Numbers 10-11

Thursday Evening Bible Study

February 4, 2010


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

The Israelites have been getting organized. It’s now been a year since they’ve been delivered from Egypt during the first Passover.

God is in the process of making them into a lean, mean, fighting machine.

They are just about ready to make their first, organized march.

Numbers 10

10:1-10 Silver Trumpets

:1 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:

:2 “Make two silver trumpets for yourself; you shall make them of hammered work; you shall use them for calling the congregation and for directing the movement of the camps.

:3 When they blow both of them, all the congregation shall gather before you at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.

:4 But if they blow only one, then the leaders, the heads of the divisions of Israel, shall gather to you.

:5 When you sound the advance, the camps that lie on the east side shall then begin their journey.

:6 When you sound the advance the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall begin their journey; they shall sound the call for them to begin their journeys.

:7 And when the assembly is to be gathered together, you shall blow, but not sound the advance.

:8 The sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow the trumpets; and these shall be to you as an ordinance forever throughout your generations.

:9 “When you go to war in your land against the enemy who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, and you will be remembered before the Lord your God, and you will be saved from your enemies.

:10 Also in the day of your gladness, in your appointed feasts, and at the beginning of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; and they shall be a memorial for you before your God: I am the Lord your God.”

What were the trumpets?

:2 trumpets - chatsotsrah - (an ancient) trumpet. Translated "trumpet" or "trumpets" 27 times in O.T. Pulpit Commentary: "From the testimony of Josephus, from the representation on the arch of Titus, and from a comparison of ancient Egyptian trumpets, it is clear that these trumpets were straight, long, and narrow, with an expanded mouth.

Clarification:  this is not the “shofar” the curved ram’s horn, which was blown at other times.

There is another word used for "trumpet", though not used here.

The sho-far. Translated "trumpet" or "trumpets" 65 times in O.T. This was a trumpet that was curved, shaped like, or even made from a ram's horn. This was thought to be the trumpet that was blown on the first of the seventh month, for the "Feast of Trumpets".

Who blew the trumpets?

Blowing the trumpets was one of the jobs of the priests (vs.8)

At this point, we are given lots of instructions as to when these trumpets are to be blown and how they are to be used.

What was their purpose?

1. Gathering

vs.3 - “shall gather”
vs. 7 “the assembly”
In the same way we are called to “gather” as well.
(Heb 10:25 NKJV) —25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
I have always wondered if this isn’t the idea behind the trumpet at the rapture, a “gathering” together of the saints –
(1 Th 4:16–17 NKJV) —16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

2. Moving

vs. 5-6 – “sound the advance”
It’s neat that the people have this pillar of cloud to help them know when they are to move on, but it’s not a good idea for 2,000,000 people to get up and start moving at once.
The trumpets provided a clear call of when each group was to get up and head out.

3. Warning

vs.9 - “sound an alarm”
God says the people would be “remembered” before Him when the trumpet blows, almost as if it gets God’s attention.
As believers we are also called to warn each other:
(1 Th 5:14 NKJV) —14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.

4. Celebration

vs.10 - “in the day of your gladness …”
Trumpets can be something to celebrate with.
Play “Gillespie and Armstrong” clip.


Clear Communication

Sometimes we have problems with each other and don’t often realize that the it’s not just that the other person is a jerk, it’s that we haven’t done a good job at communication.
Paul in addressing the use of tongues in the church and the importance of “interpretation” talks about these same issues:
(1 Co 14:6–9 NKJV) —6 But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you unless I speak to you either by revelation, by knowledge, by prophesying, or by teaching? 7 Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played? 8 For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle? 9 So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air.
Solomon had a good word of advice:
(Pr 18:13 NKJV) He who answers a matter before he hears it, It is folly and shame to him.

I think this speaks much of the importance of knowing that you’ve communicated well.

Instead of getting mad, what if you stopped and asked yourself, “What if I didn’t really understand what the other person was saying?

10:11-28 Departure from Sinai

Over the first few chapters of Numbers we saw the process of organizing the tribes taking place.

One of the things we saw was an order set up for when the people were to move.

How do you organize the moving of two million people? We’ll see them take their first steps, their first trial run as they begin their journey into the wilderness.

:11 Now it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, that the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle of the Testimony.

On the second month, the twentieth, they set out.

Note how this fits in with the “delayed” Passover that was to be celebrated by those who were unclean during Passover on the first month of the year. It gave them a chance to celebrate the Passover, then depart.

Also, they have been camped at Sinai for almost a year, now they head out into the wilderness. In a sense, they will be training for the conquest of the Promised Land.

This is a full systems test, like the launching of the first space shuttle, or when the army does its maneuvers out in the desert.

We’ve been studying plenty of chapters on how the Israelites were getting organized. Much of what we’ve studied in Numbers thus far has concerned this.

:12 And the children of Israel set out from the Wilderness of Sinai on their journeys; then the cloud settled down in the Wilderness of Paran.

:13 So they started out for the first time according to the command of the Lord by the hand of Moses.

:14 The standard of the camp of the children of Judah set out first according to their armies; over their army was Nahshon the son of Amminadab.

At this point (vs. 15-27) we will see each tribe setting out in the order that was laid out back in chapter 2.

:15 Over the army of the tribe of the children of Issachar was Nethanel the son of Zuar.

:16 And over the army of the tribe of the children of Zebulun was Eliab the son of Helon.

:17 Then the tabernacle was taken down; and the sons of Gershon and the sons of Merari set out, carrying the tabernacle.

:18 And the standard of the camp of Reuben set out according to their armies; over their army was Elizur the son of Shedeur.

:19 Over the army of the tribe of the children of Simeon was Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai.

:20 And over the army of the tribe of the children of Gad was Eliasaph the son of Deuel.

:21 Then the Kohathites set out, carrying the holy things. (The tabernacle would be prepared for their arrival.)

:22 And the standard of the camp of the children of Ephraim set out according to their armies; over their army was Elishama the son of Ammihud.

:23 Over the army of the tribe of the children of Manasseh was Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur.

:24 And over the army of the tribe of the children of Benjamin was Abidan the son of Gideoni.

:25 Then the standard of the camp of the children of Dan (the rear guard of all the camps) set out according to their armies; over their army was Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai.

:26 Over the army of the tribe of the children of Asher was Pagiel the son of Ocran.

:27 And over the army of the tribe of the children of Naphtali was Ahira the son of Enan.

:28 Thus was the order of march of the children of Israel, according to their armies, when they began their journey.

:29 Now Moses said to Hobab the son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law, “We are setting out for the place of which the Lord said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us, and we will treat you well; for the Lord has promised good things to Israel.”

:30 And he said to him, “I will not go, but I will depart to my own land and to my relatives.”

:31 So Moses said, “Please do not leave, inasmuch as you know how we are to camp in the wilderness, and you can be our eyes.

:32 And it shall be, if you go with us—indeed it shall be—that whatever good the Lord will do to us, the same we will do to you.”

Moses asks Hobab to come with them and be a guide for them in the wilderness.

:29 Hobab – the son of Reuel. Reuel was another name for Moses' father-in-law (also called Jethro). Hobab is Moses’ brother-in-law.

Moses wants him to come along

Moses thinks that Hobab will make a great guide in the wilderness, after all, it is his back yard.  We aren’t told here, but Hobab does go along.

Though it might look as if Hobab didn’t go, based on Judges 4:11, we can deduce that he must have come along, because his descendants were blended in with the Israelites.


Asking advice

There’s no need to re-invent the wheel.  Sometimes us guys aren’t good at asking for directions.
Sometimes there are people who know the territory much better than we do.
We could certainly use their help, but they can certainly use the blessings that God is going to put on us.
(Pr 11:14 NKJV) Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.
Just be careful who you ask advice from:
A business executive injured his leg skiing one weekend. By the time he got home Saturday, the leg was very swollen and he was having difficulty walking, so he called his physician at his home. The doctor told him to soak it in hot water. He tried soaking it in hot water but the leg became more swollen and painful. His maid saw him limping and said, “I don’t know, I’m only a maid, but I always thought it was better to use cold water, not hot, for swelling.” He tried switching to cold water and the swelling rapidly subsided. On Sunday afternoon he called his Dr. again to complain. “Say Doc, what kind of a doctor are you anyway? You told me to soak my leg in hot water and it got worse. My maid told me to use cold water and it got better.” “Really?!?” answered the doctor, “I don’t understand it; my maid said hot water.”

:33 So they departed from the mountain of the Lord on a journey of three days; and the ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them for the three days’ journey, to search out a resting place for them.

I always find it interesting to see how many things take three days in the Scripture.

I also wonder about this concept of a three days’ journey.

It was the length of journey that Moses asked Pharaoh to take the people on:
(Ex 5:3 NKJV) —3 So they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please, let us go three days’ journey into the desert and sacrifice to the Lord our God, lest He fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.”
It was the length of their first journey from the Red Sea before they ran out of water:
(Ex 15:22 NKJV) —22 So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water.
And now they’re going on another three hour (oops, three day) tour.

:34 And the cloud of the Lord was above them by day when they went out from the camp.

:35 So it was, whenever the ark set out, that Moses said: “Rise up, O Lord! Let Your enemies be scattered, And let those who hate You flee before You.”

:36 And when it rested, he said: “Return, O Lord, To the many thousands of Israel.”

Moses is preparing the people for the battles up ahead, even though they won't be fighting for awhile.

The Jewish commentaries say that Moses used to speak this out every time the people set out to a new location.

It’s a teaching rhyme, preparing the people for war, teaching them to depend upon God.

Numbers 11

Note: This chapter takes place after the first organized three day journey.

11:1-15 Complaints

:1 Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; for the Lord heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the Lord burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp.

:2 Then the people cried out to Moses, and when Moses prayed to the Lord, the fire was quenched.

:3 So he called the name of the place Taberah, because the fire of the Lord had burned among them.

:4 Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: “Who will give us meat to eat?

:4 mixed multitude

NLT – “foreign rabble”

The language suggests that these people were actually from the group of non-Israelites who went out from Egypt with the Israelites, hence the “mixed multitude”

Sometimes the people around us that aren’t really all that committed to the Lord can lead us down paths that get us into trouble.

:4 yielded to intense craving

They began to complain about the kinds of food they missed back in Egypt.

Keep in mind, these people do have plenty to eat.

For the last year they have been eating this miraculous stuff that just appears every morning – “manna”.
But the manna is the same thing every day.

:5 We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic;

:6 but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!”

Egypt is often a kind of picture of our old life, our life before meeting Jesus.

It’s a dangerous thing to look back fondly to those “good old days”.

The danger is that we don’t look back very truthfully. Though there were leeks and onions, there was also pain, slavery, hardship, and death.

In a sense, the “manna” is a sort of picture of the Word of God, how God feeds us every day.

:7 Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its color like the color of bdellium.

:8 The people went about and gathered it, ground it on millstones or beat it in the mortar, cooked it in pans, and made cakes of it; and its taste was like the taste of pastry prepared with oil.

:9 And when the dew fell on the camp in the night, the manna fell on it.

Could you imagine eating the same single food for every meal for a year! Wouldn’t you complain?  Of course it did taste like pastry!


A man decided to join a monastery and one of the rules of the group was that you were only allowed to speak two words every ten years. At the end of ten years he said, “Bad food!” Ten more years went by and he said, “Hard bed!” Finally, on his 30th anniversary with the brothers, he thundered, “I quit!” And the priest in charge responded, “You might as well. All you do is complain anyway.”


Complaining versus faith.

What’s wrong with complaining?
Complaining displays a lack of trust.
A few chapters from now (13-14), we’ll study about the sending of the spies into the Promised Land. The bad report of the ten spies led the people to grumble and complain.  At the end of the forty years, Moses will look back and comment:
(Deu 1:26-33 NLT) “But you rebelled against the command of the LORD your God and refused to go in. {27} You murmured and complained in your tents and said, ‘The LORD must hate us, bringing us here from Egypt to be slaughtered by these Amorites. {28} How can we go on? Our scouts have demoralized us with their report. They say that the people of the land are taller and more powerful than we are, and that the walls of their towns rise high into the sky! They have even seen giants there—the descendants of Anak!’ {29} “But I said to you, ‘Don’t be afraid! {30} The LORD your God is going before you. He will fight for you, just as you saw him do in Egypt. {31} And you saw how the LORD your God cared for you again and again here in the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child. Now he has brought you to this place.’ {32} But even after all he did, you refused to trust the LORD your God, {33} who goes before you looking for the best places to camp, guiding you by a pillar of fire at night and a pillar of cloud by day.
If you really believe that God loves you, that He has a wonderful plan for your life, that He is leading you and creating circumstances in your life to bring you into that promised plan (or, promised land), why should you ever complain about anything?

:10 Then Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, everyone at the door of his tent; and the anger of the Lord was greatly aroused; Moses also was displeased.

If you’ve ever been a parent, or been in any kind of leadership, you know how Moses is feeling right now.

You honestly are trying to do your best, but sometimes the only feedback you get is just complaining.

:11 So Moses said to the Lord, “Why have You afflicted Your servant? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all these people on me?

:12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I beget them, that You should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a guardian carries a nursing child,’ to the land which You swore to their fathers?

:13 Where am I to get meat to give to all these people? For they weep all over me, saying, ‘Give us meat, that we may eat.’

:14 I am not able to bear all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me.

:14 the burden is too heavy – There is a burden involved in ministry.

In describing the kinds of things an apostle went through, Paul wrote,

(2 Cor 11:27-29 NLT) Who is weak without my feeling that weakness? Who is led astray, and I do not burn with anger?

But if we aren’t careful, the burden can begin to feel too great sometimes.

I think this usually happens because we have taken on more than God intends for us to do.

Sometimes you get to feeling like everything depends upon you. If that’s the way you’re feeling, then something’s wrong. God designed you just to be one functioning part of a bigger, working organism, the Body of Christ.

:15 If You treat me like this, please kill me here and now—if I have found favor in Your sight—and do not let me see my wretchedness!”

Can you say “pity party”? Even Moses had pity parties.

11:16-30 Answering the problems

11:16-17 Seventy Elders

:16 So the Lord said to Moses: “Gather to Me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tabernacle of meeting, that they may stand there with you.

:17 Then I will come down and talk with you there. I will take of the Spirit that is upon you and will put the same upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone.

:17 take of the Spirit

God isn’t going to take some of Moses’ own spirit. God is going to give these men the same Holy Spirit that He has given to Moses.


Stress and Delegation

The answer to Moses’ stress over leadership is delegation.
Moses has already been down this same road. A year earlier he was in a mess:
(Ex 18:12–18 NKJV) —12 Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, took a burnt offering and other sacrifices to offer to God. And Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat bread with Moses’ father-in-law before God. 13 And so it was, on the next day, that Moses sat to judge the people; and the people stood before Moses from morning until evening. 14 So when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he did for the people, he said, “What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit, and all the people stand before you from morning until evening?” 15 And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. 16 When they have a difficulty, they come to me, and I judge between one and another; and I make known the statutes of God and His laws.” 17 So Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you do is not good. 18 Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself.

Jethro advised Moses to pick out good men, teach them God’s statutes, and then allow them to handle most of the questions and disputes among the people while Moses could just handle the difficult cases.

Moses set up seventy men to be elders over the people.

Now God is going to utilize this same group of men to help carry all the burden of the people.
I find it instructive that at this point, God doesn’t reinvent the wheel for Moses. They already have a system of leadership in place, but it seems that Moses isn’t using that system to its fullest.
Part of the answer to Moses’ problem is having people to delegate to.

The answer to stress doesn’t come by just asking any person to do your job, but asking the right people. Sometimes it takes time to raise up leaders and mature them to the point where they are able to help with the work.

Part of the answer is using what you already have.

Moses already has leaders. But he’s not using them the way he should.

He has been owning the entire load instead of sharing it.

11:18-23 Meat Galore

:18 Then you shall say to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the hearing of the Lord, saying, “Who will give us meat to eat? For it was well with us in Egypt.” Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you shall eat.

:19 You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days,

:20 but for a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have despised the Lord who is among you, and have wept before Him, saying, “Why did we ever come up out of Egypt?” ’ ”


Answers to prayer

Be careful what you ask God for, you just might get it! They’re going to get meat alright. Plenty of it.
It’s important to realize that sometimes the very things we “crave” are only going to make us sick later on.
A man is walking down the beach and comes across an old bottle. He picks it up, pulls out the cork and out pops a genie. The genie says, “Thank you for freeing me from the bottle. In return I will grant you three wishes.” The man says “Great! I always dreamed of this and I know exactly what I want. First, I want one billion dollars in a Swiss bank account.” Poof! There is a flash of light and a piece of paper with account numbers appears in his hand. He continues, “Next, I want a brand new red Ferrari right here.” Poof! There is a flash of light and a bright red brand-new Ferrari appears right next to him. He continues, “Finally, I want to be irresistible to women.” Poof! There is a flash of light and he turns into a box of chocolates.
I think that sometimes God is gracious enough to NOT give us what we ask for.
Think about that next time God DOESN’T answer your prayer.
Sometimes I think we don’t really learn the lessons we need to until we actually get that thing we’re asking for … and find out it’s not what we thought it’d be.

:21 And Moses said, “The people whom I am among are six hundred thousand men on foot; yet You have said, ‘I will give them meat, that they may eat for a whole month.’

The number of 600,000 people referred only to the fighting men. It did not include women, children, and the elderly. More likely it was about 2,000,000 people altogether.

:22 Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, to provide enough for them? Or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to provide enough for them?”

It kind of reminds me of the disciple’s response to Jesus telling them to feed the five thousand:

(Jn 6:7 NKJV) Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.”

Moses responds as he thinks that God is asking him to be the one to provide meat for the people.

:23 And the Lord said to Moses, “Has the Lord’s arm been shortened? Now you shall see whether what I say will happen to you or not.”

God is saying that He will be the one to provide for the people.

How often do we forget this?

Our problem is often that we look at our problems from our human, finite perspective.

To Moses, it seemed humanly impossible to provide meat to eat for all these people.

We get depressed over our problems because we can’t see any way out of them. After all, if we saw a way out, we wouldn’t get depressed.

If I’m a 70 pound person, facing a 400 pound problem, that seems like a pretty hefty problem. Unless you have a 5 billion pound God.

We need to keep our focus on just who God is, and whether or not He’s involved in our problems.


The importance of a correct theology.

Believe it or not, this is what “theology” is all about. It’s the study of just who God is, and what His abilities are. “Doctrine” can actually be helpful!
If you’re having a hard time remembering just how great God is, spend some time meditating in Isaiah 40.
He is a great God, far bigger than any problem.

11:24-30 Elders and the Spirit

:24 So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord, and he gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people and placed them around the tabernacle.

:25 Then the Lord came down in the cloud, and spoke to him, and took of the Spirit that was upon him, and placed the same upon the seventy elders; and it happened, when the Spirit rested upon them, that they prophesied, although they never did so again.

This has happened other places like when Spirit came upon Saul (1Sam. 10:10)

(1 Sam 10:10 NLT) When Saul and his servant arrived at Gibeah, they saw the prophets coming toward them. Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul, and he, too, began to prophesy.

These elders are experiencing what we’ve seen in Acts 2, a kind of baptism of the Holy Spirit. And as a result, they begin to speak prophetically, speaking for God.

Apparently this was only a one time deal for these guys, a prophetic utterance to authenticate that God’s Spirit was on them.

:26 But two men had remained in the camp: the name of one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad.

Both these men were fathers. Eldad was Spanish (“El Dad”). Medad was also known as Tarzan (“Me Dad, you Jane”).

:26 And the Spirit rested upon them. Now they were among those listed, but who had not gone out to the tabernacle; yet they prophesied in the camp.

The phenomena wasn’t just confined to the area of the Tabernacle. Even these fellows were filled with the Spirit even though they were in some other place.


God works anywhere

If we’re not careful, we can fall into the trap that only people that go to Calvary Fullerton can be used by God. Or that God only works within these four walls.
The truth is, God works in lots of places. God works in the lives of lots of people.
You can be filled with God’s Spirit anywhere.
(Ps 139:7–10 NKJV) —7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.

:27 And a young man ran and told Moses, and said, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”

:28 So Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, one of his choice men, answered and said, “Moses my lord, forbid them!”

God bless Joshua, he doesn’t want anything done improperly.


Zealous but Wrong

Joshua has the idea that if this certain thing isn’t done just a certain way, that God is somehow unable to work.
Churches have split over the silliest things - length of hair, color of carpet, place of pulpit, kind of music.
It seems that people get kind of attached to the kinds of music they got saved under. My parents’ generation loves to sing their old hymns. But to me, they’re old hymns. I’d rather go with the newer, more contemporary worship choruses. But I can get stuck in a rut too, thinking that God can only work in these certain choruses.
The disciples had this same kind of attitude.
(Mk 9:38–40 NKJV) —38 Now John answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. 40 For he who is not against us is on our side.
God uses lots of kinds of churches. Even non-Calvary churches.
Sometimes our “zeal” for what we think is the right thing can cause problems
A cowboy appeared before St. Peter at the Pearly Gates. ‘Have you ever done anything of particular merit?’ St. Peter asked. ‘Well, I can think of one thing,’ the cowboy offered. ‘On a trip to the Black Hills out in South Dakota , I came upon a gang of bikers who were threatening a young woman. I directed them to leave her alone, but they wouldn’t listen. So, I approached the largest and most tattooed biker and smacked him in the face, kicked his bike over, ripped out his nose ring, and threw it on the ground. I yelled, ‘Now, back off or I’ll kick the daylights out of all of you!’ St. Peter was impressed, ‘When did this happen?’ ‘Couple of minutes ago.’


God isn’t finished with Joshua.

God can take people who have lots of rough edges (like Joshua), refine them, and use them wonderfully.
This was the same Joshua who would take Moses’ place as leader over Israel. This was the same Joshua who would be in charge of conquering the Promised Land.
Don’t feel like God can never use you because you’ve got some rough edges that He’s been sanding down lately.
If you stay open to the Lord, he just may make a Joshua out of you.
All that God is looking for is an open heart.

:29 Then Moses said to him, “Are you zealous for my sake? Oh, that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!”

:30 And Moses returned to the camp, he and the elders of Israel.


Right heart for ministry

Moses isn’t concerned about whether or not he is the only one with the Holy Spirit working in him.
Moses wants all the help he can get.
When you’re doing ministry, it’s a wonderful experience to be used by God in someone else’s life.
This can be a powerfully intoxicating thing, being appreciated by other people.
If you’re not careful, you can fall into the trap of thinking that you’re the only one God can use. Or you can become fearful of competition, lest people stop “following” you.

John the Baptist had the correct attitude when people asked him if he had a problem with more people following Jesus instead of himself:

(Jn 3:30 NKJV) —30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

F.B. Meyer was a pastor in England during the time that Charles Spurgeon also was a pastor. For a time he had real problems of jealousy towards Spurgeon’s ministry, until he began to pray for Spurgeon, and for God’s blessings on him. Then he began to find his own church growing as well with what he called the “overflow” of Spurgeon’s ministry.

11:31-35 Quail

:31 Now a wind went out from the Lord, and it brought quail from the sea and left them fluttering near the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and about a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp, and about two cubits above the surface of the ground.

It could mean that the pile of quail around the camp was three feet high.

Some think this simply means that the quail flew three feet above the ground and so they were easily captured.

:32 And the people stayed up all that day, all night, and all the next day, and gathered the quail (he who gathered least gathered ten homers); and they spread them out for themselves all around the camp.

:32 ten homers

What a baseball team! In two days the least had ten homers, oops, not baseball homer!

A homer was 6.52 bushels, hence each person had at least 65 bushels! (a bushel is 32 quarts)

:32 spread them out

Refers to laying out meat to dry, a way of preserving the meat.

:33 But while the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was aroused against the people, and the Lord struck the people with a very great plague.

We have to guess that this was different than God’s promise of quail for a month until it comes out of their nostrils.

It seems that the response of the people in their greed went way overboard, causing God to respond with this plague.

:34 So he called the name of that place Kibroth Hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had yielded to craving.

:35 From Kibroth Hattaavah the people moved to Hazeroth, and camped at Hazeroth.

:34 Kibroth Hattaavah – “graves of greediness”, or, “graves of desires”

This plague was not for complaining about the food and wanting to go back to Egypt, this was for plain old greediness.

Isn’t this a good picture of us in our greed?

We lust and lust and lust after something, and when we finally get it, we overdose on it until it makes us sick.

Or else, when we get what we are working so hard for, it usually doesn’t seem to satisfy quite as much as we thought it would.


Greed and discontentment

Jesus said,
(Lk 12:15 NKJV) And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

In our greed, we get the mindset that if we only had such and such thing, then our life would be complete. But your true worth does not depend upon the bottom line on your balance sheet. Your true worth is based upon the value God places upon you and the things of God that He has worked into your life.

The answer to greed is learning to be content with what we have.
(Php 4:11–13 NASB95) —11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

There’s a real secret here, learning to live within your means. It’s a secret because it’s not common knowledge. Not everyone knows how to do this.

But it’s something we CAN do with Christ’s help.