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The whole congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness (Exodus 16:2 NASB).

We are world-class at some things, and grumbling is right up there at the top of the list. But we’re not the first, by a long shot. The word means to murmur. It’s the low growl of discontent.

The Target

Grumbling can be just a general murmur of anger or discontent, but usually it’s aimed at someone.

For the Israelites, their target of choice was their leaders. They didn’t have what they wanted when they wanted it, so they blamed the leaders.

They looked back at what they’d had in Egypt, and they compared. In their “new” grumbling, they said they wanted what they had grumbled about when they were slaves in Egypt!

No matter the situation, it seems we can always find something to complain about.

Remarkably, they focused this rancor on Moses and Aaron, who were their heroes just a few days before. Grumbling knows no boundaries.

We grumble about our mate, our children, our relatives, our employees or employers, our church, our government—you name it. A good grumble is easy to come by.

The Compounding Effect

The problem is that grumbling does no good. It is highly destructive.

It creates continued discontent in our own lives and spreads like cancer to those around us. One persistent grumbler can start an avalanche of discontent.

Paul even refers to these grumblers in the New Testament, warning us not to pick up their practice. He says that God was “not pleased” with them and that we should learn from them to “not crave evil things” like they did or “grumble, as some of them did, and were killed by the destroyer” (1 Corinthians 10:5-10).

The Real Problem

Moses diagnosed their problem perfectly and bluntly when he confronted them:

“The LORD hears your grumblings which you grumble against Him. And what are we? Your grumblings are not against us but against the LORD” (Exodus 16:8).

That’s the real problem. We are upset with God.

God is the One who saves us, provides for us, and gives us life and breath every millisecond of every day. He is the One who does everything for us, in perfect ways and with perfect timing, if we will simply, humbly trust Him. But give us the slightest discomfort, and we become upset with Him.

Are you grumbling? Do you think someone else is the problem?

Wake up. Your grumbling is against God Himself.

Learn from the Israelites. Your grumbling will accomplish nothing. It merely frustrates you, annoys others, and displeases God. God will provide exactly what you need if you will wait and trust.

Father, forgive me for my incessant grumbling. Help me to see above the current moment to the perfect provision of Your hand. Let me rest and wait on Your deliverances. Please save me from a grumbling spirit that is a poor witness to a watching world.