Summary: At first glance the book of Numbers reads a bit like an operations manual. It’s got numbers of soldiers, lists of names, and a bit of repetition. Tucked between those lists and numbers are some stories of real people, dealing with real issues of faith!
BETWEEN THE NUMBERS
FINICKY EATERS - NUMBERS 11:1-15
-On June 6, 1943 the Allied forces land on Omaha Beach with a tremendous show of force.
-If you’ve studied World War 2 at all you’ll know about D-Day.
-The official code name for D-Day was “Operation Overlord.”
- The invasion fleet included ships from eight different navies.
-There were 1,213 warships, 4,126 transport vessels, 736 supplemental crafts and 864 merchant vessels with supplies.
-The Germans were holding that beach head with 8 artillery bunkers, 35 pillboxes, 4 artillery pieces, 6 mortar pits, 18 anti-tank guns, 45 rocket launcher sites, 85 machine gun sites,
and 6 tank turrets.
-There were 43,250 infantry men for the Allies and 7,800 men for the Germans, and before the day was over there were 4200 men lost.
-In reading about D-Day I was somewhat surprised with how detailed the accounts were of that battle.
-I was impressed that the records were that precise but it really stands to reason.
-If your are going to pull off an operation of that size and scope you probably need a firm grasp on the enemy you’re up against and what it will take to defeat them.
-That is precisely what you need to know prior to reading the book of Numbers.
-Moses was the leader of God’s people and he was charged with the task of leading them in their own D-Day assault.
-They were about to cross into the Promised Land and they were going to have to fight to take it.
-Before they could go there, they had to get organized.
-And for ancient people, there is a surprising degree of organization and precision in their preparation.
-I want you to understand what a massive undertaking this was!
-There were 2 million people in this group of desert wanderers
-They were not experienced leaders, scholars, politicians, or military strategists…they were recently escaped slaves.
-In fact, at this point, they’d only been free about 1 year.
-The Book of Numbers is the account of Moses organizing the people of Israel so that they could make the transition from nomads to settlers.
-The book begins a little slow and it’s not in chronological order.
Chap 7-9: Passover Celebration is actually the first thing to happen if you’re following the correct sequence of events
-Israel celebrated their 1st Passover meal as slaves in Egypt, but this 2nd Passover they were free and heading to the Promise Land
Chap 1: Counting the soldiers how many were able to go to war
Chap 2: Organizing the tribes
Chap 3-4: Assigning priestly duties
Chap 5-6: Purity and Purification
-At first glance the book reads a bit like an operations manual.
-It’s got numbers of soldiers, lists of names, and a bit of repetition.
-So many people don’t bother to read it. But tucked between those lists and numbers are some stories of real people, dealing with real issues of faith and sin and obedience and worship.
-In this series we’re going to dig deep and mine out some of the greatest stories in the Old Testament.
-And we’ll do it differently than we normally do. Instead of going chapter by chapter (which would take us a year) we’re going to bounce around a bit and focus on the stories.
-Today we’re looking at chap 11 which marks the first occurrence in the book of Numbers of the insidious sin called, “Complaining.”
-I know…it’s hard to believe that God’s people would ever complain…we’re always so happy, thankful, and positive!
-Up until this point, there hasn’t been any whining at all.
Numbers 11:1 marks a turning point in the people’s attitudes
"Soon the people began to complain about their hardship, and the Lord heard everything they said."
-That line hit me kind of hard this week.
-When the people of Israel were whining, complaining and grumbling the Lord heard everything they said.
-Man I wish that wasn’t true! God hears everything we say.
-The Israelites were rescued from slavery and oppression.
-God did amazing miracles on their behalf.
-They crossed the Red Sea, the Egyptian army was defeated.
-They were fed miraculously and led miraculously.
-But the gratitude and excitement only lasted a year.
-And then…they began to complain.
HOW DO OUR COMPLAINTS SOUNDS TO GOD?
-Have you ever had someone return something you bought them?
-Have you ever had someone hate the food you cooked them?
-Ever had someone criticize you when you’re trying to help?
-Ever given your child a gift & they hated it and cried about it?
-Has anyone ever asked you for advice and then argued with you about it?
-If any of those things have every happened to you, you may have just a glimpse of how our complaining might sound to God.
-Of all the times to complain why start now?