Do you recall a time when the people of God murmured and complained? Most folks can recall one time in particular when God’s chosen people were in the wilderness. Moses, the leader, led the charge in emancipating them from the cruel hand of the Pharaoh, while under Egyptian bondage.
Freedom is great. Yet, even in freedom, life can become challenging and even seemingly unfair. This is the time you desire that those in leadership would hear the cry of the people and attend to their needs. If the needs of a group of people are not being met, there will always be a cry for help.
Exodus 17:3 And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?
The people had escaped the cruel hands of an oppressor, but when they were feeling challenged they freely complained against the one that God had used to liberate them.
Murmuring is interesting. The word murmur means a half-suppressed or muttered complaint, a low indistinct but often continuous sound, akin to grumbling.
Murmuring is similar to how someone who is right there in your presence talks under their breath. They speak loud enough for you to hear them but low enough that you have no clue what they are saying.
Murmuring is the beginning of it all, and if the needs of the people are not addressed, then the murmuring will escalate into something else.
Yes, when the people are not heard, or more specifically are not correctly or sincerely heard, the murmuring will move to a next place of intensity. That next place is a place of outcrying.
Nehemiah 4:1 And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews.
The cry is real. The people are suffering and the cry is real. This is not a selfish cry. The cry is beyond any individual. This cry is about their families and all of the people.
The word cry here comes from the Hebrew word ‘tsa`aqah’ and this word means more than a cry; it means an outcry. The people want to get out of something.
They are crying out! The people are crying out to be heard and to be cared for by those who are able.
Suffering in silence
The truth is that a mother and/or father can handle what they are going through.
However, when they can see and experience the suffering of their children — their family, they cannot simply suffer in silence. In Nehemiah’s day there was an outcry.
The cry was not an inner cry, or a cry just experienced in the kitchen or bedroom of their house. No, this was an outcry. It was a public cry because of their present personal pain.
Nehemiah 4: 3 Some also there were that said, We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses, that we might buy corn, because of the dearth.
4 There were also that said, We have borrowed money for the king’s tribute, and that upon our lands and vineyards.
5 Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children: and, lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought unto bondage already: neither is it in our power to redeem them; for other men have our lands and vineyards.
Just what was going on in Nehemiah’s day? While the walls were going up, something else was going up. While the nobles were experiencing the blessings of the city being rebuilt, they decided to charge the people.
Therefore, while the walls were going up, the cost of living was also going up.
The nobles or leaders of the land knew that the people had just come out of a place of poverty and were beginning to catch themselves, but sadly, this was the time they chose to burden the people.
Please recall that those people have just been restored to their land and they were in a building process. The people were experiencing hardship because money was low but the mouths to feed were many.
The people were hungry. Their children were hungry and yet the prices continued to rise. Those nobles — the leaders — continued to exact more money out of the people. In other words, taxation was increasing when wages were decreasing. No wonder there was an outcry.
When a people are bothered beyond human measure, those people will begin to cry. When a people feel as though there is no compassion from those who enact laws, they will cry out.
When the people realize that they have children just like the rich do, they have mouths to feed, just like the rich, they will cry out.
The difference is that the wealthy people are not experiencing a famine.
There will always be a huge cry when there is a huge disconnect between the rich folks and the poor folks. A common phrase of our day is, “He who feels it knows it”.