Sermons by Pastor Walter Snyder plus announcements, articles, videos, and anything else that doesn’t fit Ask the Pastor or the Luther Library.

05 August 2012

Sermon: Proper 13B (OT)

5 August AD 2012 (Pentecost 10)

Theme: Grumbling at God

Nothing in the Fridge!
Summary: “Mom, there’s nothing to eat!”

“I don’t have a thing to wear!”

Whether a child facing a well-stocked fridge or an adult looking into a full closet, we find reasons to grumble about almost everything in life. Husbands complain about wives and wives about husbands. Children grumble over parental restrictions, congregations their pastors’ words, attitudes, or attire, pastors their parishioners’ spiritual sloth, pettiness, or micromanaging. Yet whenever we grumble against others, particularly against those in authority or concerning the distribution of God’s blessings to us compared with others.

Whenever we grumble against human — particularly pastoral — authority, we’re grumbling against God, just as did Israel in the Wilderness. Almost immediately after witnessing God’s power to save in the Ten Plagues, the Red Sea crossing, and the destruction of the pharaoh’s army, the Hebrews despaired of finding food enough and started blaming Moses and Aaron for their impending doom.

After Moses warned Israel about the seriousness of such complaining, God responded by sending manna and quail to feed His people. Yet they would soon again grumble, this time not trusting that God could and would provide them with ample water.

Such grumbling, whether directly or indirectly against God, calls Him into judgment and is often demeaning to others and depressing to self. Grumbling, a sin that transcends barriers of race, class, and wealth, comes when we raise ourselves up as false gods in the face of the one true God, counting our sinful selves as more worthy of diving favor than others.

The Father forgives this sin, as He does all others, through the sacrifice of Jesus. The sinless Son of God came to earth without complaint and went without grumbling as He carried out His appointed task of saving us from our sins. He was, as Paul Gerhardt’s beautiful Lenten hymn reminds us, the Lamb who went “uncomplaining forth” from heaven to earth and from humble birth to brutal death. He kept God’s prohibitions against grumbling and His commands to be thankful in all things and to rejoice at being His own dear children. This perfect keeping of divine Law belongs to all who trust in Jesus as their Savior.

Text: And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

The Israelites Gathering Manna
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.”

So Moses and Aaron said to all the people of Israel, “At evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against the Lord. For what are we, that you grumble against us?” 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.”

Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, ‘Come near before the Lord, for he has heard your grumbling.’” And as soon as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. And the Lord said to Moses, “I have heard the grumbling of the people of Israel. Say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’”

In the evening quail came up and covered the camp, and in the morning dew lay around the camp. And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground. When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. Exodus 16:2-15

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Grumbling at God, preached to the saints of God at Faith Lutheran Church, Knob Noster, Missouri.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 145:10-21; Ephesians 4:1-16; John 6:22-35

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