2006: A Year of Discovery
Jerry A Collins
Ø Is God’s provisions enough for you?
Ø Do you crave more from the world?
Ø Are you content with the will and plan of God for you?
It cannot be escaped that we live in a culture of consumption. Bombarded everyday with appeals and temptations to satisfy our desires, to fulfill our cravings for things. We just passed thru another holiday season and for weeks we were tintillated with stuff we should buy. Our society is into getting not giving. Because society does not want to ever see our cravings satiated, it continues to tempt people with amazing offers. And we continue to fall for it, in spite of mounting debts and others personal and health related issues. There seems to be no limit to our cravings. There is always something bigger, something better, something more expensive to enjoy. To be worth craving it has to make people stand up and take notice. The Bible does say that there are perfectly good desires and that God delights in giving good gifts to His children. But if we simply crave what the world has and do not desire to please the Lord, then what we crave will only lead to our ruin. It will certainly interfere with our spiritual lives. So 2006 must be a year of discovery for us. A year in which we renew our desire to desire what God wants for us. Numbers 11 will help us examine where our true desires really lie. Are we bored enough with God’s provisions to crave after that which the world offers? In Numbers 11 they were tired of the manna—God’s provision and wanted meat.
1. COMPLAINING OF GOD’S PROVISIONS IS REBELLION 4-9
First, remember that God provides for the
needs of His people. This whole episode of rebellion must be seen in the
light of God’s provision of the manna from heaven. In the wilderness if they
did not have this provision they would not have been able to survive at all. So
God’s miraculous provision was a life-saver. Because he met their needs
miraculously, to spurn the manna was to spurn God. Second, God’s people are often distracted by the world. Verse 4
says that among the Israelites were ‘the rabble’. The
idea is riff-raff. Apparently people who escaped from
2. THIS REBELLION CREATES BURDENS & INVITES JUDGMENT
First, this dissatisfaction creates overwhelming tension became a burden for Moses 10-14. The complaint of the people against Moses and the lord was overwhelming and Moses lamented this. At the heart of this lament is the desire to be free of these people 14-15. He would rather have died than continue with this crowd. In Numbers 12 it would continue but even worse because his brother and sister criticized him and wanted to be co-leaders. Opposition from riff-raff one thing but from own family! Moses knew the people were actually rebelling against God but personalized it when it was turned on him. So this lament was a way to express God’s lament of this people and their rebellion. What if God said ‘would rather die than lead you anywhere’. It would be hyperbole but terrifying and unbearable to those who truly believed! Second, God deals with Moses’ problem by empowering 70 others to share the burden of leadership with him vs 17. It would take the presence of the Spirit to give the comfort, edify, correction and guidance the people would need in difficult years that lat ahead. Later in vs 26-30 2 others began to prophesy by this Spirit vs 26. Joshua afraid they might try to take over as Moses leadership asked Moses to stop it vs 28. But Moses cautioned him not to be jealous for his sake—Moses wished everyone in he camp did vs 29. Better that than all he people murmuring in rebellion against the Lord. No threatened but willing to share ministry with the others and encouraged it! So, too, God has empowered His church with the Spirit and spiritual gifts sharing in the work of ministry to one another.
3. GOD PUNISHES CRAVINGS BY GIVING YOU WHAT YOU CRAVE
Be careful what you crave-you may just get it! Sometimes God does that to teach us that what we crave from he world is not the best for us. Moses could not imagine how God was going to supply this meat 21-23. But God brought quail to them by strong cross winds and Israelites running here and there greedily beating, then grabbing, then bagging them as quickly as possible even eating as quickly in a feeding frenzy—like Esau rushing in and gasping for some of the ‘red stuff’. While this meat in their teeth a plague broke out 31-33. Not simply a sickness lie overeating at Thanksgiving but from God thru the overabundance of the quail. All of this to teach the people they could not despise the Lord and minimize His miraculous provision. God fed their cravings—provided all hey desired and more. But I dong s He wanted to teach them that this is not the way! Passage ends in sad note—place called ‘the graves of those who craved’ vs 34. All of us from time to time desire things of the world—what we think we are missing by following the Lord! But if it gets to the point that hat is all we can think of and minimize the Lord’s provision then God may use our cravings to teach us to look to Him for all of our needs. He may not sand in our way—and our way may be costly! We are to eat and drink to the glory of God but if motivated by best he world has to offer without regard for glorifying God then we are worldly!
(1) Learn to bring desires into line with will of God. Not wrong to desire nice things, improve living, succeed in life—God loves to give us good gifts. But if we live and consumed by these and not control appetites to live godly life our cravings will destroy us.
(2) Develop habit of giving thanks to God for all of His provisions in your life. Never get over the divine provisions in your life and never minimize the miraculous provisions. This thankful and grateful will be evidence of the work of the Spirit of God in your life and be less inclined toward cravings of the things of this world.
(3) Since spirit indwells you and has brot you gifts use them to minister to others. Use the spiritual power and enablement he brings not to gloat or lord it over others, but to share the burden of ministry to one another. Church is not group of people getting together and chipping in to hire minister but each gifted to function in ministry to each!