Saturday, May 24, 2014

Numbers 11

Today's reading in our daily plan is Numbers 11. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • The Israelites and Moses complained to God.  The Israelites complained about their hardships and lack of meat to eat.  Moses complained about having to deal with the burdens of leading the Israelites.  
  • God despises the Israelites complaining and disciplines them by sending fire and a plague.  
  • God comes to the aid of Moses by bringing 70 of Israel's elders around him to help him lead God's people through the wilderness.  
  • Overwhelmed, Moses doubts God's ability to feed the people meat.  God displays his power by bringing an enormous amount of quail into the Israelites camp.  
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • We see God respond positively to Moses and his complaints and negatively to the rest of the people.  Why? One reason may be because the Israelites complained to one another, and nothing was accomplished.  Moses took his complaint to God, who could solve the problem.  Many of us are good at complaining to each other.  We need to learn to take our problems and struggles and disappointments to God who can do something about them.
  • We tend to let our current circumstances cause us to forget God's faithfulness to us.  The Israelites were dissatisfied because their attention shifted from what they have to what they don't have.  They forgot what God was doing for them - setting them free, making them a nation, giving them a new land - because they were wrapped up in what God wasn't doing for them.  They remembered the delicious Egyptian food they had left behind.  However, they had forgotten the long hours of hard labor and the brutal whip of slavery they were enduring in Egypt.  
  • Moses had witnessed God's power in spectacular miracles as He freed the Israelites from Egypt.  You can read all about those miracles in the book of Exodus.  Yet, at this time Moses is questioning God's ability to feed the hungry Israelites meat.  Difficult circumstances can lull us into forgetting how powerful God can be.  As Moses learned, God's strength is always available. 
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Philippians 2:14 says, "Do everything without grumbling or arguing…"  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.   What have you been complaining about in the past couple of days?  Take time just now to lift that complaint to God.  Pay attention this weekend to other complaints you give voice to. 
  • Do you ever find yourself putting limits on God?  If Moses doubted God's power, how much easier it is for us to do the same.  What current difficulty are you facing?  Have you been trying to face it alone?  Have you doubted God's power to do anything on your behalf?  Take some time to remember God's past works in your life.  Remember that He still has the same power to work in your current circumstances.