Numbers – Chapter 11: Fire From the Lord

Welcome to 2016!!!  What better way to start the New Year than dig into the next Bible chapter in this series?  Am I right?  AM I RIGHT?!?!?!  LOL!  To each his own I guess.  Maybe this isn’t your favorite way to start the New Year, but too bad.  This is my blog and I’m discussing Numbers Chapter 11 today.  🙂

“Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused.”  – Numbers 11:1

Uh-oh!  The Israelites have pissed off God!  He was so good to them by laying down all the rules supporting slavery, misogyny, and the punishment of death for less than justified crimes.  How dare those Israelites complain to God!!!

“When the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the Lord and the fire died down.” – Numbers 11:2

Moses has the power to calm down God’s uncontrollable anger?  Who’s the God in this story?  The Israelites are hungry, and pleading for food other than manna.  This makes God angry again.

“Moses heard the people of every family wailing at the entrance to their tents. The Lord became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled.” – Numbers 11:10

The people of Israel are suffering and God’s response is to get mad.  Such a loving God.  Moses speaks to God saying:

“I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.” – Numbers 11:14-15

Well said Moses and I truly mean that.

“The Lord said to Moses: ‘Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with you. I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.’ – Numbers 11:16-17

So instead of actually helping, He just makes others suffer the burden Moses is suffering.  God doesn’t actually do anything to help other than spread Moses’ pain.

“Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will eat it.  You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it—because you have rejected the Lord…” – Numbers – 11:18-20

God answers the prayers of the Israelites for food, but only through the form of a punishment.

“Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took some of the power of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied—but did not do so again.” – Numbers 11:25

Here’s a case where God is actually coming down for others outside of Moses to see.  Except God is in the form of a cloud and doesn’t actually say anything.  Every quote from God is directly to and only to Moses.  This verse makes it sound like God is speaking to Moses AND the elders, but we don’t really have evidence of that.

“However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp. A young man ran and told Moses, ‘Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.’” – Numbers – 11:26-27

Or these two men are crazed with hunger and speaking gibberish for all we know.  We are never told what prophesy these two men speak of.

“But Moses replied, ‘Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!’ Then Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.” – Numbers – 11:29-30

Here’s what I think is happening.  Moses realizes he’s losing his grip on the people and takes advantage of these two men speaking gibberish.  Moses has made up this god as a way to control the people and is now using these two crazed men to try to ‘prove’ the power of God to the people.

“But while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger of the Lord burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague.” – Numbers 11:33

I love how God expresses His love for His chosen people.

That concludes Numbers 11.  The people of Israel are hungry.  God supposedly guides them to the chosen land, but doesn’t provide them with adequate food.  The people pray to God for food, and He punishes them with a severe plague that kills many.  Death is God’s definition of “I love you”.

Coming Soon:  Numbers – Chapter 12:  Miriam and Aaron Oppose Moses

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