25 September 2015

Are You Murmuring to God?

A Lord's Supper devotion I gave a while back...

Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. (Phil. 2:14-15)

I know for me personally, there are times I can struggle with contentment, and that leads to murmuring, so I wanted to take a quick look at this topic as a reminder to us all to watch for signs of this in our daily lives.

By murmuring, it does not simply mean complaining. There is a legitimate way of complaining to God about our situation that is not considered murmuring. Like when the Israelites were under the heavy yoke of bondage and cried out to God in their affliction. They were moaning about what was happening, and God brought deliverance.
It also does not mean we are to silently keep things bottled up and not share our struggles with friends and loved ones.

The murmuring spoken of here is the kind of complaining against the works of God, or lack of seeing them. The Greek word here is the same Greek word used throughout the Septuagint to describe the grumbling of the Israelites in the wilderness.

Remember, these people saw many, many miracles of God in their deliverance, yet time and time again they whined and murmured against God at every turn. That is the essence of what is being spoken of here it seems.

So it comes down to how we murmur, how often, and in what ways, that can make it a bad thing. Do we grumble and complain at every little affliction that comes our way – or do we openly and trustingly make our complaints known to God? Are we taking our cares to God asking him to relieve us in his timing and his way, or are we just venting our frustration against him?

In closing, I want to tell a quick little story I found on the subject.

This is the story of a monk named Brother John, who entered into the “Monastery of Silence” and the abbot said “Brother, this is a silence monastery; you are welcome here as long as you like, but you may not speak until I direct you to do so.”

Brother John lived at the monastery for five years before the abbot said to him, “Brother John, you have been here five years now; you may speak two words.” Brother John said, “Hard bed.” “I’m sorry to hear that,” the abbot said, “We will get you a better bed.”

After another five years, Brother John was called by the abbot. “You may say another two words, Brother John. “Cold food,” he said, and the abbot assured him that the food would be better in the future.

On his fifteenth anniversary at the monastery, the abbot again called brother John into his office. “Two words you may say today.” “I quit,” said Brother John. To this, the abbot replied, “It is probably best; you’ve done nothing but complain since you got here.”

Ultimately, the question is, are we letting God be God, the sovereign of the universe who orders all things according to his good will and pleasure? Or are we frustrated that God is not giving us what we desire when we desire it, and that things are not going as we wish they were? Do we have a complaining and discontent spirit? If we asked others to honestly say, would they describe us that way?