When the People Complained (Numbers 11)

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Numbers 11:1 And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord: and the Lord heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the Lord burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.

A series of disruptions and difficulties are about to ensue among the Israelites. So far, they followed God out of Egypt and obeyed God’s instructions regarding the tabernacle, offerings, and encampment. But now the first ripple appears in the form of discontentment.

The people begin to complain about their food. It wasn’t that they were hungry, they just wanted other food. God provided bread every morning on the ground, but they remembered with fondness the food of Egypt. Of course, the only ate that food while slaves (a fact they conveniently forgot). Their discontentment displeased the Lord, stressed out their leader, and ultimately resulted in a number of people dying.

How convicting to think about how often we displease the Lord with our complaining. He is good to us and gives us all we need, yet we want more or we want something different. We need to be aware of and resist the lies of Satan that always tell us that if we had something more we’d be happy. God knows who we are, what we need, and gives us in Christ all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). The secret to contentment is to realise that what we have is exactly what we need.

1 Timothy 6:6–8 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

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