And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee. – Exodus 15:23-26
Murmuring or complaining is one of those sins that are overlooked. Sometimes we get so focused on the “big sins” such as murder and adultery that we overlook this sin — but the Lord doesn’t give this sin a free pass — quite the opposite. It’s a hidden killer! This sin unleashed a plague that killed thousands of Israelites! [Numbers 16]
In this passage, we read how the Israelites, who were desperately thirsty, looked only at the fact that the water they had come to was bitter and undrinkable. How quickly they forgot their God who had led them out of Egypt with signs and wonders. They had just witnessed His dividing of the Red Sea and destruction of those who had enslaved them. And yet, so quickly they returned to looking only with their natural eyes at the problem in front of them, completely forgetting the miracle working power of their God! And so they murmured against Moses. But honestly, weren’t they really murmuring against God? Once again, Moses interceded for them, revealing the faithfulness of His God to answer every impossible dilemma and provide for every need; and again, setting them the example: they simply needed to go the Lord!
So often, just like the Israelites, we focus on our desperate situation with our physical eyes, and not with eyes of faith, and then fall into the trap of complaining. And if you’re like me, once I start, it can be really hard to stop…until the Lord stops me, right in my tracks, and He reminds me –- aren’t you really complaining against me? I have to remember to see that I actually hinder the Lord’s answers to my problems by unbelief…which leads to the sin of murmuring!
Let’s not allow this sin to gain a foothold — because it can easily become a stronghold! The same wonder working God that led the children of Israel out of Egypt, is still at work today — but are we hindering Him? If we are grumbling and complaining, the answer is, “YES”! And in so doing, until we stop, we are missing out on His answers and blessings which are waiting in the wings to meet our faith in Him!