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Violence and destruction are breaking out across the nation. None is more disturbing than at college campuses (U. C. Berkeley, Univ. Vermont).

As we see this stuff rolling out on T.V. screens we wonder…what's happening? But we are cautioned in Ecclesiastes 1:9 to remember: "...there is no new thing under the sun." These things have happened throughout history. There are two words which travel throughout scripture to shed some light and perspective on these times: murmuring and rioting, defined as:

  • Murmuring: grumbling spoken in low tones, indignant complaining, expressions of indignant displeasure.
  • Rioting: to cause to stand - dissension, insurrection, sedition, uproar, rebellion.

What begins as murmuring, history demonstrates, often culminates in rioting!

The children of Israel had not gone far from Egypt for forty days before they began murmuring, which eventuated in the death of thousands. Speaking to Israel Paul writes this: 1 Corinthians 10:10 "Neither murmur ye, as some of them... (Ex 16.2) "and the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness” ... also murmured and were destroyed (Num 14:37) of the destroyer (Ex 12:23).

Studying the books of Exodus and Numbers a definite pattern emerges, murmuring (complaining), if it is continually practiced, ends up in open rebellion.

Paul warns the believer against taking the first step that can lead to broken relationships--trouble in family and church. In the church, murmuring (gripping, gossiping) can lead to splits in the church and insurrection in the nation.

What starts out as an attitude problem progresses to silent resentment, an irritable disposition, low key complaining, secret meetings with other murmurers ending in expressions of resentment. Eventually, those resentments are voiced loudly, angrily, publicly and finally…acting out in violence.

Paul writes the believer must deal with "irritants" in a different way (Phil 2:14, 15, 16a): "Do all things without murmurings and disputings (arguing): That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke (stain), in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life..."

Our country is at a dangerous crossroad--divided, resentful and angry. We are just a few steps away from death and destruction. This is an opportunity for the church to be light and life and love and peace - the church must be the genuine, authentic representatives of Christ - we must let our light shine. There is no other hope, no other way than Christ Jesus, to end violence in our streets!

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