No Grumbling & Mumbling
Posted on February 6, 2023 by Elizabeth Welte in Freedom Fighters
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 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 … ” – Philippians 2:14-15
I have been reading through Exodus for the last two weeks, and I am in the narrative where Moses has led the children of Israel into the Promised Land.
If you remember the story, Pharaoh and the Egyptians have really been laying it on thick and were horribly mistreating the Israelites. Moses and Aaron have just gone through the plagues hoping to soften Pharaoh’s heart, but after each one, the Lord hardened his heart until the last plague when Pharoah decides he is done and lets Moses and the people leave.
Sometimes when I have read through these stories, I have rushed through them and missed some of the details (the curse of speed reading). This time I have taken my time, and I realized how much I have missed.
Sending out the Israelites was no small task. Think about this. Jan and I have led bus trips for years. A group of 50 people can be a challenge at times. But according to the text, a bus trip was a piece of cake compared to what Moses and Aaron were dealing with. According to Exodus 12:37 – there were six hundred thousand men on foot, PLUS women and children. Most commentators believe the more accurate number was 2,000,000 people in total. Add to the mix (Exodus 12:38) that they took their “flocks, herds and livestock.
Most scholars believe it would have taken 4 hours to cross the Red Sea on foot. Think about trying to move 2,000,000 people along with their flocks, herds, and livestock.
From what I learned, a flock could be anywhere from 2-1500 eyes with lambs (remember they were to be used for sacrifices). A herd could be from 30-70 cattle.
So pardon me for being real – but that has the potential to be a pretty messy walk. On a bus trip, we stop every two hours for a rest stop. It takes about 25 minutes for fifty people to use the necessary rooms. Talk about a potential scenario for grumbling and mumbling.
You know what it’s like traveling with your kids – the classic comment – “Are we there yet?” I can’t even begin to imagine.
The narrative does not record anything about mumbling and grumbling connected with the crossing of the Red Sea. After all, they had been in bondage for 400+ years. Me thinks maybe they couldn’t wait to get out of Dodge.
But it didn’t take long. Even after witnessing God’s protection of them during the plagues, crossing the sea, and seeing Pharaoh’s army drowned three days later, they start murmuring and complaining. First, it’s about the taste of the water, then about the meals, then the lack of water. In just a few short weeks, they wanted to go back to Egypt. In those days, Egypt meant sin and bondage. How quickly they forgot what it was like.
Before you judge the Israelites, are we not just like that? God blesses us and wow’s us with his power and glory and how quickly we can fall backward and we begin to grumble and complain.
We grumble about the weather.
We grumble about having to wait in lines.
We grumble about the temperature – it’s either too hot or too cold.
We grumble about our jobs.
We grumble about not having internet or cell service.
We grumble about having to get up early in the morning.
We grumble about our jobs.
We grumble about the music in church, the length of the sermon, and how someone is dressed or looks if they don’t fit our “mold.”
What does Paul say: Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 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 … Philippians 2:14-15
Notice the wiggle room he gives us. Don’t you like it when the Bible uses the word ALL? ☹
When I am around a room full of grumblers and complainers, I am always praying, “please don’t let these people be Christians if they are grumbling and complaining.
One of the ways that we can shine as light in the world is to not grumble and complain. So do me a favor – take this week and note how many times you grumble and complain.
I am going to do the same. Yikes. It might be really convicting for me.
Anchored in the Rock,
Bill Welte, President/CEO
Bill loves to hear from you. Email him at email@example.com.
Written by Bill Welte: President/CEO of America’s Keswick: Bill has been married to his childhood sweetheart for 40+ years and has four married kids and 12 amazing grandkids. He loves music and is an avid reader.
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.” Psalm 36:5