The Mars Hill staff is in a series of devotionals drawn from the book, A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards. We share highlights from the book each week, but we invite you to get a copy and read along with us. The drama is a multi-act play telling the stories of three kings. It is a portrait of submission and authority within the Kingdom of God; offering hope and healing to the spiritually wounded.
27 “How long must I bear with this evil congregation that murmurs against me? I have heard the complaints of the Israelites that they murmured against me. 28 Say to them, ‘As I live, says the Lord, I will surely do to you just what you have spoken in my hearing. 29 Your dead bodies will fall in this wilderness—all those of you who were numbered, according to your full number, from twenty years old and upward, who have murmured against me. – Numbers 14:27-29 NET
9 And let us not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by snakes. 10 And do not complain, as some of them did, and were killed by the destroying angel. 11 These things happened to them as examples and were written for our instruction, on whom the ends of the ages have come. – 1 Corinthians 10:9-11 NET
Murmuring, grumbling, and complaining. We all do it. We express our discontent with our world, sometimes under our breaths where few can hear it and sometimes a bit more audibly for the benefit of others. It may seem innocuous enough…like we are just venting or letting off steam. But, there is actually great harm at the root of it and as the Scripture passages above reveal, these expressions of discontent are an affront to God.
The story of Absalom, 3rd son of King David, is an excellent example of how even a private, inward discontent can fester and grow into an all-out rebellion and life of destruction. (For background on Absalom, you may want to read 2 Samuel 13 – 18.)
Absalom was angered when his half-brother raped his sister. We can only imagine the frustration and bitterness that Absalom felt when their father, King David did nothing about the situation! No discipline, no confrontation, no acknowledgment, no rectification.
David failed to deal with the issue, and that sin brought much grief to the family and kingdom. But, his failure does not let Absalom off the hook for his own failure to deal with the situation in a just and open manner.
Instead of bringing the matter to the King and more importantly to THE King, God Himself, Absalom let his discontent simmer under the surface. He let it affect his every thought and action. It drove him to find his own solution…take over and become the new king! Over years, he methodically charmed his way into the peoples’ hearts by tapping into their own discontent, with promises that he could and would fix their problems. Eventually, it led him to full rebellion against his father, the King and ultimately to his own death.
Some Things to Ponder:
Murmuring, Grumbling and Complaining
- provides no benefits.
- dulls our spiritual senses, causing us to forget about what He has done and missing out on what He is doing
- becomes a stage for Satan to get a foothold in our lives
- gives a poor testimony of God to others
- is an affront to the God who ordains our lives
As noted in Lesson 13, God uses discontent to accomplish His purposes in us. The question is how will we respond to our discontent? Saul’s response was to go mad and throw spears. Absalom chose instead to let his discontent fester over a long period and turn into a full on outright rebellion. Yet David, for all his sins and faults, stayed faithful in recognizing that God was sovereign over all and the source for all wisdom, instruction, and direction for life.