The Murmur

“Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the LORD; and when the LORD heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. The people therefore cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the LORD and the fire died out.” Numbers 11:1-2

God’s character doesn’t evolve with every passing generation. He is not some weary parent whose will to discipline His children weakens with the arrival of every newborn into the family. Holy God responds with righteous anger to fever pitched rebellion or low-grade murmuring. He won’t hear it, but He will judge it.

The fire of God’s judgment met the mind numbing murmuring of millions of ungrateful people. The people turned to Moses for relief. Moses turned to God in prayer. This is the purpose of adversity. It is meant to increase humility, not generate complaining.

Scandals in Washington, terror in the streets, financial worries, and personal tragedy can generate a great deal of verbiage. Cable networks, mainstream media, and bloviating bloggers fill the air and barrage the brain with endless complaining chatter.

There is no discernment expressed by those who know what the temperature is. Discernment is found in those who know how to change the thermostat. Complaining about the heat, and changing the climate are two different things. One requires the urge to express a personal opinion. The other is gained by seeking the face of God.

Leadership for a family, a church or a nation requires one thing, a fundamental fear of the judgment of God. Prayerful leaders find their vision and hearing improved. They see what God sees, and hear what God hears. They warn the people of the dangers ahead, and the consequences of rebellious behavior.

The people of Israel knew more about slavery than they knew about freedom. With their new found freedom, they discovered their voice. It was a complaining one. The Hebrew word for the sound that reached God’s ears can be translated as murmur or groan. He didn’t like it then, and He isn’t fond of it now. Stop it.

Murmur enters the English language virtually unchanged from the Latin expression “murmur or murmuris.” In any language it sounds the same to God. He hates the low noise, mutter, roar, growl, grunt, rumble, whisper, rustle, hum or buzz of complaining.

On a positive note, murmuring does get God’s attention, but those who murmur soon discover they are like a moth to a flame. Spoiled brats love to stand in the spotlight, but when they murmur before God, they invite God to bring the heat, not the light.

Murmuring takes the same energy as praying, but it does not bear the same fruit as praying. People who are determined to live in the negative tense will never discover anything positive to say about God or to Him. Remember this. Murmuring is heard by God, but is not appreciated. It is judged.

Humility differentiates praying from murmuring. Prayerful people are humble people. Prayerless people are complaining, prideful spoiled brats. The prayerful and the prayerless both pour out their hearts to God, and they are each heard by God. The sweet fruit of the prayerful is grace. The bitter fruit of the prayerless is judgment. Different fruit, indeed.

Judgment begins at the house of God. It always has, and it still does. In the face of any crisis, the church must lead the way to the face of God. Turning a nation around is not a matter of taking a nation back, but turning a nation back to God.

“The true church lives and moves and has its being in prayer.” Leonard Ravenhill

NOTE TO SELF: Entering into The Presence of God has always required an intercessor. The people of Israel had Moses. You have Jesus. When you enter into The Presence of God in the name of Jesus, do so with humility. You have no access and no voice before The Father, without the validation of your family relationship by The Son. Don’t confuse family with familiarity. Familiarity breeds contempt. Humility breeds family. Stop murmuring. Start praying.