Contextual analysis is the science of studying biblical words according to the context in which they exist within God’s Word as opposed to our current usage of them. One of the benefits of recognizing all the different applications of a particular word is gained in understanding the nuances and peculiarities that that word may contain. It is when we take the time to look through God’s Word and note the singular uses of a specific word that we come to understand it more fully. However, it is in understanding that meanings change according to diverse spellings which effect the inflections of verbs and nouns and other tools of grammar. Therefore, it is in recognizing specific spellings that one must take note in determining the definition of any given word. Understanding this, after the main statement next, Scriptures utilizing the word murmuring are listed for examination.
One of the unfortunate casualties of the way that we humans process information is our habitual tendency of encapsulating ideas and principles into standards and beliefs which are incapable of change. This is commonly referred to as “our perspective,” and is merely the way that we develop to look at certain things, which makes it easy for us to understand the world around us. This is a survival tool that God has built within this, yet it is our ability to step out of our own perspectives that we have an opportunity to grow spiritually concerning God, and eternally concerning the subject of faith.
I say all this to say, “we need to get some outside of our own way of looking at things and attempt to look at things from God’s point of view in order to understand what is truth concerning us and the world around us.”
One example of the diversity between our perception and God’s perception can be seen in the term that is used concerning the bread that God provided for the Israelites as they were crossing the desert. God refers to the substance as: “heavens bread” (Exodus 16:4; Nehemiah 9:15), yet due to the Israelites getting sick of eating the same thing, they referred to it as “Manna,” which is in the Hebrew is a derogatory term literally meaning: “what is it” (Exodus 16:15). This is not a question according to the phraseology, but is a disparaging title.
Another example of the difference between perceptions can be seen the dream that was given to King Nebuchadnezzar, God used an idiom that Nebuchadnezzar could understand according to his human mentality; that of a human being made up of different substances (Daniel 2:31-36). Yet, later when you see how God presents it to Daniel, these kingdoms are made up of ferocious beast, which displays how God looks at these kingdoms of man (Daniel 7:2-7).
The reason this becomes important is in consideration concerning the subject of murmuring, and how it might appear as such a small sin, as compared to adultery, murder, or even blasphemy. However, according to God’s perspective it is one of the worst behaviors that a believer can do, as it displays a total lack of trust in God, His Will, His ability, and His judgment. Murmuring is an outward expression of a lack of faith from within, yet be on this display of a lack of trust is a behavior that becomes repetitious when practiced openly by others as a lack of faith breeds a lack of faith when dire situations are encountered. Perhaps the worst thing a believer can ever do is to maintain a murmuring heart (mindset) which produces a outward manifestation of murmuring among believers.
The Following Scriptures address murmuring, and if you research the context of each passage, you will gain a better insight into how bad it is to God.
(Exodus 15:24) And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?
(Exodus 16:2) And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:
(Exodus 16:7) And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the LORD; for that he heareth your murmurings against the LORD: and what are we, that ye murmur against us?
(Exodus 16:8) And Moses said, This shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD.
(Exodus 16:9) And Moses spake unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before the LORD: for he hath heard your murmurings.
(Exodus 16:12) I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God.
(Exodus 17:3) And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?
(Numbers 14:2) And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!
(Numbers 14:27) How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me.
(Numbers 14:29) Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me,
(Numbers 14:36) And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land,
(Numbers 16:11) For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the LORD: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?
(Numbers 16:41) But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the LORD.
(Numbers 17:5) And it shall come to pass, that the man’s rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom: and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you.
(Numbers 17:10) And the LORD said unto Moses, Bring Aaron’s rod again before the testimony, to be kept for a token against the rebels; and thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from me, that they die not.
(Deuteronomy 1:27) And ye murmured in your tents, and said, Because the LORD hated us, he hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.
(Joshua 9:18) And the children of Israel smote them not, because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel. And all the congregation murmured against the princes.
(Psalms 106:25) But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the LORD.
(Isaiah 29:24) They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.
(Matthew 20:11) And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,
(Mark 14:5) For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.
(Luke 5:30) But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?
(Luke 15:2) And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
(Luke 19:7) And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.
(John 6:41) The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.
(John 6:43) Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.
(John 6:61) When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
(John 7:12) And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people.
(John 7:32) The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him.
(Acts 6:1) And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
(1 Corinthians 10:10) Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
(Philippians 2:14) Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
(Jude 1:16) These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.