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October 5, 2015


by Leslie John


Leslie M. John

The Book of Numbers chapters 11 through 20, which can be considered as one section, deal with six different types of rebellions against God, and His chosen servant and God’s wrath against such complainants.

  1. Complaint against God for meat
  2. Complaint of Moses to God on leadership issue
  3. Complaints of Aaron and Miriam against Moses
  4. Complaints of leaders who brought bad report from Canaan
  5. Complaints of Korah, Dathan and Abinadab against Moses
  6. Moses rebellion in striking the rock twice instead of speaking to it.


One of the chief reasons of all that God abhorred and chose to separate His fellowship from His chosen people was their attitude of not trusting Him fully. They complained very often for almost everything instead of praying and receiving from the LORD according to His will and murmured against the LORD and his chosen servant Moses. God chastised them repeatedly until they turned to Him in repentance.

The LORD said His thoughts are higher than ours and His ways are different from ours and yet we, although we cannot understand His thoughts, His ways and His plans for us, yet desire the LORD to answer in the way we prefer to receive. The Scripture says everything works for good for those who believe in Him and walk according to His purposes.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28)

Inasmuch as God knows what is best for and He is Almighty any complaint lodged against His provisions for mankind is equivalent to complaint against Him.

The LORD gave the children of Israel sweet water at Marah, good rest at Elim, and ‘manna’ which was heavenly food, and taught them Spiritual ways as to how to honor Him and keep the Ten Commandments and several ceremonial laws associated with the Commandments. He organized them, and blessed them and taught them how to worship Him and immediately after resuming their journey from Mount Sinai they complained.

Along with the exodus of the children of Israel, who were delivered by God from their slavery in Egypt under Pharaoh, there were Egyptians as well, who escaped from Egypt, probably because they understood that the God of Israel was the true God and also because they could not suffer the ten plagues. That is how there was a mixed multitude who were travelling from Egypt to Canaan. This mixed multitude ate ‘manna’ and complained against God that they did not have meat to eat.

It displeased the LORD when the people complained and the LORD’s anger was kindled against them. There came a fire from the LORD and burnt them.


God was displeased with their complaints and His anger was kindled against them. The LORD, therefore, rained fire on them and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp. It was because of Moses intervention, at the request of the people that the LORD had compassion on them, and the fire was quenched.

“And he called the name of the place Taberah: because the fire of the LORD burnt among them” (Numbers 11:3)

A very important point worthy of notice here is that if the people did not repent the whole congregation would have been wiped out, but intercession of the servant of God brought relief; but does God really want to wipe out His people? No.

God does not want His people to perish and that is the reason why He puts the burden of interceding in someone whom He uses for that purpose, on behalf of the children of God; and the Lord rescues His people on hearing such intercessory prayers on behalf of His people. The prayer indeed originates in the heart of God. This is a great mystery of God, who is love. He does not want His people to perish and therefore, brings an intercessor to intercede on behalf of them and he answers his prayer and redeems His people. God used His servant Moses to intercede on behalf of the children of Israel.

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered”. (Romans 8:26)

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