Summary: Lessons from the life of Balaam
“Follow the Leader”
Intro: Everyone lift you feet up in the air off of the floor. Okay, I may step on some toes this morning, so if you keep you feet up in the air, I won’t step o your toes!
#Illust: Man went to monastery - only 2 words a year - 1st yr “Beds Hard,” 2nd yr - Food Cold, 3ry yr - I Quit - to which the Father replied, well it’s no wonder--all you’ve done since you came here was to complain.
As we have been reading through the books of Leviticus and Numbers, we are reminded just how much like the children of Israel we are. We have seen this week in our reading that they were a people who loved to complain. Now, I’m sure that you don’t know anyone like this, but there are some people out there who like to complain. Once again, I’m sure it’s nobody you know. On the job, people complain about their bosses, their hours, their pay, their bonuses, their benefits. People who stand in the road holding up signs while others do the work complain that the sun is hot.
In regions of Mexico hot springs and cold springs are found side by side, and because of the convenience of this natural phenomenon the women often bring their laundry, boil their clothes in the hot springs, and then rinse them in the cold springs. A tourist watching this procedure once commented to his Mexican guide, “They must think God is generous to provide so much free hot and could water!” The guide replied, “No, s˜enor, there is much grumbling because he does not supply the soap!”
The children of Israel are no different: they grumble constantly. Let’s look at their grumbling and learn from their example. In 1 Cor. 9:10 we are reminded of the seriousness of their grumbling. The chapter starts with the account of their grumbling, then states, “Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry." We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did-- and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test the Lord, as some of them did--and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did--and were killed by the destroying angel.
Let’s look at
I. The accounts of complaining - if you have your Bibles, look at Numbers 11. In verses 1-3 we see the first account. Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. When the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the LORD and the fire died down. So that place was called Taberah, because fire from the LORD had burned among them.
A. *the people complain because of hardships - do you know of anyone who grumbles when things get hard? The Israelites did. They didn’t like walking through the wilderness. They would have rather taken the plane with the dinner and movie.
The truth is that hardship is good for us. Lives of ease and comfort lead us to forget our God. That doesn’t mean that we should pray for hardness, but when it comes, Timothy tells us we are to Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
B. Numbers 11: 4-6,+
The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, "If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost--also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!" Moses heard the people of every family wailing, each at the entrance to his tent. The LORD became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled. Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, `Give us meat to eat!’ I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me.
31 ¶ Now a wind went out from the LORD and drove quail in from the sea. It brought them down all around the camp to about three feet above the ground, as far as a day’s walk in any direction. All that day and night and all the next day the people went out and gathered quail. No-one gathered less than ten homers. Then they spread them out all around the camp.