moses’ cry and gave them meat but with negative consequences. “Then you shall say to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the hearing of the LORD, saying, ‘Who will give us meat to eat? For it was well with us in Egypt.’ Therefore the LORD will give you meat, and you shall eat. You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, but for a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have despised the LORD who is among you, and have wept before Him, saying, ‘Why did we ever come up out of Egypt?’” (Verses 18-21 NKJV). Moses couldn’t believe it but God did it.
“And the people stayed up all that day, all night, and all the next day, and gathered the quail (he who gathered least gathered ten homers); and they spread them out for themselves all around the camp. But while the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was aroused against the people, and the LORD struck the people with a very great plague. So he called the name of that place Kibroth Hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had yielded to craving” (verses 32-34 NKJV).
Murmuring over water
Trust the Israelites, as if they had forgotten God’s provision of water for them in the past, they murmured again over water at the wilderness of Zin. “Then all the congregation of the children of Israel set out on their journey from the Wilderness of Sin, according to the commandment of the LORD, and camped in Rephidim; but there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people contended with Moses, and said, ‘Give us water, that we may drink.’ So Moses said to them, ‘Why do you contend with me? Why do you tempt the LORD?’ And the people thirsted there for water, and the people complained against Moses, and said, ‘Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?’” (Exodus 17:1-3 NKJV).
Moses cried unto the Lord and he miraculously gave them water out of the rock. “So Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, ‘What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me!’ And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. Also take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.’ And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. So he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the contention of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, ‘Is the LORD among us or not?’” (Verses 4-7 NKJV). Did you notice what the Bible calls tempting or testing the Lord in that scripture? (Verse 7). It was their murmuring – their asking, “Is the LORD going to take care of us or not?” (NLT). Whenever you murmur doubting God rather than putting your faith in Him, you’re tempting or testing the Lord.
They murmured again over water in Numbers 20:1-13. On this occasion, the Israelites provoked Moses by their recurring murmuring over everything. He did what God didn’t ask him to do. God didn’t ask him to strike the rock to give them water. He asked him to speak to the rock because he had already beaten the rock earlier to give them water. Angered by their attitude, Moses also called them rebels and acted as if he was the one bringing water for them out of this rock. He wasn’t the one bringing out water; it was God. God was only using him.
In the first instance when God used Moses to bring out water from the rock to give the Israelites water to drink, following their murmuring, it was God who asked him to beat the rock, as we saw earlier in Exodus 17:5-7.
The place where water came out on the first occasion was called Massah and Meribah and the water that came out of the rock the second time was called the water of Meribah. These are two separate events. The first one happened early in their journey and the second late in their journey. The two events bear Meribah because of the same attitude that the Israelites exhibited. With regard to water that came out of the rock the first time, Exodus 17:7says the place was called Massah and Meribah “because they tempted the Lord saying ‘Is the Lord among us or not?’”
Numbers 20:13 tells us about the second incident at Meribah: “This was the water of Meribah, because the children of Israel contended with the LORD, and He was hallowed among them” (NKJV). For the children of Israel, it was a case of old habits die hard. It was complaints from the start of their journey from Egypt to the end.
As I’ve said, the children of Israel were habitual, irredeemable grumblers who murmured over anything. When the ten spies brought their evil report that the giants were in the land of Canaan and Israelites wouldn’t be able to stand before them, they thought they had a justifiable reason to murmur again. “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? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?’ So they said to one another, ‘Let us select a leader and return to Egypt’” (Numbers 14:2-4 NKJV).
But they didn’t need to do that. All they needed to do was to have faith in God so that it would be unto them according to His word that He would give the land to them (Genesis 12:7, 15:18, 24:7, 48:4; Exodus 32:13). That was what Joshua and Caleb believed which made them stand out (Numbers 14:6-9). However, the murmurers would not listen to them choosing rather to stone them (verse 10).
God hates murmuring; He can’t put up with continual, habitual murmuring. Murmuring annoys God. “And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me” (Numbers 14:26-27 KJV).
Stop murmuring so that God will not judge you as He judged the murmuring Israelites. God pronounced a death sentence on all the Israelites from twenty years above who came out of Egypt excluding Caleb and Joshua. Only their children were spared to enter the Promised Land after wandering in the wilderness for forty years while they perished in the wilderness (Numbers 14:28-38).
Murmuring against Moses
Murmuring is a bad spirit – you must cast it out of you. It’s a stubborn spirit. That’s why it had a stronghold on the Israelites. Would you have believed they would ever murmur again after God’s judgment that the old generation of Israelites would perish in the wilderness and their children would wander in the wilderness for forty years?
Korah, Dathan and Abiram and their collaborators murmured against Moses and Aaron. “Now Korah the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men; and they rose up before Moses with some of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty leaders of the congregation, representatives of the congregation, men of renown. They gathered together against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, ‘You take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?’” (Numbers 16:1-3 NKJV). Moses couldn’t believe such murmuring would be happening. He was unhappy (verses 4-11). God judged this murmuring. He did a new thing just as Moses, his servant, had prayed (Numbers 16:28-35). The earth swallowed all those who murmured and fire consumed their collaborators – 250 that offered incense. God hates murmuring and will judge it.
Again, did the Israelites learn anything? Did they murmur again? Yes, they did. Following the death of those who murmured, all the congregation of Israelites murmured against Moses and Aaron accusing them of killing “the people of the Lord.” God was angry with them and again judged them with a plague that killed 14,700 people and would have killed much more if Aaron as commanded by Moses had not put on incense and made atonement for the people (Numbers 16:50).
In Numbers 17, God determined to put an end to the murmuring of the children by causing the rod of Aaron to bud among that of the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel. (Numbers 17:1-10) Please, take note of verse 10: “And the LORD said unto Moses, Bring Aaron’s rod again before the testimony, to be kept for a token against the rebels; and thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from me, that they die not” (KJV). Did you see that last part of that verse? What it means is that God allowed the rod of Aaron to bud to put an end to the murmurings against Moses and Aaron so that those murmuring might not die. Murmuring kills especially murmuring against the Lord’s anointed, against what God is doing or says (or has said). Murmuring can cause death. Don’t position yourself against God; don’t open your life to plague. Stop murmuring!
Stop murmuring; have faith in God
Murmuring is a proof that you lack faith in God. One who has faith in God knows that God can turn around the worst condition in his favour. “When the LORD restored his exiles to Jerusalem, it was like a dream! We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, ‘What amazing things the LORD has done for them.’ Yes, the LORD has done amazing things for us! What joy!” (Psalm 126:1-3 NLT). Did you see that? What a joy! That shall be your testimony in Jesus’ name. All you’ve lost shall be restored to you in Jesus’ name. You don’t need to murmur – only believe.
If you can remember his various interventions in your life in the past, you won’t murmur over whatever experience you’re having now or how people are maltreating or mistreating you. But if you forget God’s deeds in your life, you’ll fall into the temptation of murmuring. That was the problem of the children of Israel. “They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt; Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea. Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them. Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word: But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the LORD. Therefore he lifted up his hand against them, to overthrow them in the wilderness: To overthrow their seed also among the nations, and to scatter them in the lands” (Psalm 106:21-27 KJV).
1 Corinthians 10:10 says, “Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer” (KJV). Murmuring will destroy you – stop it. That’s why the Bible says, “Do all things without murmurings and disputing” (KJV). Stop murmuring! Put your faith in God and in all situations give thanks unto Him (1Thessalonians 5:18). With thanksgiving, let your requests be made unto Him – not with murmuring (Philippians 4:6). No matter what you’re going through refuse to murmur, grumble or complain. Habakkuk 3:17-18 says, “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls — Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (NKJV). Stop murmuring!
If you’re not born again, I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing, Bible -teaching church. There, they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent and confess my sins. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I’ll be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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