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Moses 28 – On The Way To Kadesh

Let us do a little revision before we continue with verse 5
Numbers 11:1-4 Now when the people complained, it displeased the LORD; for the LORD heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the LORD burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp. Then the people cried out to Moses, and when Moses prayed to the LORD, the fire was quenched. 3 So he called the name of the place Taberah, because the fire of the LORD had burned among them. 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?
What gastronomic food plagued them?
Verse 5,6 We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; 6 but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!”
The fish and vegetables mentioned in this verse were the food of the poorer classes in Egypt even as they are today.

Because of their hard labour, the food tasted good. And a good appetite is the best cook.

Our whole being is dried up.

The Hebrew reads: “There is nothing at all for our eyes to fall upon except this manna.” Of what is the manna a symbol?

Verse 7 Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its color like the color of bdellium.
Round in shape, light in color (Ex. 16:14), as readily seen as is the bdellium gum (Gen. 2:12) in the light of the desert sun.
Internet picture – beautiful white crystal like
Verse 8 The people went about and gathered it, ground it on millstones or beat it in the mortar, cooked it in pans, and made cakes of it; and its taste was like the taste of pastry prepared with oil.
It tasted fresh and appetizing as food newly baked or fried in good oil. It also tasted like wafers made with honey (Ex. 16:31).

Verse 9 And when the dew fell on the camp in the night, the manna fell on it.

The manna fell upon the earth fresh and cool with the fallen dew (see Ps. 78:23–25).

By the way, this is the best time to enjoy a delicious spiritual meal with Jesus, our heavenly bread, heavenly Manna.

Verse 10 Then Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, everyone at the door of his tent; and the anger of the LORD was greatly aroused; Moses also was displeased.
The man of the East makes it a habit to inform the world at large of his grief and mourning. In this instance there is every appearance of a prearranged plan for concerted action, each family crying out aloud, and at the door of their tent.

His stress levels must have been very high. Listen how he addresses God:

Verse 11-13 So Moses said to the LORD, “Why have You afflicted Your servant? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all these people on me? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I beget them, that You should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a guardian carries a nursing child,’ to the land which You swore to their fathers? 13 Where am I to get meat to give to all these people? For they weep all over me, saying, ‘Give us meat, that we may eat.’
Verse 14 I am not able to bear all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me.
In reality Moses was as unreasonable as the people, for God never left Moses alone nor expected him to supply the camp with food.

Verse 15 If You treat me like this, please kill me here and now—if I have found favor in Your sight—and do not let me see my wretchedness!”

Verse 16 So the LORD said to Moses: “Gather to Me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tabernacle of meeting, that they may stand there with you.
These elders (see Ex. 24:1, 9) were leading men of various families (Ex. 12:21; 1 Sam. 4:3; 8:4; 2 Sam. 17:15).
Officers. This is the word used of the Israelite foremen who worked under the Egyptian overseers (Ex. 5:15). The original meaning of the word is “arranger,” “organizer,” “secretary.”
They would never have been chosen had Moses manifested faith corresponding to the evidences he had witnessed of God’s power and goodness.
But he had magnified his own burdens and services, almost losing sight of the fact that he was only the instrument by which God had wrought.
He was not excusable in indulging, in the slightest degree, the spirit of murmuring that was the curse of Israel. Had he relied fully upon God, the Lord would have guided him continually and would have given him strength for every emergency. {PP 380.2}
Verse 17 Then I will come down and talk with you there. I will take of the Spirit that is upon you and will put the same upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone.
Compare this with the transfer of “the spirit of Elijah” (2 Kings 2:15) to Elisha. Here the gifts and activities of the Holy Spirit are referred to in their energizing of the spirit of man to carry through the plans of God.
Verse 18 Then you shall say to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the hearing of the LORD, saying, “Who will give us meat to eat? For it was well with us in Egypt.” Therefore the LORD will give you meat, and you shall eat.
Consecrate yourselves. A word used with reference to ceremonial cleanliness through ablutions and abstentions (see ch. 19:10, 14) and as a preparation for sacrifice (Gen. 35:2). The same word is translated “prepare,” as if for slaughter, in Jer. 12:3.
Some Jewish commentators would give that meaning to it here. In reality the word of itself is neutral, and may mean to prepare for either good or evil.
Verse 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?” ’ ”
Verses 21,22 And Moses said, “The people whom I am among are six hundred thousand men on foot; yet You have said, ‘I will give them meat, that they may eat for a whole month.’ Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, to provide enough for them? Or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to provide enough for them?”

Poor Moses. He is revealing symptoms of burn out. How would have handled the rebels?

Verse 23-25 And the LORD said to Moses, “Has the LORD’s arm been shortened? Now you shall see whether what I say will happen to you or not.” So Moses went out and told the people the words of the LORD, and he gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people and placed them around the tabernacle. 25 Then the LORD came down in the cloud, and spoke to him, and took of the Spirit that was upon him, and placed the same upon the seventy elders; and it happened, when the Spirit rested upon them, that they prophesied, although they never did so again.

Were all 70 at the tabernacle? If not why not?

Verses 26-30 But two men had remained in the camp: the name of one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad. And the Spirit rested upon them. Now they were among those listed, but who had not gone out to the tabernacle; yet they prophesied in the camp. 27 And a young man ran and told Moses, and said, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” 28 So Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, one of his choice men, answered and said, “Moses my lord, forbid them!” 29 Then Moses said to him, “Are you zealous for my sake? Oh, that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!” 30 And Moses returned to the camp, he and the elders of Israel.

Two of the seventy, humbly counting themselves unworthy of so responsible a position, had not joined their brethren at the tabernacle; but the Spirit of God came upon them where they were, and they, too, exercised the prophetic gift.
On being informed of this, Joshua desired to check such irregularity, fearing that it might tend to division. Jealous
for the honor of master, “My lord,” he said, “forbid them.” The answer was, “Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them.” PP 381

What about their craving for meat? Will the Lord answer our prayers even if it is not for our benefit?

Verse 30-32 Now a wind went out from the LORD, and it brought quail from the sea and left them fluttering near the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and about a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp, and about two cubits above the surface of the ground. 32 And the people stayed up all that day, all night, and all the next day, and gathered the quail (he who gathered least gathered ten homers); and they spread them out for themselves all around the camp.

I liked the following comment:

A strong wind blowing from the sea now brought flocks of quails, “about a day’s journey on this side, and a day’s journey on the other side, round about the camp, and about two cubits (two meters) above the face of the earth.” Numbers 11:31, R.V.

All that day and night, and the following day, the people labored in gathering the food miraculously provided.

Immense quantities were secured. “He that gathered least gathered ten homers.” All that was not needed for present use was preserved by drying, so that the supply, as promised, was sufficient for a whole month. {PP 382.1}

God gave the people that which was not for their highest good, because they persisted in desiring it; they would not be satisfied with those things that would prove a benefit to them.

Their rebellious desires were gratified, but they were left to suffer the result. They feasted without restraint, and their excesses were speedily punished.

“The Lord smote the people with a very great plague.” Large numbers were cut down by burning fevers, while the most guilty among them were smitten as soon as they tasted the food for which they had lusted.

Verses 33-35 But while the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was aroused against the people, and the LORD struck the people with a very great plague. 34 So he called the name of that place Kibroth Hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had yielded to craving. 35 From Kibroth Hattaavah the people moved to Hazeroth, and camped at Hazeroth.

Has eating something to do with my physical health? With my spiritual health?

Psalms 106:13-15 They soon forgot His works; They did not wait for His counsel, But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, And tested God in the desert. 15 And He gave them their request, But sent leanness into their soul.

I am reminded of the words of the song: When we walk with the Lord in the light of His word, what a glory He sheds on our way. When we do His good will He’ll abide with us still if we only will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there is no other way to happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
Let us move to the next sad episode in the journey from Egypt to the Promised Land.
Numbers 12:1-3 Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for she had married an Ethiopian woman. 2 So they said, “Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?” And the LORD heard it. 3 (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.)

At Hazeroth, the next encampment after leaving Taberah, a still more bitter trial awaited Moses. Aaron and Miriam had occupied a position of high honor and leadership in Israel.

Both were endowed with the prophetic gift, and both had been divinely associated with Moses in the deliverance of the Hebrews.

“I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam” (Micah 6:4), are the words of the Lord by the prophet Micah. Miriam’s force of character had been early displayed when as a child she watched beside the Nile the little basket in which was hidden the infant Moses.

Her self-control and tact God had made instrumental in preserving the deliverer of His people. Richly endowed with the gifts of poetry and music, Miriam had led the women of Israel in song and dance on the shore of the Red Sea.
In the affections of the people and the honor of Heaven she stood second only to Moses and Aaron.

But the same evil that first brought discord in heaven sprang up in the heart of this woman of Israel, and she did not fail to find a sympathizer in her dissatisfaction. {PP 382.3}

In the appointment of the seventy elders Miriam and Aaron had
not been consulted, and their jealousy was excited against Moses.

At the time of Jethro’s visit, while the Israelites were on the way to Sinai, the ready acceptance by Moses of the counsel of his father-in-law had aroused in Aaron and Miriam a fear that his influence with the great leader exceeded theirs.

In the organization of the council of elders they felt that their position and authority had been ignored.

Miriam and Aaron had never known the weight of care and responsibility which had rested upon Moses; yet because they had been chosen to aid him they regarded themselves as sharing equally with him the burden of leadership, and they regarded the appointment of further assistants as uncalled for.

Moses felt the importance of the great work committed to him as no other man had ever felt it. He realized his own weakness, and he made God his counselor.

Aaron esteemed himself more highly, and trusted less in God. He had failed when entrusted with responsibility, giving evidence of the weakness of his character by his base compliance in the matter of the idolatrous worship at Sinai.

But Miriam and Aaron, blinded by jealousy and ambition, lost sight of this. Aaron had been highly honored by God in the appointment of his family to the sacred office of the priesthood; yet even this now added to the desire for self-exaltation.

“And they said, Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? hath He not spoken also by us?” Regarding themselves as equally favored by God, they felt that they were entitled to the same position and authority.

Yielding to the spirit of dissatisfaction, Miriam found cause of complaint in events that God had especially overruled. The marriage of Moses had been displeasing to her.

That he should choose a woman of another nation, instead of taking a wife from among the Hebrews, was an offense to her family and national pride. Zipporah was treated with ill-disguised contempt.

Though called a “Cushite woman” (Numbers 12:1, R.V.), the wife of Moses was a Midianite, and thus a descendant of Abraham. In personal appearance she differed from the Hebrews in being of a somewhat darker complexion.

Though not an Israelite, Zipporah was a worshiper of the true God. She was of a timid, retiring disposition, gentle and affectionate, and greatly distressed at the sight of suffering; and it was for this reason that Moses, when on the way to Egypt, had consented to her return to Midian.
He desired to spare her the pain of witnessing the judgments that were to fall on the Egyptians. {PP 383.3}

When Zipporah rejoined her husband in the wilderness, she saw that his burdens were wearing away his strength, and she made known her fears to Jethro, who suggested measures for his relief.

Here was the chief reason for Miriam’s antipathy to Zipporah. Smarting under the supposed neglect shown to herself and Aaron, she regarded the wife of Moses as the cause, concluding that her influence had prevented him from taking them into his counsels as formerly.

Had Aaron stood up firmly for the right, he might have checked the evil; but instead of showing Miriam the sinfulness of her conduct, he sympathized with her, listened to her words of complaint, and thus came to share her jealousy.

After the break we will examine the way Moses behaved at the jealousy of his blood brother and sister.

Maybe you know people who are going through this sad ordeal. Maybe you are a victim of the jealousy of a family member.

Maybe God help us to behave in firm but gentle way when our family treats us with discontent.

Updated on 21st Mar 2022

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