Summary: A sermon targeting the problem of discontent in the lives of Christians.
"The Menace of Murmuring"
1 Corinthians 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.
9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
What is "murmuring" and how serious is it? The Greek OT & NT gives several words that would help us define what Paul is talking about. This word means to "grumble", to be "discontent", to "complain" and to "criticize." We probably need to add "whining" to this definition as well. Paul warns the Corinthians about the dangers of murmuring in our text and uses the example of the Israelites to illustrate the peril they faced if they continued this behavior. "...Neither murmur ye..." is his admonition. -- How the Israelites murmured because of the manna, which their souls despised as a light bread - something incapable of affording them nourishment, etc., and because they had been brought out of Egypt into the wilderness, and pretended that the promises of God had failed; and how they were destroyed by serpents, and by the destroyer or plague; may be seen at large in the texts referred to in the margin on this and the preceding verses. It appears from what the apostle says here, that the Corinthians were murmuring against God and his apostle for prohibiting them from partaking of the idolatrous feasts, just as the Israelites did in the wilderness in reference to a similar subject." Clarkes Commentary
I. The Conduct
One of the most interesting aspects of this behavior is that there is not a single mention in Scripture in either the OT or the NT where the ungodly or the unsaved are mentioned in relation to this activity. It is exclusive associated with the people of God in the OT and Christians in the NT. We also learn the true nature of this behavior and its seriousness. Moses tells the people that although they have murmured against God's servants, the real problem is that they have murmured against God! We cannot just dismiss this and say, "...well I'm only human..." or "...no body's perfect..." or "...I've got a right to speak my mind..."
Exodus 16:8 And Moses said, This shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD.
9 And Moses spake unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before the LORD: for he hath heard your murmurings.
WESLEY AND CRITICISM
ILL - John Wesley was a great English preacher of the 1700's. He was considered a rather spiffy dresser. One Sunday morning he wore a bow tie that had long ribbons that hung downward. After the sermon was over a lady walked up to him and said, "Brother Wesley, are you open to some criticism?"
He said, "I guess so. What would you like to criticize?"
She said, "The ribbons on your tie are entirely too long and inappropriate for a man of God." And she took out her scissors and cut them off.
A hush fell over the people standing there as Wesley calmly asked, "Now may I borrow the scissors for a moment?" As she handed them to him, he said, "Ma'am, are you open to some criticism?"
She answered, "Well, I suppose I am."
He said, "All right then, please stick out your tongue."
(From a sermon by Stephen Sheane, "A New Year, A New You")