Numbers 11-13

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Chapter 11–  The Israelites were doing so well yesterday… they had obeyed the Lord, saw the cloud depart, heard the trumpets, and in the order they were given they departed from the base of Mount Sinai.  So far so good…. THEN the 3rd and 4th word in the reading today is the “people COMPLAINED…”  RUT ROW.  This is just the first of our action packed chapters today.

They complained (to each other …. And did not pray to God… or praise Him for things HE had done) “in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused.”  The fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.  NOT a good sign!!  When the people CRIED out to Moses, he IMMEDIATELY:  “prayed to the Lord and the fire died down.”

I don’t know, but I’d like to think when I saw the fire consuming the land around the camp that I would have gotten the message and not cried out to Moses.  However, I also KNOW they were just people… just like me.  They’ve been in the desert at least 2 years now, and have been eating the same thing day after day.  Interestingly verse 4 begins with “the rabble with them” began to crave other food and the Israelites began WAILING ….. if only we had meant… if only we had the fish in Egypt…and all the wonderful fruit and veggies… but now we have this .. this manna!!!  NOTICE it was the “rabble” that started the complaining again.  In my Life Application Bible it states that the “rabble refers to a mixed crowd of EGYPTIANS AND OTHERS who had followed Israel out of Egypt.”  This reminds me of how very sensitive I must be to WHO and what I listen to.  If I take my eyes off of Jesus, I begin not to trust HIM as much, and I begin to want, think, do, etc., things I don’t need.  These rabbles started “stirring the pot”, the Israelites became distracted, began to feel sorry themselves, took their focus off God and stopped trusting Him to supply their every need.  I mean … they had the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.. they had water and manna. And, again.. they don’t pray before God, praise HIM for HIS provisions for them, or thank Him for what they had … they began to WAIL (kind of like complaining on steroids).

Moses heard the people of EVERY family (2-3 MILLION people WAILING) AT the entrance to HIS tent.  The LORD became angry … very angry again (LOOK OUT FOLKS!!).  Verse 10 ends saying: “Moses was troubled.”  Verse 11 begins with Moses bringing HIS complaints, frustrations, and prayers directly to the Lord.

PRAYER AND INTERCESSION were and still are very powerful tools that God has blessed us with!

He asked the LORD, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me?

Then Verse 18 “We were better off in Egypt!”  Again… I have to say… WHAT ARE THEY THINKING??????  Didn’t they JUST witness God’s fire burn up part of the camp???  In God’s wisdom, HE tells Moses to gather 70 of Israel’s elders who are known to be leaders and officials among the people and have them come to the Tent of Meeting.   “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 see such a loving tender side of God here, taking care of Moses.

Moses is to tell the people to consecrate themselves in preparation for tomorrow…. When they WILL eat meat!!!  “You will not eat it for just a day or two… but for a whole month…. Till it comes out of your NOSTRILS and you loathe it because you have REJECTED the LORD.”  Ummmmmm……. then when HE did bring the quail by changing the wind direction.. MANY people were struck with a severe plague that killed them WHILE the meat was still between their teeth all because their desire for precious meat was greater than their desire for their precious LORD!!  … OYE VEY!! .. It did say HIS anger burned toward HIM for NOT TRUSTING HIM…. NOT RESPECTING HIM… OUT RIGHT REJECTING HIM!!!

Moses hears this from the Lord but begins to have a bit of doubt himself and shares this with the Lord.  Moses could not begin to comprehend where all this meat would come from.  God ASSURES Moses…. HE IS ABLE… HE CAN BE TRUSTED to do what HE says.

Everything we read in the Old Testament has a place in the New Testament and vice versa.  Chapter 11 is no exception.  KEEP IN MIND that the HOLY SPIRIT is NOT a  product of the Lord, it IS the Lord and if the Lord has always been, then the Holy Spirit has always been too.  The HOLY SPIRIT did not make HIS first appearance at Pentecost !  He made HIS first appearance in Genesis!!!  Remember the TRINITY is GOD.  God is the SAME… yesterday.. today.. and always.  GOD NEVER CHANGES.

 ”In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was  formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Genesis 1:1-2

In Chapter 11 God brought down the Spirit and 70 men stood prophesying.  What is that anyway?  I thought prophesying was “future telling”.  It can be but it is not always.  It is speaking with the authority of the Lord.  It is being a vessel for the Lord to communicate.  Can that be “future telling” ABSOLUTELY …  if that is the message from the Lord, but often it is just giving a Word or a Message from the Spirit. The last sentence in this verse states that:  “When the Spirit rested on them they prophesied, but they did not do so again.” (Interesting)

For some reason Elad and Meded didn’t go to the tent with the other elders.  However the Spirit (note the capitalization) descended upon them.  Joshua was a tad concerned and thought they were doing something wrong.  Moses said something so beautiful, he said “I wish that ALL the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put His Spirit on them”.  If you have time take a peek at Mark 9:38-40.  The same thing happened in the NT!!! 

Chapter 12  — After reading all we just read from complaining … NOW… somebody must not have gotten the message from Chapter 10 because….. here comes more!!!  Moses, Miriam and Aaron are brothers and sisters.  And just as brothers and sisters do….. they have a little sibling rivalry going on.  Moses wife was Ethiopian (this was not Zipporah, his Midianite wife.)   Moses was in a mixed cultural marriage (but had always been .. I mean he lived with the Egyptians for 40 years and then in the desert with the Midianites for the next 40 years.)  Miriam seems a little racist here.   However, the issue was not really Moses’ wife …. Miriam and Aaron were jealous that their big brother was the leader of their nation.  The nationality of Moses’ wife was a diversion so they did not have to tell the “real story.” My Bible says that Moses was humble about the situation; another Bible version used the word meek.  God loves meekness! (not weakness but meekness…huge difference..the meek will inherit the earth! Meek means having the Power to Control yourself!)

You KNOW you are in trouble when the LORD calls you out of the tent to come face HIM.  He tells Miriam and Aaron ~~~ HELLO!!!  I speak to your brother directly and he can see my form….. why are you not afraid to speak against him??    The Lord’s anger burned against them, HIS cloud lifted and Miriam was left leprous, like snow.

Aaron asks Moses to speak to God on her behalf so she is not left like this for the rest of her life.  And once again Moses PRAYED (12:13).  And, God answered by allowing her to live outside the camp for only one week.

I have often wondered why Miriam was punished and it did not seem that Aaron was.  However, in reading several different commentaries I have learned that in the original Hebrew Miriam was actually the instigator of this particular session.  The English translation is watered down from the Hebrew and implicates both of them.  Another point that was made was that Aaron, as the high priest, was not allowed to become ritually unclean for ANY reason, so it is entirely reasonable that his “humbling” came from a different direction – the need to ask Moses to speak to YHWY for him.

Chapter 13If you have your map handy that I attached to yesterday’s read, take a look at it Look for Kadesh-Barnea, now look for CANAAN!!.. ALLOW these facts to run through you mind…. the Lord frees them from Slavery, feeds them Manna every day; leads them with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night;  the whole time SAYING I am going to bring you to the Land I promised you flowing with Milk and Honey.  They are standing in Kadesh-Barnea…. they are RIGHT THERE!! They are ON THE EDGE OF THE PROMISED LAND.  Basically it is theirs for the taking.  How do we know, because God said so!!!!!!!

(The Covenant in Genesis 15:)  “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates— 19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites,  Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites,  Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”

We are about to see that the fear of 10 of the 12 spies ….. spread to the 2-3 MILLION people!!!  Their FEAR kept them from TAKING the PROMISED LAND .. they had already been given… it was already theirs…. But FEAR AND DOUBT robbed them of that blessing.  Can anyone else relate to that?  YOU KNOW you are close to something great yet your fear and doubt paralyze you.

SO the 12 men go in (Circle in your Bible verse 6 and 8 Caleb and Hoshea aka Joshua) and it is EXACLTY as the Lord promised.  Exactly. I mean the grapes are so plentiful that it took 2 to carry! SO what happens next?   OH NO >>> I KEEP HOPING THE STORY will change when I read it again ….   I can soooooooo relate to them (the 10). Ummmmm no, too nervous, scared, obstacles in the way,  some Giants in front of me, not sure, what if.   Caleb is the only one with faith: Verse 30 “Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said: ” We SHOULD go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it“ .

Take a look at some of their reasons as to WHY they may have made their decision:

  • Descendants of Anak lived there (a freakishly large group of people…possible the origin of Goliath )
  • The Amalekites lived there (All the way back to Genesis 36 ESAU’s descendants.  Remember Him!  These were awful awful people, their history of barbaric attacks are disgusting to say the least!!)  No one wants to meet up with them.
  • The Nephilim.  Not sure what this is.  There are many stories, commentaries, debates as to what they were, but there is also a lot of controversy.  Was mentioned back in Genesis 6 (long time ago).  Evidently something Large!  Possible they were fallen angles with Satan.  HOWEVER, they died in the flood!!!  At any rate they were GIANORMOUS

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? ” Romans 8:31

Sharing HIS love,

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