Monday, April 19, 2010

Numbers 11


Prairie Chick said...

Sometimes I find some of these chapters in Num and Deu so difficult to wade through, but then a chapter like this will pop up that is just so... RELEVANT. (not saying they are not all relevant, but some are clearer than others I guess).

This one gripped me from the opening sentence. "NOw the people complained ot the Lord about their troubles, and when he heard them, he became angry." v1

Interesting. How many times have I heard, God doesn't mind our whining and getting angry at Him... He's bigger than all that. I've never been one to whine and get angry at God myself, and always found that argument a bit strange. And now here I see this and I'm like, uh... yeah... that makes sense. Whining and getting angry with God shows a complete lack of trust and respect for Him and what He has done and what He is doing. It shows a selfish disregard for GOD'S good and sovreignty, and concern only with OUR wants and comfort. Do we really think that God smiles down and patronizes us and pats us on the head when we through a hissy fit because there are bumps in the road? Well, this verse doesn't cast that light on it. I don't think God is all warm and fuzzy toward us when we get mad at Him and complain about our circumstances. I don't think He's "okay" with that at all.

Does He exercise patience and mercy in spite of our failures? Of course. To a point. He also says enough is enough and brings down the rod at times to wake us out of our silly hedonistic wallowings at some point.

But I think the point here for me is that just because God is patient and merciful is the point. That doesn't mean that I should just let my hair down and rail on Him when I "feel" like it. It means that I should divert my attention from my FEELINGS to TRUTH. And the truth is that its not about living a simple existence. Smooth sailing never made for good sailors. The bumps in the road are there for a reason. And whining and crying about them is NOT in our best interest. Will God put up with it? Sure He does. To a point, but that's not the point. His goal is for us to grow in grace and truth, and all the fruit, not to have it easy.

Denise said...

"11: 1, 6-15
The Israelites complained, and then Moses complained. but God responded positively to Moses and negatively to the rest of the people. Why? The people complained to ONE ANOTHER, and nothing was accomplished. Moses took his complaint TO God, who could solve any problem. Many of us are good at complaining to each other. We need to learn to take our problems to the One who can do something about them.

11: 4-6
Dissatisfaction comes when our attention shifts from what we have to what we don't have. The people of Israel didn't seem to notice what God was doing for them - setting them free, making them a nation, giving them a new land - because they were so wrapped up in what God wasn't doing for them. They could think of nothing but the delicious Egyptian food they had left behind. Somehow they forgot that the brutal whip of Egyptian slavery was the cost of eating that food. Before we judge the Israelistes too harshly, it's helpful to think about what occupies our attention most of the time. Are we grateful for what God has given us, or are we always thinking about what we would like to have? We should not allow our unfulfilled desires to cause us to forget God's gifts of life, food, health, work, and friends.

11: 4-9
Every morning the Israelites drew back their tent doors and witnessed a miracle. Covering the ground was pale yellow, fluffy manna - food from heaven. But soon that wasn't enough. Feeling it was their right to have more, they forgot what they already had. They didn't ask God to fill their need; instead, they demanded meat, and they stopped trusting God to care for them...God gave them what they asked for, but they paid dearly for it when a plague struck the camp. When you ask God for something, he may grant your request. But if you approach him with a sinful attitude, getting what you want may prove costly.

How strong is God? It is easy to trust God when we see his mighty acts (the Israelites saw many), but after a while, in the routine of daily life, his strength may appear to diminish. God doesn't change, but our view of him often does. The monotony of day-by-day living lulls us into forgetting how powerful God can be. As Moses learned, God's strength is always available."

Denise said...

Ummm...sorry, I wrote a book...

Jude said...

You both wrote a book and I like it!

v17 "I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the spirit that is on you and put the Spirit on them. They will help you carry the burden of the people so that you will not have to carry it alone."

I really like this. Amazing that God could divide the burden among many...not by delegating but actually "taking of the Spirit" that is on you and dividing it. Wow!

Also parallels the New testamant verse: Matthew 11:28-30 "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." those words.

Prairie Chick said...

Interesting.... still chewing on the whole "complaining to God" rather than complaining to man aspect! I still think that my goal is going to be not complaining at all =)