The story begins like this. “Look what God has done in my life! He turned everything around and now I’m back on top! He performed a miracle for me! God is truly all-powerful and He fought for me.” Sound familiar? When the circumstances of our life are going well we give God all the credit. However, what is our heart-attitude when life circumstances take a turn against us? We may not outrightly blame God but is there a periodic murmur or a grumble in there?
If you’re breathing then the answer is ‘yes.’ But don’t be too hard on yourself, it was true for the people of Israel as well. Ex. 15 gives us the account of their deliverance from bondage in Egypt in a type of song. They were joining their leader Moses in rejoicing that God had come through for them. They sang of His triumph, His strength, and His salvation. They even called Him a Man of War. He fought for them and gave them victory. Here’s the clincher. After that incredible worship service with tambourines and dancing they were led directly into the wilderness.
Victory to wilderness. Do you see the pattern? One difficult situation after another? Really, God? The Israelites progressed from rejoicing right into grumbling or murmuring. Instead of recounting God’s past faithfulness, as they had done previously, they complained incessantly to their Leader. Bad idea.
Are you familiar with a heart murmur? It’s that low, indistinct, continuous sound a heart produces that alerts a doctor. Is there a connection between our physical heart and our heart-attitude? I think there is. When we follow the pattern of rejoicing in God when times are good and slipping into complaining, whining, and being discontented with life, God, the supreme Cardiologist, hears that heart murmur.
In Ex. 15 & 16 there is some form of the word ‘grumble’ (also translated complained or murmured) ten times! The Hebrew word is pronounced loon. It not only means to complain but to stop and stay there. Interesting. When we murmur there is an undertone of dissatisfaction and discontentment. There is a mumble under your breath. This Hebrew word is a word-play in English. A loon is a dive-bomb bird with a laugh-like cry. It can also mean to be simple-minded or act crazy. We act like a loon when we loon. Smile. Is there a time to vent? Yes, but be sure your listener will not let you stay there.
In the midst of this story is this phrase, “… and there He tested them.” Now, don’t worry about this test from God, if you fail it, you will retake it: again and again and again. Also, don’t miss one of God’s names in 15:26. I am the LORD, Your Healer. Was God making a connection between disease or sickness and murmuring? I’ll let you decide. Be encouraged this week to stop and stay in God’s presence as Jesus recommends in John 15:4, Remain in Me and I in you. It’s a much healthier and happier place to be.