Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: we learn from the Hebrew children wandering in the wilderness that a painful past is less frightening than an uncertain future.

Moses is on the verge of suicide (Numbers 11:15).

He hates his job. (Numbers 11:11)

He is overwhelmed by the expectations of upper management. (Numbers 11:12-13)

Executive responses to the demands of the people at the lowest levels have failed to satisfy. (Numbers 11:1-10)

Frustrated with His supervisor and furious with his constituents, Moses is way passed the point of turning in a resignation.

When he lies in his bed roll at night, he just wants to close his eyes and never open them again.

The people are not satisfied with manna; they want meat.

People most often talk about the "good old days" when the present days are full of discontent.

They walk around mumbling. Remembering the good old days back in Egypt when they had as much fish as they could eat – free of charge… with melons and onions and cucumbers on the side for a small fee. Ah, the good old days.

I have heard it said that the "good ole days" are the product of a "bad ole memory".

True… they got bucket loads of fish for free…

But they had forgotten that the same hands that fed them fish also cracked a whip across their back.

They had forgotten that the ones who ran the farmer’s market where they bought their garlic and onions

were the same ones who forced them into harsh labor…

to make them too tired to have more children…

to make them die of exhaustion in the desert heat…

to make them perish at an early age…

So, we learn from the Hebrew children

wandering in the wilderness

that a painful past

is less frightening

than an uncertain future.

We would rather reside in our Misery

We would rather remain in our Pain

Than risk

a leap of faith

a voyage across uncharted waters

Where faith is merely a grand notion

Where there is no vision for better things

Where hope is faint and fading

Misery thrives.

Dissatisfied. Discontent. Disappointed Despairing.


It’s like quick sand.

The whole nation of Israel was being sucked down into it.

And they were dragging Moses down with them.

Numbers 11:15: If this is the way you will deal with me, then please do me the favor of killing me at once, so that I need no longer face this distress."

Now that’s the kind of resignation letter that get attention.

Moses is being ripped apart….

He’s being torn in two

by a people—

a stubborn people

that refuse to let go of the past and take even one step more into the future

And a God

who will neither surrender the grand future,

nor let His people slide back into their miserable past.

There we are.

That’s us.

Where right there…

sand and sagebrush on every side

sick to death of manna—sick and tired of just getting our daily bread—tired of just making it week to week, month to month.

Starving for 20oz. Rib-eye.

Starvation. Bankruptcy. Homeless. Jobless.

They all seem just one block away…

Medical bills. Utility costs. Mortgages. Deadlines. Quotas. Manpower… does this desert ever end?

And then God does the most curious thing…

He gives them just what they ask for—

He tells Moses that He’s heard all the groaning and complaining…

They’ll have meat.

Oh boy, will they get meat:

Verse 18:

"For in the hearing of the Lord you have cried ‘Would that we had meat for food! Oh, how well off we were in Egypt!’

Therefore the Lord will give you meat for food, and you will eat it—

not for one day--- or two days—or five or ten or twenty days, but for a whole month—until it comes out of your very nostrils and makes you sick. For you have spurned the Lord who is in your midst…"

But before this, He tells Moses

"Assemble for me 70 of the elders of Israel, men you know for true elders and authorities among the people, and bring them to the meeting tent.

When they are in the place beside you I will come down and speak with you there. I will also take some of the spirit that is on you and will bestow it on them, that they may share the burden of the people with you. You will then not have to bear it by yourself…"

Did you see what just happened? Did you catch it at all?

God answers the cry of the people. He hears them and gives them just what they asked for.

And then

on the side

He throws in for good measure…

A management improvement plan…

empowering Moses by empowering others.

Enabling Moses to delegate…to share the balance of responsibility…

in order to manage this logistical nightmare…

in order to minister to people at the lowest levels…

every tribe, every family, every person…

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