Summary: This Lesson covers the complaints in the desert; the spies' report and Moses' speech before the promised land.


a. I wonder if Moses felt like he was "herding cats"

b. Or, maybe he felt like a parent on a cross country road trip with the kids saying:

1) Are we there yet?

2) Mom, he's looking at/touching me.

3) Bologna sandwiches? Why can't we stop?

2. A serious issue on any road trip is a wrong turn. The GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) has eliminated many stops in order to ask for directions -- the "recalculating" does get annoying, however.

3. We have moved from Sinai to Kadesh Barnea [MAP]

a. Here God intended to encourage the conquest of Canaan

b. However, there was a wrong turn that resulted in a 40 year detour.

4. Notice a significant difference:

a. We speak of this time as the "Wilderness wanderings"

b. God spoke of it as the time he led them in the desert/wilderness

5. Attitude plays a key role:

I. The Complaint Department

I read an article once that stated that waitresses and waiters complained that Sunday was the worst day of the week to work. The servers complaint was, on Sunday's the restaurants are filled with impatient, rude and sometimes obnoxious people dressed in their Sunday best, who rarely if at all ever gave a tip. Now apparently these Christians had forgotten what they had just heard at Worship or in Bible class.

A. 3 Key Complaints

1. Their difficulties -- Numbers 11.1

2. Their Diet -- Numbers 11.4-6

a. Manna Vs. Meat

b. God's Solution -- 11.18-20

c. The problem was that Egypt was still in them

3. Their Deliverer

B. Complications of Complaint

1. A Major Concern -- 11.1-2

2. A Mighty Contagion -- 11.4

a. "Rabble"

b. Spread through the camp (leprosy and gossip)

3. A Misleading Crime (Sin)

a. Hidden agenda -- Miriam and Aaron -- jealousy and secret ambition (12.2)

b. A Desire for control -- even with God (Satan and temptation in Gan Eden)

c. Lack of Contentment

II. The Corporate Decision (Numbers 13-14)

A woman went to her doctor with a whole catalog of complaints about her health. He examined her thoroughly and came to the conclusion that there was absolutely nothing wrong with her physically. He was convinced that her problem was due to her negative attitude toward life. He took her into a back room where he kept most of his medicine. He showed her a shelf filled with empty bottles. He said to her, "See those bottles. Notice that they are all empty. They are shaped differently from one another, but basically they are all the same. But the most important thing I want you to notice is that they have nothing in them. Now I can take one of these bottles and fill it with enough poison to kill or I can fill one with medicine to heal. I am the one who makes that choice. I can fill it with whatever I want. Each day that God gives us is like one of those empty bottles. We can choose to fill it with love and life-affirming thoughts or we can fill it with destructive thoughts. The choice is ours."

A. The Covert Mission

1. Spying out the land -- 40 fear-filled days

2. Qualified Men -- 13.1

B. The Coarse Message

1. 10 Spies -- "We've got good news and bad news."

a. Good food -- Milk and honey, etc. -- 13.26-27

b. Giant People -- 13.30.33

2. National Revolt -- 14.1-3

3. Problem -- they thought like spies and not like conquerors

C. The Capable Men -- Joshua and Caleb -- 14.6-10

1. People ignored their message

2. The result was the wilderness -- 14.26-35

III. The Clear Declaration (Deuteronomy 30-32)

A. A Choice -- Deuteronomy 30.19-20

1. Moses' bad choice -- Numbers 20

There is a report that a major retail corporation put mirrors behind their customer service representatives so irate customers could see their own behavior. Their anger levels subsided and they negotiated their complaints more graciously when they could see what they looked like in the mirror. Too bad Moses did not have that mirror. We have a mirror -- the Word of God (James 1.22-24)

2. No entrance into Canaan (To whom much is given, much is required -- Luke 12.48)

An umpire named Babe Pinelli once called Babe Ruth out on strikes. When the crowd booed with sharp disapproval at the call, the legendary Ruth turned to the umpire with disdain and said, "There's 40,000 people here who know that the last pitch was ball, tomato head." Suspecting that the umpire would erupt with anger, the coaches and players braced themselves for Ruth's ejection. However, the cool headed Pinelli replied, "Maybe so, Babe, but mine is the only opinion that counts."

B. A Call -- Deuteronomy 32.1-3

1. Two witnesses -- Heaven and Earth

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