At Taberah

Date: PM
Text: Numbers 11:1-3, 10-17, 24-29
Psalters: 134, 120, 292, 180
  1. The consuming fire.
    1. After three days’ journey (10:33) they camped for a bit at a place named Taberah (later “Kibroth-hattaavah”).
    2. We are not told why they complained – only that they complained.
    3. So quickly (only 30 to 40 miles from Sinai) the people (as a whole) forgot important points.
    4. The judgment of fire divided, consuming “them that were in the uttermost pats of the camp” (1b).
      1. The complaining originated and continued among the mixed multitude.
      2. This event is a good example of how God deals with His instituted church as a whole.
    5. What caused the fire to cease?
  2. This event occasioned Moses’ complaining and becoming very despondent (11-15).
    1. Moses’ complaint to God is understandable but may not be condoned.
      1. It is a righteous displeasure at the Israel’s complaining and weeping.
      2. Moses is displeased, dejected and confused. He views his office as a source of affliction.
    2. But this was sinful – as sinful as the people.
      1. Moses was not seeing this burden of their complaining from the perspective of faith.
      2. Also he forgot that he never could do the work alone! That he is always completely dependent on the Lord.
      3. Further, he lost view of God’s favor having convinced himself that God does not love him.
      4. Moses exaggerated: God is slowly killing him with the work, so why not give me a quick death (15).
    3. At the same time, Moses’ despondency is an evidence of God’s anger against Israel.
  3. God mercifully responds to Moses’ complaint because He sees him in Jesus.
    1. God supplied Moses with 70 elders (24).
      1. These might have been the same 70 of Exodus 24:9, but Moses in despair had forgotten them.
      2. Now they are given the Moses’ spirit, so they can prophesy.
    2. The incident of two of the 70: Eldad and Meldad (26-29).
      1. May assume that their being in the camp was proper.
      2. Joshua’s jealousy was wrong because it aims at the honor of men.
      3. Moses responds beautifully, as did Jesus (Luke 9:50) and Paul (Phil. 1:18).