(Numbers 11, Psalm 48; Optional Romans 15:8-21, Proverbs 21:29-31)
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NUMBERS 11 – Over the past year in Israel’s life, God had rescued them from Egypt, given His law through Moses, helped them build a Tabernacle (tent of meeting) so that His presence could be in their midst, and now they were heading toward the Promised Land, clearly directed by God Himself. And yet Num 11-17 is dominated by sinful complaining! I think AGAIN of the hymn Come Thou Fount: “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, oh take and seal it – seal it for Thy courts above!” Num 11 is poetically re-told and summarized in Ps 78:18-31.
Num 11:4 – Proverbs repeatedly warns about a life run by appetites / cravings!
Num 11:4-6 – ?! No remembering the BONDAGE of Egypt, only that they liked some of the food! Contrast their taking for granted the miraculous provision of manna in v 6 with their amazement when God first gave it (about a year before this) in Ex 16:15, 31.
Num 11:1, 10, 23, 33-35 – Complaining is a HUGE deal to God! Compare Phil 2:14.
Num 11:10-15 – Whoa! Moses himself is so frustrated at the people that he gets kind of close to the edge of the cliff himself. But like in the Psalms, Moses brings his groaning straight to the Lord, with no hint of threat (often the people’s complaints came with an implied threat: “If God doesn’t do something different soon, we’ll get our own leader and just go back to Egypt.”). And notice God’s gracious response in v 16-30 – He sends HELP for Moses by giving more Spirit-filled leaders.
Num 11:18, 20 – A key difference between Moses and the people is that THEIR complaint had this implied threat of going back to Egypt and bondage (but at least they liked some of the food)!
Num 11:22-23 – Moses focused on ways HE could think of to do the job (and couldn’t think of how it could possibly happen within what HE could imagine). But God was going to do something that no one had ever seen before!
Num 11:28-30 – Powerful insight into human loyalty – it can be misdirected. Joshua is taking up an offense for Moses whom he loved / respected. But Moses is so grateful that God has sent help by strengthening some OTHER believers by His Spirit. Moses’ prayer in v 29 is fulfilled in Acts 2!
Num 11:33-34 – Compare Ps 106:13-15 referring to this, and the multiple references throughout Proverbs of the deadly dangers of strong cravings – appetites that can rule (and destroy) us.
PSALM 48 – Praise to God who is the great King over all kings, and who is fortress (compare Ps 46) for His people and will ultimately get justice and deliverance for His people so that we can praise Him FOREVER. And be intentional in instructing the next generation about His goodness (Ps 48:13-14).
Optional Rom 15:8-21 – NOT a Gentile church and a separate Jewish church (or fill in other HUGE cultural / ethnic differences of our time) – but ONE church, with ONE glorious God, and ONE glorious hope in Him!
Optional Proverbs 21:29-31 – Prov 21:30-31 – People certainly TRY to resist the Lord, but we know the end of the story – God wins BIG! And one day we’ll see that even the sinful decisions and actions from people were somehow part of His glorious plan (Gen 50:20, Acts 4:27-28, Eph 1:11b, Rom 8:28) to ultimately bring 1) glory to Himself and 2) good for His people!