Numbers 11 is full of good lessons for God's people. So here are four power-packed mini-meals you can chew on today. Enjoy!
1. God's Heart is to Multiply Leaders (v17)
Numbers 11:17 (NIV)
17 I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit that is on you and put the Spirit on them. They will help you carry the burden of the people so that you will not have to carry it alone.
On verse 17: As God's people grow, God's heart is to multiply leaders to help carry the load. The question is: are you willing to be equipped by God through your leaders to become the leader He made you to be? May we have a good spirit of healthy submission to God and our leaders, a heart that is willing and teachable, and a good team player attitude. It's the only way to become the leader God made you to be.
2. Don't Worship the Past (v18)
Numbers 11:18 (NIV)
18 "Tell the people: 'Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The LORD heard you when you wailed, "If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!" Now the LORD will give you meat, and you will eat it.
On verse 18: Some people have a tendency to worship the past, the so-called "good ol' days", thinking that yesterday was so much better than today. Often those who worship the past do 3 things:
a. they romanticize how good things used to be;
b. they forget the problems they experienced in the past; and
c. they ignore the good new things God is doing in their lives today.
For example, the Israelites in Numbers 11 worshiped the past. They said, "We were better off in Egypt! (v18)" and again, "Why did we ever leave Egypt?" (v20). They kept talking about all the "free food" that they used to receive in Egypt while forgetting how bitter their lives were as slaves in Egypt (see Exodus 1:14) and how much they cried out to God for the freedom that they now have (see Exodus 3:7)! At the same time, they took for granted the incredible fact that today God was feeding them manna from heaven (vv7-8) -- they didn't have to do anything to grow it or work for it, they just received it! -- and complained that they wanted something else. At the same time they forgot that with a mighty hand and amazing miracles God rescued them from slavery in Egypt and was leading them a much better place.
Worshiping the past and a complaining spirit often go hand in hand. When you worship yesterday, you'll complain about today. There's a mathematical formula I see in Numbers 11:
Worshiping the past + Complaining spirit = Missing God's Best for Your Life
Instead of worshiping the past, may you never forget the chains from which God set you free yesterday, and may you never take for granted the blessings which God has given you today.
3. Don't worship anointed people. Worship the Lord who does the anointing! (v25)
Numbers 11:25 (NIV)
25 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took of the Spirit that was on him and put the Spirit on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied, but they did not do so again.
On verse 25: Often we have a tendency to idolize the people who we think are especially "anointed" or "gifted". But always remember this: whatever anointing or gifting others have is ultimately gifted to them from God. The fact that Eldad and Medad remained at the camp (i.e. didn't they go near the tent of meeting) and were still anointed by God's Spirit (v26) shows that ultimately all anointing and spiritual gifts are from God and not from us. So rather than worshiping the people whom God anoints, worship the Lord who does the anointing!
4. The Quickest Way to Kill Your God-Given Destiny: Crave Things Outside of God's Will (v33-34)
Numbers 11:33-34 (NIV)
33 But while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger of the LORD burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague.
34 Therefore the place was named Kibroth Hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had craved other food.
On verses 33-34: Kibroth Hattavah means "graves of craving". What's the lesson here? When we crave and insist on things that are outside of the will of God, those things will not give us life or satisfy us. Rather they will destroy us.
Question: Are you craving or insisting on something that is outside of God's will for your life?
I pray that you and I, like Paul, would learn the secret of being content in any and every situation (see Philippians 4:12).
May our lives be filled with God's heavenly joy and thanksgiving, not man's worldly craving and complaining.