Summary: Message 12 drawn from Israel's murmuring in the desert for forty years shows how complaining is an insult to God's gifts to us,andd is destructive in the home and in the church.

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Exodus 15:22-19:1


“He (God) has heard your murmurings against the Lord. For who are we (Moses and Aaron) that you can murmur against us.

Psalm 106:25

“They grumbled in their tents and did not obey the Lord.”

Numbers 11:11-15

“Moses heard the people crying in their tents (over having no meat to eat).. and the Lord’s anger blazed. .And Moses said to the Lord,’ Why have you dealt so harshly with your servant. Why do you lay the burden of all these people on me? Did I give birth to them….The burden is too heavy for me…If you are going to treat me like this, kill me right I won’t keep looking at my wretchedness.’”

A young man joined a monastic order and committed to their vow of complete silence. He could say two words every five years.

After the first five years he came out, said, “Bed hard!” and returned to his cell. After ten years he came out, said “Cell cold!” and returned to his cell. He came out after the fifteenth years and said, “Food bad!” and returned to his cell. He came out after the twentieth year and said, “I quit!”

The Council, hearing this, said. “That doesn’t surprise us; all you’ve done since you’ve been here is gripe, gripe, gripe.”

The story of Israel’s 40 wilderness years is gripe, gripe, gripe. (Ex. 16:7; Nu. 14:2; 17:5, etc). The King James calls it MURMURING, because of the sound it made from two million dissatisfied people - “MUR-MUR-MUR-MUR.”


God could have said to Israel in the wilderness, “All you’ve done since you left Egypt is gripe, gripe, gripe.” Sadder still, He could say to us who reap the benefits of His Son’s sacrifice, “All you’ve done since I gave My Son for you is gripe, gripe, gripe.”

The Israelites were barely out of Egypt when Pharaoh came after them. The people didn’t take this problem in prayer to the mighty God of the ten plagues who brought them out; they said to Moses, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us out in this desert to die?” (Ex. 14:11). The murmuring began.

That sarcastic griping set the tone for the next forty years. God delivered them from Pharaoh that day, but before the waters of the Red Sea died down they griped because the water at Mara was bitter (Ex. 15:22-27).

They griped again because they had no food (16:1-26). After God gave them Manna, they griped because they were thirsty (17:1-7).

In every case God met their need but it did not make them turn to prayer when the next need arose. Human nature being what it is - they’d rather complain.

A year at Sinai, getting to know God and promising to serve Him didn’t change them one bit. Our text shows the first thing Israel did when they left Sinai was to take up their old habit of whining.

A couple of days into the desert they began to complain, first about the desert hardships itself (11:1-3) and then about the diet of manna (11:4-10A). They were sick and tired of eating the same old stuff. This is when Moses, the once mighty Warrior in Egypt, had had enough and lashed out at God and asked Him to kill him.

Years later we see the complaining spirit alive and well as they griped about the lack of water at Kadesh (Nu. 20:1-13) and finally about the Lord’s battle plans for taking Canaan (Nu. 21:4-8). Far too many of us make complaining a way of life.

Nothing goes right with the folks you meet

Who make their home on Complaining Street

If they had no troubles, there is no doubt

They’d grumble about nothing to grumble about.


1. Complaining is Injurious (Numbers 11)

To the Home

. A wife said to her husband, “Honey you didn’t say anything about the supper.” “Why?” he answered, “was there something wrong with it?” This is no small, insignificant, trifling, sin. It destroys homes. A wife said to her husband, “Honey you didn’t say anything about the big supper I made tonight.” He said, “Why? Was there something wrong with it?” Think of how much this wounded her soul and cut a tiny piece out of her love for that man.

Do you want to destroy your home? It’s easy. Husbands - just start complaining about everything your wife does and how she does it. Wives, do the same to your husband. Parents - gripe to your kids. Kids - gripe to your parents. Nothing will kill love and create disharmony faster than a critical spirit and chronic complaining.

To The Church

Complaining, with the anger and the wounds criticism inside of it creates will destroy a church quicker than anything else. At the bottom of every church split you will find two things- people criticizing something they don’t like and doing it with anger.

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