Do Not Grumble
September 24, 2020 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
Do you like to grumble?
I can’t say I like to grumble, but I do find it easy to grumble. I grumble about the traffic. I grumble when my kids do not do what I want. I grumble when the computer boots too slowly. And I grumble about more significant matters. I grumble almost on a daily basis.
Philippians 2:14 says, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing.” Ouch!
As with every sin, we must understand the root in order to fight against it. The root of grumbling is blindness to God’s grace.
In John 6:41, the Jews grumble against Jesus because he said that he was the bread which came down from heaven. Jesus mentions this in verse 33. Then he proceeds to state in verse 35, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” In the next five verses he unpacks God’s sovereign grace in bringing salvation to the world. There is both an affirmation of God’s kindness in grace and an invitation to respond in faith.
But the Jews grumble. They were hung up on Jesus’ statement in verse 33 (“how can a human come down from heaven?”) and totally missed the offer of God’s grace. They would not be grumbling if they understand the Good News standing before them.
Grumbling marked the people of Israel as they traveled to the promised land. In Exodus 17:3 we read, “The people thirsted for water, and the people grumbled against Moses.” This took place right after God miraculously provided “bread from heaven,” manna. Shortly before that, the people walked on dry ground through the middle of the Red Sea. And shortly before that, they witnessed God’s power over Pharaoh and Egypt in the ten plagues. And yet, they grumbled. They were blinded to God’s sustaining grace every step of the way.
We are no different from the Israelites in the Old Testament or the Jews in the New Testament. Whenever we grumble, we let present, physical circumstances blind us from God’s sovereign, often-unseen, ever-working grace. The Bible is full of promises of God’s grace working for our good in every situation (cf. Deut. 31:8; Rom. 8:28; 2 Cor. 4:17; Phil. 1:6). And yet, we grumble when things do not go the way we want, when we lose sight of God’s larger plan.
So, how do we fight grumbling? The Psalmist provides the path forward. In a nutshell, we fight grumbling by keeping the Lord and his grace at the forefront of our hearts and minds. Consider these verses as examples:
Ps. 16:8 I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Ps. 90:14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Ps. 119:11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
Ps. 119:18 Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
Ps. 119:97 Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.
May we be enamored by God’s grace and marked more and more by joy, rather than grumbling!