“There is, however, a far more common ailment among us—and that is pride from the bottom looking up. It is manifest in so many ways, such as fault finding, gossiping, backbiting, and murmuring, living beyond our means, envying, coveting, withholding gratitude and praise that might lift another, and being unforgiving and jealous.” ― Ezra Taft Benson
What have you complained about in the last 24 hours? Has God heard your complaints, and do you think he would be pleased by your exact sentiments? Do you know that God hates murmuring and complaints, and Israelites were killed for it Philippians 2 14 Do everything without murmuring or questioning [the providence of God], 15 so that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish in the midst of a [morally] crooked and [spiritually] perverted generation, among whom you are seen as bright lights [beacons shining out clearly] in the world [of darkness], 16 holding out and offering to everyone the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to rejoice greatly because I did not run [my race] in vain nor labor without result.
A good outright example is found in Numbers 12: Miriam and Aaron are having a private conversation where they speak against Moses and the Lord hears them.
Now [a]Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the [b]Cushite woman whom he had married (for he had married a Cushite woman); 2 and they said, “Has the Lord really spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken also through us?” And the Lord heard it.
Our first encounter with Miriam Moses’s eldest sister is during his infancy Exodus 2 …Then she put the child in it and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile. 4And his sister [Miriam] stood some distance away to find out what would happen to him… And she took pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.” 7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call a [c]wet-nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” 8 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go ahead.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. She stands out as smart, brave and a courageous girl. Her character plays a crucial role in preserving baby Moses’s life. Later her and Aaron help Moses (the chosen burden bearer) to guide the Israelites out of bondage [Egypt]. Miriam is also noted through scripture to be a prophetess and worship leader Exodus 15:20 Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron [and Moses], took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her with timbrels and dancing
However, Numbers 12 presents a different scene, all along the siblings seem to be working as a team. But we see an open complaint, a murmur from Miriam and Aaron against Moses. God who hears everything, has heard them. Judgement is called 4 Suddenly the Lord said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the Tent of Meeting (tabernacle).” And the three of them came out. And penalty pronounced. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Miriam and Aaron, and He departed. 10 But when the cloud had withdrawn from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, as white as snow. And Aaron turned and looked at Miriam, and behold, she was leprous.
On seeing the state of their sister, Aaron as the priest (escaped punishment due to the authority of the office he held) intercedes on her behalf to Moses.[ Exodus 28:3 Tell all the skilled and talented people whom I have endowed with a spirit of wisdom, that they are to make Aaron’s garments to sanctify him and set him apart to serve as a priest for Me]. In return Moses petitions the Lord to heal her, God rich in mercy heeds to his request and grants however, she has to suffer the consequence 14 But the Lord said to Moses, “If her father had but [d]spit in her face, would she not bear her shame for seven days? Let her be shut up outside the camp for seven days, and afterward she may return.15 So Miriam was shut up outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on until Miriam was brought in again [and declared ceremonially clean from her leprosy].
Miriam’s open rebellion towards Moses by suggesting that he was unequivocally tainted by having a Cushite wife and therefore not worthy or was their equal in the office of God. She presumed herself and Aaron to be equally righteous to Moses, yet God rebukes this perception by explain the difference in their calling. “Being such a supreme prophet, standing head and shoulders above others, he was not to be judged by the same yardstick and the same parameters as any other individual—even another prophet as great as Miriam or Aaron.”
And He said,
“Hear now My words:
If there is a prophet among you,
I the Lord will make Myself known to him in a vision
And I will speak to him in a dream.
“But it is not so with My servant Moses;
He is entrusted and faithful in all My house.
“With him I speak mouth to mouth [directly],
Clearly and openly and not in riddles;
And he beholds the form of the Lord.
Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?”
Now, despite what seem to be a great connection through teamwork (siblings called for a great purpose Micah 6:4 And I sent before you Moses [to lead you], Aaron [the high priest], and Miriam [the prophetess].). A big sister with loving, caring and leadership qualities “Miriam’s life was a determined objective of increasing family unity and harmony”. Her critical spirit stands out in her words of gossip and slander. She had witnessed the hand of God and his mighty works through Moses first hand from the time he was a baby, out of Egypt to their point of wilderness. Yet one moment of misgiving she and Aaron makes a statement of pride which seem rather to question God’s instrument of choice. “Why was she punished so severely? To teach us that God does not dispense one-size-fits-all justice. Every individual is judged uniquely according to his or her abilities and potential.” Miriam appears to have had an attitude adjustment after the leprosy and she never questioned Moses or His authority. In fact, next we hear of her is in Numbers 20:1 Then the Israelites, the whole congregation, came into the Wilderness of Zin in the first month [in the fortieth year after leaving Egypt]. And the people lived in Kadesh. Miriam died there and was buried there.
How can we apply Miriam’s scenario in our lives as children of God; who are to establish the purposes for which He intended for us, and that we are victorious in our daily walk with Christ.
- Quit murmuring and be content.
A mouth that pours out complaints will always be drinking from a fountain of a bitter heart, hence a person who complains and murmur will never give God any glory. From a bitter heart one can develop rebellion against God without necessarily being conscious of it. Therefore, be content in you circumstance. Be it small or big victories, let your eyes be fixed on Christ and not what others have. Rejoice and count all as blessings for the trials we pass through in life build us in Christ.
Hebrews 13 5 Let your character [your moral essence, your inner nature] be free from the love of money [shun greed—be financially ethical], being content with what you have; for He has said, “I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you [assuredly not]!” 6 So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently say, “The Lord is my Helper [in time of need], I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”
Philippians 4 11 Not that I speak from [any personal] need, for I have learned to be content [and self-sufficient through Christ, satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or uneasy] regardless of my circumstances. 12 I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need. 13 I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]
- Murmuring eliminates Gratitude
A bitter heart with no contentment will never be grateful even if God was to give them all their desires. When you are ungrateful, we are bound to give poor testimonies concerning our walk with Christ. We testify of His goodness with a ‘BUT’, a hesitation within us of how He should have worked it out. Our ingratitude dwindles the LOVE, HOPE and FAITH in us and in HIM, as our focus is inherited from a perspective of it should have been ‘this way Lord’. Hence forgetting what God has done for you and eliminating trust in Him.
Jude 1 16 These people are [habitual] murmurers, griping and complaining, following after their own desires [controlled by passion]; they speak arrogantly, [pretending admiration and] flattering people to gain an advantage.
- Murmuring ruins, a reputation
When we murmur and complain, its usually directed at someone. The devil is crafty for in that moment we tend to sneak in the words that are bound to tear them down. God hates it when we slander one another as it tramps on His Word “Love thy neighbor as you Love thy self”
James 5 9 Do not complain against one another, believers, so that you will not be judged [for it]. Look! The Judge is standing [b]right at the door. 10 As an example, brothers and sisters, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord [as His messengers and representatives]. 11 You know we call those blessed [happy, spiritually prosperous, favored by God] who were steadfast and endured [difficult circumstances]. You have heard of the patient endurance of Job and you have seen the Lord’s outcome [how He richly blessed Job]. The Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.
Leviticus 19 16 You shall not go around as a gossip among your people, and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor [with slander or false testimony]; I am the Lord.
Ephesians 4 2 with all humility [forsaking self-righteousness], and gentleness [maintaining self-control], with patience, bearing with one another [a]in [unselfish] love.
- Murmuring is backed by the Spirit of pride
Where there is murmur there is a backing from the spirit of Pride, hence the fruits of it are jealousy, envy, strife and competition. Where there is pride there is no humility of the heart. And a prideful heart can not worship God. Satan is the pride in its definition therefore we are not able to fully submit to Gods ways and precepts. Why? cause we tend to exalt ourselves more than HIM.
Proverbs 16 18Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.19 It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly Than to divide the spoil with the proud (haughty, arrogant).
- Murmuring causes death
A pride full heart will automatically rebel from God. This results to spiritual death which will eventually lead to physical death because the divine presence of God has departed from them. God does not wrestle with man to be seen or heard, he is gentle and we have the choice to be in HIM or do it our way. However, note that God’s presence brings protection, provision, and peace. Therefore, choose HIM and praise HIM for HIS goodness believing that ALL things work together for the good of those who love HIM, who have been called according to HIS purpose.
1 Corinthians 10 For I do not want you to be unaware, believers, that our fathers were all under the cloud [in which God’s presence went before them] and they all passed [miraculously and safely] through the [Red] Sea; 2 And all [of them] were baptized into Moses [into his safekeeping as their leader] in the cloud and in the sea; 3 and all [of them] ate the same [a]spiritual food; 4 and all [of them] drank the same [b]spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not well-pleased with [c]most of them, for they were scattered along the ground in the wilderness [because their lack of self-control led to disobedience which led to death].
1Timothy 6: 12 Fight the good fight of the faith [in the conflict with evil]; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and [for which] you made the good confession [of faith] in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and [in the presence] of Christ Jesus, who made the good confession [in His testimony] before Pontius Pilate, 14 to keep all His precepts without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,