Pro 17:11 NIV
An evil man is bent only on rebellion;
a merciless official will be sent against him.
of the People
Num 11:1-35 NIV
Fire From the LORD
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. (2)
When the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the LORD and the fire died
down. (3) So that place was called Taberah,  because fire from the LORD had burned among
Quail from the LORD
(4) The rabble with them began to crave other food,
and again the Israelites started wailing and said, "If only we had meat to
eat! (5) We remember the fish we ate in Egypt
at no cost--also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. (6) But now we have lost our appetite; we never see
anything but this manna!" (7) The manna
was like coriander seed and looked like resin. (8)
The 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. (9)
When the dew settled on the camp at night, the manna also came down. (10) Moses heard the people of every family wailing,
each at the entrance to his tent. The LORD became exceedingly angry, and Moses
was troubled. (11) He 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? (12) Did 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? (13) Where can I get meat for all these people? They
keep wailing to me, 'Give us meat to eat!' (14)
I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. (15) If 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." (16) The LORD said to
Moses: "Bring me seventy of Israel's elders who are known to you as
leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the Tent of Meeting,
that they may stand there with you. (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. (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. (19) You will not
eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, (20) but for a whole month--until it comes out of
your nostrils and you loathe it--because you have rejected the LORD, who is
among you, and have wailed before him, saying, "Why did we ever leave
Egypt?" ' " (21) But Moses said,
"Here I am among six hundred thousand men on foot, and you say, 'I will
give them meat to eat for a whole month!' (22)
Would they have enough if flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? Would
they have enough if all the fish in the sea were caught for them?" (23) The LORD answered Moses, "Is the LORD's
arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for
you." (24) So Moses went out and told
the people what the LORD had said. He brought together seventy of their elders
and had them stand around the Tent. (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.  (26)
However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp.
They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the Tent. Yet the
Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp. (27) A young man ran and told Moses, "Eldad and
Medad are prophesying in the camp." (28)
Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses' aide since youth, spoke up and said,
"Moses, my lord, stop them!" (29)
But Moses replied, "Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the
LORD's people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on
them!" (30) Then Moses and the elders of
Israel returned to the camp. (31) Now a wind
went out from the LORD and drove quail in from the sea. It brought them  down all around the camp to about three
feet  above the ground, as far as
a day's walk in any direction. (32) All that
day and night and all the next day the people went out and gathered quail. No
one gathered less than ten homers. 
Then they spread them out all around the camp. (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. (35) From Kibroth Hattaavah the people traveled to
Hazeroth and stayed there.
the form of…
Oh, it wouldn’t do to out and out defy the Lord God, especially as He has
the odd habit of roasting people who do – literally. But we wouldn’t
hesitate to “discuss” it. Why is there no pizza delivery here in the
This is particularly true of the form of unbelief which picks and chooses
what to believe. “A kind and loving God would never…” – which seems kind
of stupid to me. I can see believe it or don’t believe it; but to pick
and choose as if the Bible were a breakfast buffet? (Hand me another
in our own thoughts.
Sometimes we don’t just pick and choose, we invent what we think should
be. This seems to be the main method of those today who know that God
really approves of homosexuality, it really isn’t a sin. It’s not so much
that they ignore the Scripture (they do) but that their own thoughts are
taken to be equal with what the Bible says. It’s the Revised Non-Standard
– in this instance. A man whose god is his belly puts himself first
(“look out for number one.”) This is gluttony of the classic sense (food)
but anything that you “absolutely just have to have” is going to get in
the way of what God knows is best for you.
- If you’re lining your pocket with money from under the table, if you can
be bribed, and you call yourself a Christian, you’re going to hear about
it from God. And it’s really going to bug you, and you’re going to
complain about it.
- if you claim to be a Christian, and the world isn’t all that convinced,
it’s convenient to distract attention from yourself and over to God. Just
why is it that He hasn’t solved world hunger yet?
rebellion of the congregation takes its toll on the leaders. Here are a few
Look at Moses here; he’s frustrated, doesn’t know which way to turn and
(as we used to say in the service) “busted, disgusted and not to be
trusted.” Bummed out. He’s doing what he’s supposed to do, and it’s just
not working. How would you react to that?
The man of many miracles is complaining that it would take tons of meat to
feed these people. What’s the problem? Discouragement tends to lead to
When the congregation rebels, often enough the preacher “knows better than
to preach on that topic.” (See last week’s lesson on the Ten Commandments
to know which topics those are).
of the Leaders
Num 12:1-16 NIV
Miriam and Aaron Oppose Moses
and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had
married a Cushite. (2) "Has the LORD
spoken only through Moses?" they asked. "Hasn't he also spoken
through us?" And the LORD heard this. (3)
(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of
the earth.) (4) At once the LORD said to
Moses, Aaron and Miriam, "Come out to the Tent of Meeting, all three of
you." So the three of them came out. (5)
Then the LORD came down in a pillar of cloud; he stood at the entrance to the
Tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam. When both of them stepped forward, (6) he said, "Listen to my words:
"When a prophet of the LORD is among you,
I reveal myself to him in visions,
I speak to him in dreams. (7) But this is not
true of my servant Moses;
he is faithful in all my house. (8) With him
I speak face to face,
clearly and not in riddles;
he sees the form of the LORD.
Why then were you not afraid
to speak against my servant Moses?" (9)
The anger of the LORD burned against them, and he left them. (10) When the cloud lifted from above the Tent,
there stood Miriam--leprous, 
like snow. Aaron turned toward her and saw that she had leprosy; (11) and he said to Moses, "Please, my lord, do
not hold against us the sin we have so foolishly committed. (12) Do not let her be like a stillborn infant
coming from its mother's womb with its flesh half eaten away." (13) So Moses cried out to the LORD, "O God,
please heal her!" (14) The LORD replied
to Moses, "If her father had spit in her face, would she not have been in
disgrace for seven days? Confine her outside the camp for seven days; after
that she can be brought back." (15) So
Miriam was confined outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not
move on till she was brought back. (16) After
that, the people left Hazeroth and encamped in the Desert of Paran.
is it that the leaders of the church – who really should know better – rebel?
The reasons are rather unique to leadership – but they all start with one
assumption: “I can choose my assignment in the kingdom of God.” No, you
can’t. You can take it, or leave it, but you cannot choose it. God will not
bless you in it if you do. But once that decision is made, the steps are
Admiration of the leader sometimes turns into envy. If I’m allowed to
choose my spot, and I’m as wonderful as I think I am, the spot I choose is
the one he occupies. And when you compare my brilliance with his humility…
then turns to ambition. In the world, ambition is a virtue. In the
kingdom of God, it is a vice. (Not only do I want to be in his spot, I’ve
decided to go for it).
the first sign of resistance, the ambitious must decide: accept the rebuke,
or defend myself? Such a defense is called presumption: “I really am
better at this than he is.” This often winds up splitting a church, or
even a fellowship of churches.
wrong with it?
it’s not what God told you to do. (An interesting example of this, and
how seriously God views it, may be found in 1st Samuel 15).
it’s fairly clear that a leader’s function included getting rid of
rebellion, not encouraging it.
of all, this is arrogance. We’re telling God what we will do, instead of
Him telling us what we should do.
can I do about it?
You might not even understand what the conflict is about, but you are
commanded to pray for those in authority over you. Just because one or
more are in rebellion doesn’t mean you should stop; rather, pray for their
possible, or called upon for such service, administer church discipline.
Go to the one in error, one on one, and point out what you see.
Ultimately, they may be thrown out,
but it’s much better if the matter is resolved before that happens.
God going to do about it?
others to warn
interesting to note that when God sends someone, it’s usually someone meek
and humble. He has no intention of injecting another sparring partner
into the conflict.
enough, He will have the true leaders intercede in prayer for the
rebellious. He wants the rebellion to cease, sinners to repent – not for
the conflict to produce winners and losers.
will often amplify those who are loyal to Him – as He did here with the
we have fire from heaven, plagues, any number of natural disasters to deal with
in this regard. But note one thing: He will often interrupt the happiness of
the rebellious to emphasize His wrath without increasing the punishment.
He waits – until sense prevails, or someone gets the picture, but at least
until He knows things now must be dealt with. We often mistake His patience
repentance, of course.) He will forgive the people as a group, for He knows
they are but sheep. He will forgive the leaders, though theirs is the greater
sin. But there is one consistent factor in this: someone intercedes on their
behalf. Moses does that in this instance; so should we all.