1Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. 2When the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the LORD and the fire died down. 3So that place was called Taberah, because fire from the LORD had burned among them.

4The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 5We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. 6But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”

7The manna was like coriander seed and looked like resin. 8The people went around gathering it, and then ground it in a handmill or crushed it in a mortar. They cooked it in a pot or made it into cakes. And it tasted like something made with olive oil. 9When the dew settled on the camp at night, the manna also came down.

10Moses heard the people of every family wailing, each at the entrance to his tent. The LORD became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled. 11He asked the LORD, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? 12Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their forefathers? 13Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. 15If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.”
Numbers 11:1-15

Moses has been through a lot. Standing up to Pharaoh all those times. All those plagues. The faith required to lead the people to this point. Finally he reaches a breaking point, crying out to the Lord “If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now.”

Wow. Pretty strong statement.

What drove him over the edge? It was the complaining of the people. Moses heard the people of every family wailing. Hearing the people entrusted to his care complaining is what sent him over the edge. I wonder how many times I’ve complained and it caused my pastor to cry out to the Lord in frustration? I don’t complain a lot…but any is too much. It grieves me to think of the impact that our complaints have on the men and women God has sent to encourage and strengthen us.

I could go on about how the people were really complaining about God, or how they were dissing the miraculous provision He was faithfully sending each day, or how the people were begging to go back to Egypt – the place where they were in bondage to slavery. But I won’t. I’ll let you glean those lessons for yourself. Today, I’m grieved that it was the complaining that caused their spiritual leader to doubt himself. “What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me?” he asked God.

Let’s not be people who cause our leaders to throw up their hands in frustration and defeat. Let’s not be people who cause our leaders to doubt their own position and behavior.

Encourage your pastor today!

Comments are closed.

© copyright 2009-2013, Data Designs Publishing and Sandra J. Hovatter