Daily Devotional Wednesday 5th August 2020

by William Moody

Numbers 11:1–6

The People Complain

11:1 And the people complained in the hearing of the LORD about their misfortunes, and when the LORD heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp. Then the people cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the LORD, and the fire died down. So the name of that place was called Taberah,1 because the fire of the LORD burned among them.

Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”


[1] 11:3 Taberah means burning


Many of us like a good moan, but here we see something of the seriousness of a complaining attitude (v1-3). We are told here that the people of Israel complained “in the hearing of the Lord”. We need to realise that all we say, including our complaining, is done within God’s hearing. We also need to realise that a lot of our complaining is pointing ultimately to our dissatisfaction at God’s providential care over our lives.

We see here that God’s anger was aroused at this complaining and fire broke out from His presence. Yes God is gracious, God is loving; but God is also a holy, righteous consuming fire against sin. We must walk cautiously before God. But what we also see here that for the repentant there is grace upon grace (v2). When we sin we must not run from, but run to God for mercy.

The naming of the place Taberah (burning, v3) was surely to be a reminder of the danger of a complaining spirit, but sadly many did not learn (v4-6).

Why are we often so slow to learn?

One of the problems here was that the people’s focus was on the life they once had rather than focusing on God, who He is, what He has done. When we lose joy in the Lord and a sense of thankfulness at His mercy, we easily slip into a complaining spirit.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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