From Complaints to Apostasy

Scripture: Numbers 11:1-35, Numbers 12:1-16, Numbers 13:1-33
Date: 10/31/2009 
Lesson: 5
The Israelites quickly descend into open rebellion against God, resulting in their 40-year journey in the wilderness.
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Good morning and Happy Sabbath. We're so glad that you are tuning in again like you do every week, joining us from across the country and around the world, our extended Sabbath school family, we welcome you. Happy, Happy Sabbath. Greetings from Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church here in California. Some of you have written in with your favorite requests.

And so we're going to sing those this morning, two of them. The first one is, "I shall see the King." Pull out your hymnals those of you at home and sing along, 426. We'll do the first, second and third verse. And this is from John and Ruth in australia, luis, mary, and jim, dianne, jamie and buffy in florida, janet in jamaica, neil in saudi arabia, bechay in south korea, and sonny and cathy in the united arab emirates. So we have a favorite.

And we will sing that, all 3 verses, 426. [Music] Thank you for that song. I like that one. And you know, we definitely will see the King one day very soon if things keep going at the pace that they are going in this world. And we know that they're only going to get faster.

If you have a favorite song that you would like to sing with us, you know what to do. Or if this is your first time tuning in, I will tell you. Go to, and click on the "contact us" link. And you can send in your favorite hymn request, and we will sing that with you on an upcoming Sabbath, Our next song this morning is, "he hideth my soul," 468.

This is from phil and joy in--520, that's right, 520 is the right number-- phil and joy in england, remy, rose and jess in florida, joyann and virla in New York, nini in nigeria, John in Oklahoma, eden, nhel and cheche in the Philippines, marie, bryan and feziwe in public of korea, Paul and diane in Texas, raquel in united arab emirates, nelly in uruguay and Daniel in wales, 520. And we will do the first, second and fourth verse. [Music] Father in Heaven, we thank you so much for covering us with your hand, for protecting us and pouring out your love upon us, and giving us so many blessings. Father, we have so much to be thankful for, just the fact that we are here this morning, that we have a place to worship you. There are so many people that don't have a church to go to.

They are either a shut-in in their homes--and we pray that you'll be with each one this morning that is in that situation. And those that are meeting under a tree, or meeting even in persecution, I pray that you'll be with each one, that you will give them the Sabbath blessing that we are going to have here at central church. We thank you so much for bringing us here this morning to worship you. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time, our lesson study is going to be brought to us by our senior pastor here at central church, Pastor Doug Batchelor.

Thank you, debbie and jessica, our singers, our musicians. We've got a virtual orchestra, don't we? That's really neat. And these are just members here at central that volunteer their time and share their gifts. And that's very exciting. We appreciate that.

Um--i want to welcome everybody, hi. Where was i? I think I was in Canada last week. I want to welcome our friends. We had a lot of friends up in calgary. We had a great meeting up there in the city of calgary, a number of churches came together.

And we met at what they call the stampede grounds up there. Calgary is something like the Sacramento of Canada, except it's a lot colder. Matter of fact, it snowed the day I was leaving. But I want to welcome our friends up there. And we had a good turnout.

We had about 2,000 people that came out for our weekend program. I really thought it was a lot more at first, because when I first entered the stampede grounds, it seemed like there were about 10,000 cars. And I said, "wow, I had no idea people there were watching so much of 'Amazing Facts.'" Then I found out that in the building next to us the dalai lama was there. And so--i asked someone to go see if he'd come over for our meetings, but he never did show. Anyway, that was really neat.

And so I want to welcome our friends in Canada and all of our friends. You know, we have a lot of people that participate in our Sabbath school program in the central church worship service. And we have a lot of people who are online members. Debbie mentioned them in her prayer. And I want to make something clear in case there's any confusion.

Central church is not out to recruit members of existing churches where they're attending. But there are a lot of people that are isolated where there is no church, or they're shut-ins or for some reason they would like to be part of the church. They believe the message. And we've just provided a way where they can be some of our online members. And we go through the regular process.

We go over the beliefs and the baptismal vows with these people. And we make sure that that's done copacetically. Matter of fact, pastor Luke fesinton is right up front here and his wife, jeri. They're one of our online pastors. And pastor harold white, they answer the e-mail.

These people can worship with us. They can study with us. And as I've said before, they can do about everything except download a hug and a potluck. So some things they haven't figured out how to reassemble through the internet yet, but we want to try and minister as much as possible to these folks. We're going to australia.

I'll be there in about 10 days. A lot of folks are out in the outback there. They can't go to a church. They're out in the middle of nowhere, but they've got a satellite. And they got internet.

And they're able to worship with us. And so we're so thankful that we can provide a mechanism where we can give some connection and fellowship through this technology. Well now we're gonna study our lesson. And we want to encourage everybody to study along with us. We're going through our lesson now dealing with the subject of "people on the move: the book of Numbers.

" And when you would first think about the book of Numbers, some people think that it's just a book of accounting that's going on. No, the beginning of the book does some chronology, but you get into the book of Numbers, there's a lot of really amazing stories in there. And a lot of good, biblical, Gospel teaching in the book of Numbers. And we're gonna talk about some of that today. And really, counting is even part of the Gospel when you think about it, the chronologies and the counting.

When it says in acts 2, ,000 were baptized in 1 day, ,000 in 1 day, 5,000 in a day, how do they know that? Somebody counted. And when Jesus tells the parable about the shepherd that had 100 sheep and 1 is missing, I mean if I had 100 kids and 1 was missing, I might not know for a week. But that shepherd counted his sheep, right? And so counting is a good thing. That's part of evangelism and soul-winning. You want to know when people are there and--by the way, I think every member ought to be trained in evangelism, don't you? And part of Sabbath school used to be where the people would get together and we'd talk about the Bible studies that we'd done during the week, and the witnessing that we'd done to inspire and inculcate that mindset in every member.

Every member should be a minister. And if you'd like to know more about that, that's one reason Amazing Facts has these afcoe training programs. Afcoe stands for Amazing Facts college or center of evangelism. And the beginning of this year, what we do is we take the students through an entire evangelistic series where they get involved in the pre-work. They work with an evangelist through the evangelistic meetings.

And then they learn follow-up. And we basically teach soul-winning. And we've had thousands of people now that have gone through the afcoe program. Got one going on right now up in grass valley. We're gonna be having one right here at Sacramento central, first of the year.

You'll be working with Pastor Doug and evangelist erik flickinger. And so you want to know more about that, check into it. We want to teach everybody to get involved in evangelism. And that'll be the first of the year. So we're dealing with our lesson number 5 now, talks about, "from complaints to apostasy," "from complaints to apostasy.

" And it's based on what we're studying specifically today is the chapters in the book of Numbers from 11-14. That's a lot of really important information. I have done entire sermons on just 11 and just 12. And I've done a sermon on and 14. And so we'll see how we can compress all this information.

We have a memory verse, Philippians 2:14-15, Philippians 2:14-15. I invite you to say that with me. Are you ready? They need to hear you here, our class that's listening on tv. Here we go. It says, "do all things without murmuring and disputings, that you may become blameless and harmless, The Sons of God without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.

" Again, Philippians 2:14-15. Why did it use that verse as the memory verse? Because in our lesson we're gonna talk about complaining and murmuring. And it says to do these things without murmuring and disputings. We need to learn how to be a people that are content. Oh, you know, I looked up and I realized, I knew I was forgetting something, we have a free offer.

It's called, "compromise, conformity, and courage." And it's offer number 774, for those who are listening on radio, 866-788-3966. Just call that number. Now, how often have you heard about the children of Israel's murmuring and complaining? That was just them back then, right? We've overcome that. So we're just talking about past history. Or do we sometimes murmur and complain.

You think about--think about the drastic difference that the children of Israel experienced between the slavery-- and you look at the words, "the hard bondage." They made them serve with rigor. And they were there in the mud pits making bricks without straw. It was just--it was--you know, some people are prisoners. And then in prisoners, they're on a chain gang, where they're not only prisoners, but like cracking rocks with mallets all day long. I mean it's just a miserable existence.

That's what it was like. And now they're free. They're going through the wilderness. They've spoiled the Egyptians. Their pockets are bulging with gold and silver.

So they've got money. And they've got all these blessings. And they're being fed with bread from heaven. They're giving water in a miraculous way from a rock that seems to follow them somehow through the wilderness. And God is giving them victory over their enemies.

The very presence of God is glowing in their camp. And they're complaining. Now, you know, even when you're blessed, you'll have good days and bad days. But don't forget you're blessed. I was just walking outside a minute ago.

And I thought, you know, these are the good ol' days. It's such a beautiful day, for this time of year, fall, when it's not too hot and not too cold and the sun is shining. It's a beautiful Sabbath day. And you know, I'm walking just--i was walking between rooms in the church, and I thought, "praise God." I said, "it's beautiful. I feel great.

This is wonderful." And sometimes we forget just the blessings that God--it doesn't mean we don't have problems. I got problems. If you want to listen, I'll give you all my problems. But I mean you're always gonna have problems, right? But you've gotta learn how to just praise God and realize--take it in stride. There's gonna be challenges.

Sometimes the water ran short. And they had to wait until God worked another miracle, but they always lost faith and complained and murmured. Or, you know, they had some challenge and then they would complain, "oh, the same bread all the time." Or they complained about their leaders. Or they complained about how long the road was. And there'll always be something to complain about.

Did you know that? And there'll always be something to be thankful for. I know people who are going through tremendous trials right now. And in spite of it, they said, "but, you know, we're very thankful for this and this and this." And so even in the midst of their trial, they're thanking the Lord. So you've heard the expression, "some people always see the cup as half empty. And some people see the cup as half full.

" And it really has to do with your perspective on life. So are you a person that murmurs and complains? Alright, let's read Numbers 11:1-2. "Now when the people complained--" and this is under the heading of Sunday, oct 25, "the sin of ingratitude--" "when the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes, the Lord heard it and his anger was kindled. And the fire of the Lord--" I'm gonna stop real quick. How does God feel about it when we complain after he's given us so much to be thankful for? Does anyone here like ingratitude, when you're not appreciated, when you bend over backwards to do nice things for people and then they complain? It's like, you know, you pick up a hitchhiker, and he gets in your car, and he says, "I don't care for this car.

It's not very new." It's just--you say, "well, get back out." I remember one time my father took someone out to-- it's actually took my grandparents out to dinner. And took 'em to a nice restaurant. And after he paid the bill, the waiter came over, and he said, "sir, this tip is not the appropriate percentage." Well, my dad wasn't that impressed with the service, so he gave--you're not required to give a certain tip. It's based on service, isn't that right? So my dad--he took the check he just used to pay and he tore it up. He said, "alright, well you get nothing.

I'm just paying for the food." No, I'm not like that. But my dad was pretty harsh. He said, "you know, if you're not gonna be grateful." So, God doesn't like it either when we're unthankful. The Bible has a lot about saying--being thankful. The opposite of being thankful is complaining after you're blessed.

And that's really not healthy, because--it says, "the anger of the Lord was kindled. And the fire of the Lord burned against them, and consumed some of the outlaying parts of the camp." Now I want to pause here. Why does it say that "some of outlaying parts of the camp?" Did God just say, "well, I'm going to--I'm gonna take it out on those who are on the outskirts of the camp," or was it those on the outskirts of the camp that maybe were the biggest complainers? Let me tell you how this works. When you're going on a long March, sometimes those who are straggling in the back are doing the most grumbling and complaining. The other thing you'll notice is the ones who are upfront-- your a-students sit up front.

Notice that, class? Sorry, nothing against those in the balcony or in the back. Well, maybe there's a little hint there. But you leave too much space between the back pews and the front pews and it gives the demons a place to sit. And they can obstruct the message. By the way, that's an inspiration.

I'm not making that up. You ought to get up to the front. How did Peter follow Jesus just before he denied him? When the crowd arrested Christ, the mob, and they carried him off, it says, "Peter followed at a distance." He was on the outskirts. When the wolves attack a flock, which ones do they manage to pick off? The ones that are on the fringe. And so I believe-- maybe you think I'm reading too much into it.

I think the reason that God's anger burned among those that were at a distance, that were not in the middle, is because they were trying to hang back. You don't want to be right in the middle. I'd like to tell you, you do want to be right in the middle. You want to be in the middle of the flock, you want to be in the middle of the message. And that's where you're the safest.

That's where you're the closest to the shepherd. If you're hanging back in the edges and on the fringe-- it's like folks that say, "well, I want to be in the church, but I also want to be in the world, can I be kind of half-way? So as we go through the wilderness, I don't want to get too far away from Egypt, so I'm staying back." So the anger of the Lord burned up those that were on the fringe, they were on the edges. It's dangerous to stay near the edge. Is this--you get my point here? And so I have a feeling that the Lord was sending a message. He said, "don't be near the edge of my people.

Get in the middle." And stay as close to the shepherd as you can. And then it goes on to say, "but the people cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord, and the fire abated." Now Moses is a type of Jesus. And so they cried out to Moses. He interceded for them. And through his intercession, the plague, the affliction was lifted.

Sometimes we murmur and we complain and God will chastise us. And then all of the sudden we become very thankful we're still alive. And we intercede, or we pray to the Lord and he intercedes for us. Someone read for me--I've given you a verse that basically says the same thing, but it's in Psalms 78:34. Go ahead and read that for us.

"When he slew them, then they sought him; and they returned and sought earnestly for God." Now that sounds pretty severe. It says, "when God slew 'em, then they sought him." How many times in the history of Israel can you see where the people began to wander after the pagans? They compromised their faith, God withdrew his protection--listen how I'm wording this--God withdrew his protection, the pagan nations came in and slew them, they called out to the Lord, then he intervened for them again. Sometimes--oh, let me see. I'm gonna do my best to repeat this from memory. But I was reading something about when hurricane katrina hit and all that calamity, that someone was interviewing, I believe it's, billy graham's daughter, anne bell graham.

And they said, "you know, if God is love, then why did he allow this to happen? Look at this disaster. Why did he allow all those people there to suffer in new orleans and the outskirts there?" And she said, "well, it's not that God did it. It's that when a nation basically pushes God out of their, you know, daily lives, we're pushing aside his protection. And when you push aside the protection of God, these calamities come. I mean when God withdrew his hedge of protection from job, the devil brought even storms, didn't he? And so God is constantly protecting his people.

But if we reject him, and we push him back, we're gonna see all kinds of plagues. And there may be more of that to come. That's why God said, "if my people that are called by my name--" what is this, Chronicles 7:14? "If my people that are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked way, then I will hear in heaven, I will forgive their sin, and I will heal their land." So he's saying, "your land is being afflicted, but you need to humble yourself, turn from your sins, return to me, then I will intervene, and protect you and bless again." And so, you know, there are two forces at war. One wants to destroy us. One wants to save us.

The devil wants to destroy us; God wants to save us. If you push away God, you push away your protection and salvation. There's only one thing left. If you reject light, you've got darkness. If you reject his blessing, you've got cursing.

And so this is what was happening to the children of Israel. John 12:4, "then one of his disciples--" you remember when mary magdalene anointed the feet of Jesus, and she anointed his head? She poured that expensive ointment on him. Someone murmured and complained. Who was it? "Then one of the disciples," this is John 12:4, "Judas iscariot, Simon's son, who would betray him, said, 'why was this fragrant oil not sold for 300 denarii and given to the poor?' This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it." So here's Judas, he's one of the fringe followers of Jesus, he's following, but he's not really--his heart isn't right with God. And--but he's still following, isn't he? And you know, even in the children of Israel, did they have some Judas' in the crowd? You see all through the history, there were some who were instigators.

And Judas is instigating the other 12. And he's rebuked by mary's generosity, 'cause he's so selfish and covetous, that he begins to criticize and murmur and complain about the gift that's given. And Jesus rebukes Judas. And Judas goes out and then sells 'em for pieces of silver." And so you can see God doesn't appreciate that murmuring, complaining spirit. Peter 4:12, "beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial that's gonna try you, as though some strange thing has happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you are partakers of Christ's sufferings, that when his glory is revealed, you may be glad with exceeding joy.

" Now Peter is telling us that even though God has blessed us, in our walk, we're going to have fiery trials. Don't complain. Don't be amazed. Just thank the Lord when you're suffering that you're worthy to be persecuted for righteousness' sake. I mean that's one of the things that separates a genuine Christian from the people in the world, is we praise God through our trials.

When is your best opportunity to be a witness for the Lord? Doesn't everybody complain about their problems? Nobody says, "what a great Christian. Listen to him complain." Nobody's impressed by that. But they do say, "what a great Christian. They are praising God even though they're suffering." And so when you can be thankful through your fiery trials, that's when you're the best witness. It's easy to say that.

It's harder to do it. Isn't it? When you rejoice when you're persecuted for righteousness sake, that's when you're the greatest witness. I'm gonna read Philippians 4:11-13. Paul said, "not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content." Was Paul in jail in Philippi? What did Paul and silas do in jail in Philippi? After Paul and silas are whipped and beaten and thrown in the stocks in the jail in Philippi, what is the Bible record? They sang. They praised the Lord.

They pray. And God sends an angel and opens the prison through an earthquake. And they're liberated. So when they are thankful through their trials, God blesses them. He says, "I've learned to be content in whatever state I'm in.

Paul really demonstrated that. No matter what state he was in, he praised God. He was content. Oh, by the way, I want to finish reading that. "Everywhere," I'm in verse 12 I believe, Philippians 4, "everywhere, in all things, I have learned to be full and hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." So, you know, just be patient. If you're going through the wilderness, you're going to have trials, but God still blesses you. Just be thankful. Do your best to make it as good as you can. You know, a lot of times when I'm traveling things go wrong.

And I do my best to plan so I'll be comfortable and convenient. I mean everyone here like to be comfortable? I do. I mean who wants to be--if I go camping, I take an airbed. I don't want to sleep on the rocky ground. But sometimes things go wrong.

And you just got to make the best you can of the circumstances. And I've had flights that are cancelled. And all of the sudden, you know, and there's no hotels because there's a snowstorm. And every hotel in denver is full. And I mean, you gotta sleep in the airport.

Or I'm too cheap to buy $150 hotel for 4 hours until the next plane or whatever, you know. And I say, "alright, where can I get comfortable in this airport? I'm not gonna complain. You just gotta get, you know, adjust. It'll pass. And the Lord's taught me that sometimes you can just enjoy things a lot better if you decide not to whine and complain and say.

..and you know, when I have that attitude, God often does something remarkable to bless me. I remember one time I got on a plane. And they had overbooked the plane. And I had a seat and someone else had a seat. And this lady's sitting down with her two kids and one of them has my seat.

So what am I gonna do? "This is my seat. Tell one of my kids to get off the plane." And so I go, "alright, Lord, I don't know what this means. Am I gonna have to wait for the next flight?" And so i--the stewardess says, "stand here. We'll see--the flight's full, but we'll see what we can do." And I stand there. And I stand there.

And I say, "oh, boy." You know, I'm praying. And pretty soon she says, "well, come with me." There was one first-class seat left. And so I tried to have a good attitude, and the Lord blessed. You know what I mean? And so, but it's like that all through life, you know, and you may suffer sometimes. But then God will compensate.

Just be patient. You sing through your trials, and you know what Paul ends up doing? He gets to stay in the jailer's house. The jailer washes his wounds, and he baptizes the jailer. And so God always compensates, so--alright, well I've said enough about that section. "Pressures on leadership," Numbers 11, we're gonna jump to the next section here.

Let me read this for you. Numbers 11:4-6, "now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving," alright I want to talk again about who are the culprits in this story. Who are the mixed multitude? Were they Israelites? Or were they some of the other Egyptian slaves that said, "hey look, if they're letting the slaves go, we're gonna get on this train also. And we want to follow your God." They didn't necessarily want to follow the God of Israel, but they wanted out of slavery. And so at the last moment, they said, "yeah, yeah, yeah, we're converts too.

And so they were claiming citizenship of the Israelites to get out of Egypt. And they were just--they called them a "mixed multitude," 'cause they were from all different nations and all different backgrounds and all different religions. But they wanted to get on the Exodus train and get out of Egypt. But their hearts weren't totally in it. And they were often the instigators of all kinds of problems, the "mixed multitude.

" You're always gonna have that in the church too. People who are there, they're kind of going along for the ride, but their hearts aren't really in it. And they begin to murmur and complain about the food. And so they started to say-- they yielded to craving, intense craving. You know, I want to stop there too.

Is there a difference between craving and hunger? If a woman's pregnant and she says, "I've just got to have mayonnaise and peanut butter. Can you get it for me? Go to a 7-11 for me," or something like that. Is that a real nutritional need, or is that a craving? I mean there may be other good food in the refrigerator. And sometimes people will say, "I'm starving. I've just got to have this chocolate bar.

" Is that hunger or is that craving? And there's a difference, isn't there? So it's not that they're hungry. Does God feed 'em every day? Their problem is craving. "So they yielded to craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: 'who will give us meat to eat?'" So now they're craving for several things. They're not only wanting meat. They said, "we remember the fish we ate freely.

" Now they're beginning to drift off into the good ol' days, you know. They're reminiscing. "We remember the fish we ate freely in Egypt, and the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic." Now I'll bet you that when they in Egypt eating those things, they didn't enjoy it that much. But you know, sometimes when you're reminiscing things seem a lot better looking back than they did. You know, I think about a camping trip you might go on.

"Ah, wasn't that great to sit around the fire and to eat that canned food." Or just, you know and, "oh, those were the good ol' days." Well, you know, thinking back when we ate it, it did actually taste burnt. But just the idea of being around the camp, the nostalgia, you know, of it all. So the devil will bring back these memories and make 'em seem better than reality. Are onions that good? Yes. [Laughing] you ready to go back to Egypt for onions, jan? I'm just teasing you.

They said, "who will give us this meat, the fish that we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, the garlic." Now I know we got some in our midst that believe in righteousness by garlic too. And they sit in their own pew every week. That's a pun. "But now our whole being is dried up; and there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!" Now how bad was the manna? Let's read what it says in the same chapter, verse 7. "Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its color was like bdellium.

" It was sort of a brownish-ivory color. "The people went and gathered it," it was on the ground. And they "ground it with millstones, and they beat it in a mortar, they cooked it in pans, and they made cakes of it; and the taste of it was like the taste of pastry," or honey, "prepared with oil." Well, that's pretty good. If you've got something that's got sugar and fat in it, I mean, that's what everybody craves, right? That's usually our biggest problems. It's got too much fat, too much sugar.

And he says here it was sweet. And they cooked it with oil. And it tastes like pastry. I mean it was like dunkin' donuts fallin' from the sky, and they're complaining. That just tells you that if some people want to complain, they'll complain.

Forgive me; I think I've told this story before, but it just popped into my mind. These parents had two kids that were total opposites. They were twins, but they were fraternal twins. They just completely different dispositions. And one kid no matter what, they were just so thankful all the time.

And the other kid complained no manner what. And these parents told their neighbors, they said, "it is so amazing. It's just absolutely mind-boggling how different these kids are and how much one is grateful no matter what. One's the eternal optimist and one is the eternal pessimist." He said, "just to prove the point, one time for Christmas we bought a pony that they could ride. And we put the pony out in the barn and wrapped it up.

And we gave the pony to the pessimistic kid. And he went in there and he saw the pony. And he said, 'oh, a pony. Great, it's gonna stink and attract flies. I'm gonna have to clean up after it.

'" He said, "and we took the pony manure and we put it in the room of the other kid. And he walked in, he saw that, and he's jumping up and up down, said, 'oh boy, oh boy, with all this there's got to be a pony somewhere!'" And so it just goes to illustrate that some, no matter what, they're gonna look on the bad side. And others are gonna look on the good side. Forgive me for that illustration, but it popped into mind. Psalms 78:21, listen to what king David said in reciting this.

"Therefore the Lord heard this--" oh I haven't finished reading this story. They're complaining about--let's go back to the book of Numbers real quick. Go to Numbers 11. We just started reading verse 4-6. And I guess I'll read verse 7.

Oh, I read that also. Hang on here. Verse 10, "now Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, everyone at the door of the tent; and the anger of the Lord was greatly aroused." Again, how does God feel when we're ungrateful? "Moses was also was displeased. And 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?'" So now Moses is complaining. He said, "did I conceive these people?" He said, "I can understand taking care of my kids.

If I have 10 kids, then I'm responsible." But now all the sudden he's got, you know, 2 million. He said, "I'm not responsible for all these people." He says, "what have I done?" So now Moses is complaining-- "that you should say to me, 'carry them in your bosom, as a guardian carries a nursing child,' to the land that I swore to your fathers? Where am I to get meat for all these people? For they wept over me--" and "they wept all over me." It almost sounds like he's covered with her tears. "They wept all over me," saying that they want meat. "Give us meat, that we may eat. I am not able to bear all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me.

" Now don't forget where he says, "I am not able to bear them alone." God is also going to give them assistance to help manage the crowd. And verse 16, it says, "so the Lord said to Moses: 'gather to me the 70 men of the elders of Israel, who you know to be elders among the people, officers over them; bring them to the tabernacle of meeting, that they may stand there with you. I'll come down and talk with you. And I'll take of the Spirit that is on you and I'll put it on them." So God now fills them with the same spirit. Luke 10:1, I gave that to somebody.

Does it sound familiar? "After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before his face into every city and place where he himself was about to go." You know, this is one of the places where Moses is a type of Christ. Not only did Moses have elders, it tells us that he had appointed 12 princes to represent the children of Israel. And so he had a 12 and he had a 70. Did Jesus have 12 apostles that went out two by two? Six groups of two. And he also had 70 that he sent out.

And so it's very interesting, this leadership number that they had. And it says, "he took the Spirit of Moses and put it on them." When Elisha gets the Holy Spirit of Elijah, it's not that Moses had a special patent on the Holy Spirit, or Elijah had a special brand name copyright of the Holy Spirit. It's God's Spirit. It's the Spirit of leadership that God had given, wisdom and counsel, discernment that God had given Moses. He know put on the 70 to help them, so Moses could delegate leadership and they could help bear the burden.

Also following the counsel that jethro had given. And we're gonna get into that in the same book in just a moment. So then he goes on, "then you'll--" I'm in Numbers 11:18-- "then you'll say to the people, 'sanctify yourselves tomorrow, and you will eat meat; for you have wept in my hearing, the hearing of the Lord, saying, 'who will give us meat to eat? For it was well with us in Egypt.' Therefore--" I need to pause here. What does it mean when we long for the food of Egypt and we don't want the manna God gives us? What's the Spiritual analogy for that? Sometimes, you know, the Bible, compared to all the entertainment the world offers, sometimes the Bible might seem bland. You know, "just Bible, Bible, Bible, manna, manna, manna, can't we have something else?" Do you hear church members saying that today? "I mean you're just gonna stand up and read the Bible, just entertain us with something else, preacher.

You know, can't we show some movies in the church, or maybe let's have a little drama. Let's do something more exciting, maybe dance. Can we get some bongos or drums and dancing deacons? Something interesting, you know, some leeks and onions and some fish, let's mix it up a little bit. Manna, manna, manna, manna." Can I hear an "amen?" I mean have the children of Israel, are they that different from we are? "I mean the preacher's just gonna stand up there and preach the word? Bread from heaven, tastes like honey, we don't want that anymore. We want to eat like we ate back in Egypt, the buffet of the world.

" You remember what Daniel said? He wasn't gonna eat the Babylonian food. He was gonna eat God's food. And the church is still doing the same thing. We're lusting after the flesh pots of Egypt. So God said, "okay, you ask for meat, I'll give you meat.

" He said, "sanctify yourself for you complained in my hearing, saying, 'who will give us meat to eat? For it was well with us in Egypt.' Therefore the Lord'll give you meat, and you'll eat. You'll not eat it one day, or two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, but you're gonna eat it a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and it becomes loathsome to you, because you've despised the Lord who is among you, and you've wept, saying, 'why did we ever come up out of Egypt?'" And Moses is going, "Lord, I've told 'em what you said, but how in the world are we gonna do this? And God then sent them, it says, "flocks of quail," that it says, "the Lord came down and he spoke," verse 31, I'm gonna jump down 'cause of time. "Now a wind went out from the Lord, and it brought quail from the sea." Now keep in mind, the land through which the children of Israel wandered back in the days of Numbers was not like arabia today. And, you know, the jury's out about whether it was a sinai peninsula or the arabian peninsula. I'm inclined to think it was the arabian peninsula from what I've read.

And that makes sense too because that's where the land of midian really was. And Moses wandered there. But anyway, we'll get to that in a minute. They had more rain then. We know that from archeology and from the ruins that they found.

There was more pasture then. And that's how they kept their flocks alive. And there was more quail in the brush and the scrub back then. And they hung out especially by the sea where the fog would come in and there was even more vegetation. So this wind from the Lord comes and takes these quail that must be just in absolutely copious Numbers.

And it brings them into the camp. Listen to this. "About a day's journey on this side and about a day's journey on the that side, around the camp, two cubits above the surface of the ground." About 3 feet deep or more. "And the people stayed up all that day, and all night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quail." They figured, "we better get them while we can. And we'll split them open.

And quail, because they're small and the meat is not very thick, you can cut 'em open, lay 'em on the ground and that summer they dry. And you could dry it then, like you dry fish. "And they gathered ten homers; and they spread them out for themselves all around the camp." They're spreading them out to dry, "so we can have quail. It'll last. We'll preserve it.

We don't--how--we may not get a windfall like this again." You've heard the expression, "windfall?" It's usually 'cause the wind shakes a tree and the fruit falls out. That's where you get the word "windfall." But now it's because the windfall is quail falling from the sky. And it says, "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. And he called the name of the place kibroth hattaavah, because there," the people, "they buried the people who had yielded--" it means they had lusted or craved, "yielded to craving." And so this plague kept came upon them. Again, because of their murmuring and complaining about and lusting after the food of Egypt.

Alright, we gotta move along here to another section. Let's look about, "family nastiness." That sounds like fun. Numbers 12:1, someone read that for me. "And miriam and aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman." What brought this on? Well, you remember when jethro--first of all, when they came to Egypt, zipporah and Moses had a little disagreement. She was a very, you know, retiring person.

She was very tenderhearted. And the idea of circumcision she thought was barbaric. Moses had not circumcised the children. And evidently there was a little family dispute between the husband and the wife on that. And the Lord sought to slay Moses, is what it says, on the way to Egypt at the inn.

And because he was not taking the leadership in his family on this issue. And he said, "you know you should do that. And he would finally, it says, zipporah went through with it and circumcised their sons. But she turned back at that point evidently and went back, 'cause there was gonna be a big trial with these plagues that fell on Egypt. Then when jethro comes and he finally meets Moses, he brings his daughter and Moses' sons.

And zipporah sees Moses sitting all day long and bearing all the complaints and the burden of the people and trying to delegate all these disputes. And it's wearing him out. And she naturally, as a wife, is defensive for the well-being of her husband. She tells her father, "there's got to be a better way. Can't we delegate?" And then jethro says, "you know, that's what I would do.

I'd delegate it." And so he gets his counsel from his father-in-law. Well, aaron and miriam, who always had Moses' ear during the Exodus, up until zipporah shows up, says, "now she's manipulating Moses." And "oh, you don't listen to us like you did before your wife came." And you understand what's going on here? And so they then try and be more derogatory, and they say, "why she's not even an Israelite; she's an Ethiopian." Well, actually what it says in the original is she's a cushite. The people of cush, they--Ethiopia, the territory of Ethiopia not only was from the horn of africa back then, but it reached up into arabia. It was that whole territory that controlled the straits. And zipporah was from-- she descended from Abraham, just like Moses did.

But you remember Abraham's last wife, her name was keturah. One of the children of keturah was midian. And so she came through the descendents of Abraham through keturah. And there's nothing ever bad said about keturah or midian. Jethro worshipped the true God.

She believed in the same God. They'd evidently, by the time of zipporah, they weren't practicing circumcision, but they believed in the same God. And so that just gives you a little bit. But they're being derogatory. And they're demonstrating racism there.

And it's like, "you married out of our people." It's like when in New York city, a lot of Jewish people there, my family was Jewish. And when a jew married an italian, the jews would sort of say, "oh, you married--" and they used derogatory words I probably shouldn't use on tv. But there's a lot of that that went on. "You married out of the family." And then they put them down. And so that's what they were doing.

And it's possible--it's probable that the midianites, keturah, was darker skinned than the Hebrews. And so they're referring to that also in slandering her. Now how does the Lord feel about that? Acts 17:26, did somebody-- did I give that to somebody? "And he has made all nations of men of one blood to dwell on all the face of the earth, ordaining for appointed seasons and boundaries of their dwelling." All nations are made of one blood. So is there anything morally wrong with people marrying somebody who may not be from their country or race? Did God punish Moses for marrying zipporah, or did he punish aaron and miriam for their attitude? Now--well, let me read a quote to you first. By the way, this is from the work, "Patriarchs and Prophets," , where e.

g. White comments on this passage. "They'll call the cushite woman, the wife of Moses, was a midianite and thus a descendant of Abraham. In personal appearance, she differed from the Hebrews in being somewhat of a darker complexion. Though not an Israelite, zipporah was a worshipper of the true God.

She was of a timid, retiring disposition, gentle and affectionate." You know, she grew up a shepherdess in the desert, so she wasn't used to this crowd that was suddenly going through the wilderness. "And Moses, when on the way to Egypt, had consented to let her return to midian. He desired to spare her the pain of witnessing the judgments that were to fall on the Egyptians. When zipporah rejoined her husband in the wilderness, she saw that his burdens were wearing away his strength. And she made known her fears to jethro who suggested measures for his relief.

Here was the chief reason for miriam's antipathy to zipporah, smarting under the supposed neglect shown to herself and aaron." After all, she was a prophetess. "She regarded the wife of Moses as the cause, concluding that her influence had prevented him from taking them into his counsels as formally. Had aaron stood up firmly for the right, he might have checked the evil, but instead of showing miriam the sinfulness of her conduct, he sympathized with her, listening to her words of complaint, and thus he came to share her jealousy." That's the second time now aaron listened to the complaining of the people. And he got into trouble. He evidently didn't have an iron backbone, did he? I think he was a good man, but he often gave into his sons, he gave into the people, he gave into his sister, and he went with whoever was complaining.

You and I need to learn, when people try to get us to buy into their complaints, sometimes we're afraid to, you know, rebuke people, or seem unloving or unfriendly. But I think sometimes if we know that people are just complaining, we ought to say, "now, do you have anything to be thankful for?" Or try and say something positive. And have you known people like that? Whenever you start to--you don't want to complain to them because they won't buy into it. We ought to have more of that in the church, just when people start to murmur and complain, let's turn 'em to the sunshine. And say, "hey, but we got a lot to be thankful for too, don't we?" Well, aaron bought into it.

Anyway, because miriam was the chief culprit, she's now stricken with leprosy. And Moses and aaron both pray for her. And it only lasts a week. By the way, this is the only time that someone's healed by leprosy, or from leprosy, before the story of naaman. And then that's probably the story.

Remember the little maid that said if the prophet was with-- if naaman was with the prophet in Israel, he would recover him of his leprosy. She's probably thinking about where God prayed, or Moses prayed for miriam, and she was healed from leprosy. That's my guess. Oh, the best story of all, Numbers 13, "at the borders of the promised land." Let me summarize this for you. They send out 12 spies, not that God told them to.

The way you read it in Numbers, it sounds like it's the Lord's idea. You read in Deuteronomy 1, and it says, "the people said we better send out spies." And God said, "okay, go ahead." Ten of the spies come back with a negative report. Again, looking at the bad side. They see the cup as half empty. Joshua and caleb, they see all the blessings.

They're looking at the same thing, but one group is just complaining, "oh, the people are so big," and "the walls of Jericho are so big." And they bring back an evil report, Joshua and caleb, they say, "oh, the springs are so rich. And the trees are laden with fruit. And here's the grapes." And they're looking at the positive side. The people again choose to believe the negative. And they begin to complain and say, "oh, why did God bring us out here to slay us? It would have been better that we never left.

It'd be better to die here in the wilderness than to go into the promised land and be killed." And finally God said, "okay, I'll--I've listened to you complain these ten times. Enough is enough." Does God have limits? And he finally said, "alright, you're gonna get this prayer answered. You are gonna die in this wilderness. It'll be your children that will make it to the promised land." And those spies that came back, they were supposed to bring those witnesses. We use the word, spies; that's kind of derogatory.

Who wants to brag about being a spy. These were really emissaries that were sent to view the promised land and bring back an encouraging report. Really, that's what pastors are supposed to do. We're supposed to tell the people, "you can make it." "You can make it." "You can make it." But you know what, now some of the pastors are saying, "well, nobody's really able to live a victorious life, 'cause the giant's too big." And so when ministers stand before the people and say, "don't take God too seriously. We can't really resist temptation.

We can't really overcome." They're bringing back an evil report. The ones who didn't believe they could be victorious, didn't make it to the promised land. Caleb and Joshua and the young people from 20 years old and under that believed that they could live victorious lives, they did make it to the promised land. Well, ran out of time again. I apologize, friends.

I want to tell those who are watching, don't forget the free offer, if you missed it earlier. It's called, "compromise, conformity and courage." And it goes well with our lesson today. It's offer number 774, just call and ask for it. The number again is -788-3966. And until we study again, God bless you.

And keep reading the manna of the word. Amen?

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