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Grumbling against Leaders

Posted by Joshua Claycamp on


And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you in the evening meat to eat and in the morning bread to the full, because the Lord has heard your grumbling that you grumble against him—what are we? Your grumbling is not against us but against the Lord.” Exodus 16:8


Moses and Aaron found themselves in the unenviable position of leading a nation of refugees through a desert wilderness into a promised land. The land had not been observed directly by the people. It was simply "promised" to them. I'm sure you can appreciate the nature of the Hebrews' position. They dreamed of a better life for their children. They dreamed of a better life for themselves. They wondered about the future. And here they were in the middle of a bunch of unknowns. They were following a guy through the wilderness having just been delivered from slavery and captivity. Food was in short supply. The road was long and dusty. Sleeping accomodations were different every night, and all of this for the sake of a parcel of land which you have never seen; only it has been "promised" to you.

Wouldn't you be skeptical? Sure you would.


So they grumble. They start sniping at the character and leadership abilities of Moses and Aaron. A few nasty rumors get started. Before too long the entire camp is consumed with gossip and slander against Moses and Aaron. Some start going so far as to wish they were some place else, even back from where they came in slavery and bondage.


Their response is natural, but herein lies the danger. Although their response is natural, expected, even anticipated, it is still not right. While we can sympathize with the Hebrew response to a difficult situation, having engaged in the same behavior ourselves too often, we can never permit ourselves to think that this response is healthy and honoring to God. God makes it rather clear in the context of this passage that He is displeased, and Moses’ response in Exodus 16:8 shows why God is displeased.


The people of Israel need to know that God is leading them through the hand of Moses. God is the ultimate leader, not Moses. Their grumbling against Moses and Aaron is really a lack of trust in God.


Moses spells this out in Exodus 16:8 when he clearly asks the rhetorical question, “What are we?” What is the nature of our leadership? What is the nature of our responsibility here? Aren’t we just doing what God told us to do?


Thought for the day: Remember that your leader, pastor, or church elder has a responsibility to lead in accordance with God’s will. This is non-negotiable. Your leader is charged with knowing God’s Word and acting accordingly. If this is the case, then you should not grumble against your leader. Your support should be joyful, and you should always be suspicious of rumors that cast a negative light on your leaders, especially if those rumors fail to offer any substantial evidence of the leader violating the Word of God.


Tags: grumbling, god, leader, trust, faith