Daily Devotionals

The sin of grumbling revisited

Week of Nov. 24

Courtesy: Pastor Steve Ellison
Last time I wrote about God’s displeasure with His people who treated Him with contempt and refused to believe in Him and grumbled against the leaders God had given them. The record is in the first part of Numbers 14. Evidently, the children of Israel are related to you and me, or at least they act like us.
God forgave them and pardoned the sentence of immediate death as well as the destruction of the nation. However, God was still not pleased and did not forgo all consequences for what He indicates is a very, very serious sin. We would do well to heed this warning.
Numbers 14:26-35 records the warning to us, “The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who are grumbling against Me? I have heard the complaints of the sons of Israel, which they are making against Me. “Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will surely do to you; your corpses will fall in this wilderness, even all your numbered men, according to your complete number from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against Me. ‘Surely you shall not come into the land in which I swore to settle you, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. ‘Your children, however, whom you said would become a prey — I will bring them in, and they will know the land which you have rejected. ‘But as for you, your corpses will fall in this wilderness. ‘Your sons shall be shepherds for forty years in the wilderness, and they will suffer for your unfaithfulness, until your corpses lie in the wilderness. ‘According to the number of days which you spied out the land, forty days, for every day you shall bear your guilt a year, even forty years, and you will know My opposition. ‘I, the Lord, have spoken, surely this I will do to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me.” (NASU)
The people continued to whine about what they thought might happen to them. God heard it for what it was: an expression of their lack of faith in Him who had just delivered them from the most powerful nation on earth. God was deeply offended by their distrust. He decreed that their fears would come true. Their imaginations would become reality. That which they had worried aloud about would take place.
The Bible calls worrying a sin. Worry can always be traced back to a lack of faith in your God. We either don’t believe He is faithful, or we don’t believe He is capable. Both of those thoughts are offensive to our all powerful, always faithful God.
Thinking those thoughts is hurtful enough. Putting them into words is worse. The Israelites worried, grumbled, complained out loud. When God’s people put their disbelief into words, on display for the whole world to see, He is hurt. Dishonor (certainly not real dishonor but an appearance of dishonor) is brought to His Name. This appearance of dishonor keeps unbelievers from coming to Him to be saved.
This verbal worrying discourages other believers, leading them to be less loving, less obedient, less serving, etc. Do your best not to worry. If you do find yourself worrying, don’t let it develop into verbal grumbling. God considers our grumbling to be against Him, which it certainly is. Grumbling carries a stiff penalty and the children of the grumblers suffered for it. Is that what you want?

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