Why don’t we get it? Grumbling is wrong.
It was wrong when it first happened in Eden. Adam, putting self at center, blamed God and Eve for what he did. He grumbled against them saying it was the “WOMAN whom YOU gave to be with me” (Gen 3:12).
It was wrong in Numbers 21. Their grumbling against God and Moses had immediate consequences. The Lord sent in fiery serpents. The people forgot their complaint for better food and more water. They were being bitten. They were dying. They knew why.
They got it.
In the story of the prodigal son, the Bible says it this way, “he came to his senses” (Lk 15:17 NASB). He stared into the eyes of pigs and got it. He knew his misery was a direct result of his own actions. He had sinned against God and his father.
But this “sense” is not a natural sense. It’s a God sense. Anytime we use the word “sin” we speak in reference to God. He sets the mark of holy, right, and good. To miss the mark that God set is what the Bible calls “sin.” Our natural sense thinks in reference to self. But when our God sense is awakened, God comes first and we get it.
The Israelites got it. They realized their grumbling had caused God to send in the fiery serpents. He wasn’t to blame. Moses wasn’t to blame. They were and they confessed it.
“We have sinned.”
They went to Moses and said, “we have spoken against the Lord and against you.” Their only hope was to ask Moses to pray to God on their behalf. They needed mercy, “Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.”
This is where it all begins: We need our God sense awakened. We will not change until this happens. No matter our circumstance, our sinful nature always puts self at center, others to blame, God to blame. With ease, we unleash the sound of grumble that comes from the depths of our souls.
We don’t get it, we never will.
Not until the God sense kicks in. When it does, we see Him on the throne. Not us. He takes His rightful place at the center of all things. We become profoundly aware that God is right. His judgment is right. Our grumbling is wrong and we have sinned against Him.
We get it and, when we get it, we confess it.
The sinful nature laughs at confession. It sees the fiery serpents and complains all the more. More grumbling, more blaming God. It has no sense those serpents have come because God is kind and His kindness leads us back to Himself (Rom 2:4).
So we can say what needs to be said, “We have sinned.”