The book of Exodus is an amazing account of the deliverance of God’s people from Egyptian bondage. Almost daily, the Hebrews have witnessed the power of God in leading them out of Egypt. Barely a month out of slavery, with the memories of God’s greatness fresh on their minds, the people grow discontent awaiting God’s provision of food. The Bible says they complain. What is interesting is found in chapter 16 and verse two. It says:

2 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.

Do you notice what is happening? The entire nation is complaining. How does this happen? I can tell you this: It was not a spontaneous discontented gripe session. It almost certainly began with two or three malcontents sitting by a campfire, and the subject of food or the lack thereof is brought up by one of the Hebrews. Those two or three Hebrews begin talking to other Hebrews who in turn, talk to others. Discontentment was not contained but rather spread like a cancer, and it spread like a wildfire. What started out as a few, multiplied to the point where the entire nation is  murmuring. If we could only see the power of our words, perhaps we would be a bit slower to dissuade others. Proverbs 18:21 says,  Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Our words send people up or down. Words bring others to death or life. Proverbs 6 gives a list of a number of things God hates. Among those things are “…he that soweth discord among brethren.” This is exactly what happened among the Hebrews. God’s people sewed discord. Let’s be sure and understand that this is serious with God. 

How can I apply this to my life? There are several principles to remember. First, be careful how you handle a problem that you may have. Going to the wrong person could potentially harm him spiritually. Second, be careful what you listen to. Don’t give ear to a complainer especially if the problem does not pertain to you. Why not redirect the unhappy, complaining individual to the person that can fix the issue? Murmuring is serious because it hurts innocent people. It causes others to fall into the same trap. 

Remember, our words cause “death and life.” What starts with one can spread to the whole congregation. Ask the Lord to keep your spirit right and your words pure, and let us edify one another.