The People Complain in the Wilderness
The Hebrew slaves we met in Egypt (while reading Exodus) have actually come a long way since they left Egypt and set up camp at Mount Sinai! They began their journey basically just a unorganized family of descendants of Jacob, the son of Issac, the son of Abraham. Now, as they were moving from their camp at Mount Sinai after two years, they have been organized into tribal camps and actually resemble a military nation of up to two million people! They had met Yehwah, the “I AM”- The One True God, who chose them to be His chosen people. They had heard His voice and witnessed His Shekinah Glory with Moses in the Tabernacle of the Meeting.
But even with God feeding them every day and showing them His amazing plan for them, the Hebrew children would still find fault and grumble and complain.
I have read an interesting article regarding the food God provided for them: the “manna”, (which means “what is it?”). People have tried to explain where this manna could have come from: like from insects or tree droppings, etc.; but to imagine those same insects or same trees to be in every place they spent each night for 40 years is quite a stretch of the imagination! Not only that, but how could it be explained that they could produce double on Fridays and yet not be available on Saturdays? There is only one explanation and that is: it was a “miracle” from God!
But the people continued to complain and moan until it became very stressful for Moses. There were a lot of people to keep happy and it just became too much of a burden for him. So Moses became weary and cried out to God that unless something could be done, he just wanted to die! “I am not able to bear all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me. If You treat me like this, please kill me here and now—-” Numbers 11:14 -15 a
So the LORD told Moses to select 70 men, and God empowered them with the Spirit! They would be the “elders” to help Moses with the problems and concerns of the people. In the same chapter, we find God sent quail in a wind from the sea to the complaining people. But, while they were still eating the new meat, God’s anger caused a “very great plague”. (Numbers 11:33b) Perhaps we can learn from this to be content with what God has given us and to be careful what we ask for!?!
It wasn’t just the Hebrew children that had found fault with Moses! We find his brother, Aaron, and sister, Miriam, also spoke against him! While they had been traveling, there were people of various cultures that had joined them, as seen in Numbers 11:4, “Now the mixed multitude who were among them….”. “Some were, or would become, people of faith because of their contacts with believing Hebrews. (One woman from Koch became the second wife of Moses, 12:1)” The Jeremiah Study Bible page 189
It’s not clear exactly what Aaron and Miriam were complaining about Moses, but God made sure they understood just how much He valued Moses! He told them if He wanted to speak to a prophet, He would do so in a vision or a dream! “Not so with My servant Moses; he is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face, evenly plainly, and not in dark sayings; and he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?” Numbers 12:7&8.
Miriam was punished and Aaron needed Moses forgiveness and intercession with God to be able to continue his priestly duties! God is a forgiving God…still!
And so we move on in our journey, hopefully, wiser!