Summary: Be careful complaining to God.

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“And Moses said to the LORD, ‘Why are you treating me, your servant, so harshly? Have mercy on me! What did I do to deserve the burden of all these people? Did I give birth to them? Did I bring them into the world? Why did you tell me to carry them in my arms like a mother carries a nursing baby? How can I carry them to the land you swore to give their ancestors? Where am I supposed to get meat for all these people? They keep whining to me, saying, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ I can’t carry all these people by myself! The load is far too heavy! If this is how you intend to treat me, just go ahead and kill me. Do me a favor and spare me this misery’” (Num. 11:11-15, NLT).

1. The people complained to God before Moses did. “The people began to complain about their hardship” (11:1, NLT). They were not satisfied with their spiritual prosperity.

2. People on the edge complain first and were judged first. “It displeased the Lord . . . so the fire of the Lord burned among them . . . in the outskirts of the camp” (11:1).

3. What was this fire?

a. A fever, i.e., a burning forehead or disease.

b. An actual judgment fire from heaven.

c. A prairie fire.

4. The mixed multitude complained about God’s provision. “The foreign rabble . . . began to crave . . . ‘oh, for some good meat’” (11:4, NLT).

a. When they faced starvation, God sent manna.

b. Complained about God’s provision in the past.

5. Leaders got caught up in complaints but for different reasons. “Moses heard the people weeping . . . Moses was also displeased” (11:10).

What Moses Forgot

• Israel had defeated Egypt, the greatest nation.

• In less than 2 years, over 3 million people were organized and disciplined.

• God’s presence led and lived among them.

• They built a Tabernacle that pleased God.

6. Note Moses’ complaint.

a. Why don’t you like me? “Why have you afflicted me? (11:11).

b. Why are you punishing me? “Why have I not found favor in your sight?” (11:11).

c. Why me? “Why . . . laid . . . this people upon me” (11:11).

d. I am not smart enough? “Where am I to get meat?” (11:13).

e. I am not strong enough. “I am not able to bear” (11:14).

f. God you can’t help. “There are 600,000 men . . . if we butchered all our flocks . . . if we caught all the fish . . . not enough” (11:21-22).

7. Moses’ prayer, death or deliverance. “Go ahead and kill me” (11:15).

8. God’s eternal question to us, “Has the Lord’s arm been shortened?” (11:23).


“So Moses . . . gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people and placed them around the tabernacle. Then the LORD came down in the cloud, and spoke to him, and took of the Spirit that was upon him, and placed the same upon the seventy elders; and it happened, when the Spirit rested upon them, that they prophesied, although they never did so again” (11:24-25).

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