Numbers11.docx - Numbers 11 is so highly instructive of the...

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Numbers 11 is so highly instructive of the dangers of what we might call "wilderness" attitudes-- discontent, grumbling, ingratitude, and the craving for evil things. For many of us these attitudes are a regular part of our mindset, and we hardly think about them. But it is a very sobering thought to consider that God is "exceedingly displeased" and "angry" when He perceives this mindset within us. The chapter starts by stating that "the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD" (verse 1). The author of Numbers puts that last part "in the hearing of the LORD" to emphasize a self-evident truth: that God is well acquainted with the secret murmurings of our heart, however well we might conceal them from others or even ourselves. Though He desires His children to confide in Him their troubles (Psalm 142:2), He is justly offended when we complain when there is no cause. We are told that as a result of this first incident of grumbling that His fire burned but only on the outskirts of the camp in order to show how unwilling He was to inflict judgment on them. The Israelites had no reason to complain. They had witnessed repeated demonstrations of God's power and divine favor in their deliverance from Egypt. They had been well-provided for in the desert, again through God's providential care. They were safe and secure in their passage to the Promised Land, with visible demonstrations of God's very presence accompanying them, guiding them, and leading them. But the sinful human heart can always manufacture reasons for discontent. The anger of God burned against them, and only by Moses's intervention were
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