We're getting a few narrative readings today. So, you're not just reading names and numbers, as significant as they are.
The people complain. Aaron & Miriam are jealous. God gets angry. Moses is fed up. A new land is seen. We're getting somewhere!
DAILY READINGSNumbers 11-13 & Psalm 43
DAILY NOTESNumbers 11:1-2
- The complaining didn't take long to begin.
- God's anger burned against them. The text says that their complaint was received as "evil" to God.
- The "rabble" is a mixture of people. Most likely, it alludes to the mix of people who accompanied the Israelites from Egypt.
- A description of manna.
- Moses was not merely displeased. The text indicates that Moses received God's anger as evil.
- Considering that, Verses 11-15 become more than a mere cry to God. They seem to be daunting, almost hopeless words. If Moses has to deal with the peoples' needs and the evil of God, he would rather die.
- Moses will not lose any of his spirit, charisma. What he has will be spread to the other chosen leader. The image of a candle has been used to illustrate this concept. The original flame does not lose itself as other candles are lit from its light.
- Does God now consider this a test to Moses?
- I've read that the leaders "did not do so again" and "did not stop." Translation.
- God's anger never subsided. God only heard Moses out and gave him relief to handle his leadership circumstance.
- The quails were not, necessarily, offered as a blessing. God said they would get so much that it would become loathsome to them.
- Still, another plague? And there's no indication of what kind of plague it was.
- Moses' brother and sister speak out against him. Presumably, jealousy is the root of their complaint.
- A note about Moses' humility is shared. Is that to indicate that he would not speak up for himself?
- God has a sit down with Aaron and Miriam. He lets them know that Moses has a unique position among the people. Essentially, he is not to be questioned by anyone.
- Interestingly, God's anger burned against both Aaron and Miriam, but only Miriam receives a punishment. Is that because of Aaron's role as priest? Bad luck? Things just aren't fair?
- We use the word "spy." The text simply connotes an exploration or discovery of the land.
- Moses gives specific observations to make.
- So far, only one of the explorers is willing to go back to take the land.
- The psalmist didn't just start believing in God. He has believed, and especially during his difficult time he is holding on to that belief.
- This serves as a reminder that our faith in God does not remove the difficulties we face.
OTHER OBSERVATIONSWe've talked before about being honest with God. Usually, that comes with talking about the psalms. In today's reading, however, Moses gives us another example of that kind of relationship with God.
Some of us might feel disrespectful to consider being angry with God the way Moses was. Perhaps you've been taught to not question God or to get "too comfortable" with the Lord. Moses doesn't fit that mold.
Sure, maybe you have to consider Moses (and others in the Bible) had a bit of chutzpah to be willing to talk to God like that. But I also think there's a strong sense of relationship that has been developed. Moses wasn't mad at God just because. He felt God had gone against what he said he would do for his people. Moses even felt God wasn't helping him enough to lead the people.
As humble as we're told Moses was, he was more than willing to tell God exactly what he felt.
Are you willing to do the same? Have you learned to be honest with God? Do you feel comfortable enough with God to be angry with God? It may feel wrong or unfaithful, but it may be a sign of your closeness with God. Again, I'm not suggesting to get angry with God just because. But don't be afraid to tell God what is really on your heart.