15 May 2016

Notes on Numbers 11 (Book of Murmurings 2 of 2)

clouds-mountainWhen studying a particular passage or chapter of the Bible, I've discovered I like taking in, as food for thought, historical commentaries as well as teachings from the more contemporary scholars.

With Numbers, Chapter 11, I was led -- by Google -- to Matthew Henry (1662-1714).  If you'll remember, the people brought out of bondage in Egypt were complaining about the food God was providing them.  They were tired of it, essentially.  They wanted a bit of variety in their diet.  Someone on the outside, looking in, may think these folks are crazy.  How could they not appreciate all that God had done and was doing for them? Matthew Henry said this:

"Those who are of a discontented spirit, will always find something to quarrel or fret about, though the circumstances of their outward condition be ever so favourable."

The complainers even took things a bit further when they lamented over what was behind them.  Seriously.  They wept about it.  They totally whined --

Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said:  "Who will give us meat to eat?
We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic;

I'll bet they were drooling all over themselves.  But that's what happens when you involve the senses.  Returning to Matthew Henry:

"It is evidence of the dominion of the carnal mind, when we want to have the delights and satisfaction of sense."

wavesI'm trying to quit drinking soda.  Trying.  It's not the caffeine, but the sugar my body craves.  And it's also the bubbles.  That tingling in my mouth that transitions into a slight burn as the ice cold Mt. Dew (Code Red; my drug of choice) courses down my throat and splashes in my stomach like an ocean wave crashing on a rocky beach.  When I involve the senses like that, nothing can come between me and a trip to the grocery store soft drink aisle.

A more contemporary teacher, Charles F. Stanley, whose Life Principles Bible (affiliate link) I reference often, says this regarding verse 5:

"When we focus on what we do not have rather than on what we do have, we tend to forget the hardships from which God already has delivered us.  Israel remembered the food, bit forgot the slavery."

Exactly.

desolateGoing into a bit more detail about the manner in which God chose to answer the whining of the people, here's a couple more verses:

19  'You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days,
20  'but for a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have despised the Lord who is among you, and have wept before Him, saying, "Why did we ever come up out of Egypt?"'

Oh, you know God was angry.  Scary angry.  But the people, after being told by Moses, still didn't get it.  As Dr. Stanley says:

"We 'despise' the Lord, who lives among us, when we declare His provision insufficient and His plan defective…" 

At the end of the chapter, we read about God giving the complainers what they wanted, just before he essentially did away with them.  Again, Matthew Henry:

"God often grants the desires of sinners in wrath, while he denies the desires of his own people in love."

It's sometimes a hard pill to swallow, but that explains that.

bwcloudstrees

Shared at Scripture and a Snapshot, Tuesdays with a Twist, The Art of Homemaking Mondays, Monday of Many Blessings, Coffee and Conversation, and Faith Filled Friday.

5 comments:

  1. Deep thoughts here! Thank you for sharing :)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Greatly appreciated!

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  2. What gorgeous photography! And I so agree with your insights from the book of Numbers.

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