Moses was commanded by the LORD to make two silver trumpets in order to provide direction to the people – for directing the movement of the camps, to call an assembly as an entire congregation, to assemble as leaders, in times of war, in days of gladness, on the first of the month, as well as other times of special sacrifices.
It was now time to blow those trumpets. It had been two years and two months since their redemption from Egypt and they finally head out to the Promised Land – in orderly fashion.
Moses recruited his brother-in-law, Hobab, to join them on the journey. Not only would Hobab benefit from the blessings given to Israel, but the Israelites could benefit from his knowledge of the land and desert routes (Numbers 10:31-32). Although it isn’t clear in our text whether or not Hobab joined them, it appears from Judges 1:16; 4:11 that he did – but he is not mentioned again in the Pentateuch.
The people began to complain about their food. They were tired of the Manna (angels’ food – Psalm 78:25). This complaining seems to have started with the mixed multitude (the non-Israelites) among them (be careful who you journey with). This led to the judgment of God (people died) and the weeping of the people (Numbers 11:8). The burden was getting heavier on Moses, so he does the right thing and gets honest with God – he casts his burden on the Lord.
I’m reminded of:
1 Peter 5:7 (NKJV) “…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”
It’s always too heavy for us, especially leaders who are called to serve God and His people the way Moses was. We need to constantly pray and give Him our burdens.
I’m also reminded of:
Philippians 2:14 (NKJV) “Do all things without complaining and disputing.”
No matter what your lot in life may be, you can always find something to complain about. The children of Israel should have looked on the bright side, they were now free from the bondage of slavery, they had entered into a covenant with God as His special people, they were alive and well on their way to the promised land – they should have been grateful they for the food they had (1 Timothy 6:8).
Erwin Luther said, “Complaining about our lot in life might seem quite innocent in itself, but God takes it personally.”
God was not pleased; He was angry.
All this led Moses to cry out to God (a good thing) and the Lord provided a plan to ease the burden by anointing seventy men to help carry the load. God would even provide so much meat for Israel that it would be coming out of their nostrils. Moses questioned it – how could God possibly do that – they couldn’t slaughter their flocks and herds flippantly? God responded:
Numbers 11:23 (NKJV) “And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Has the LORD’s arm been shortened? Now you shall see whether what I say will happen to you or not.’”
Nothing is too hard for God. If He wanted them to have meat He would have provided it for them, but they were now entering into God’s “Permissive Will.” Be careful what you ask for, you might just “get it.”
I’ve always been touched by this anointing of Jesus by Mary of Bethany. She seemed to be the only one who understood that Jesus was about to die. Her sacrificial act, was one of pure worship, so much so, that the enemy couldn’t take it any longer. Judas hated the love and praise Mary directed towards Jesus. Judas had been lining his pockets all along; he no doubt had his eye on this costly oil of spikenard. We read the real reason for Judas’ questioning this act in:
John 12:6 (NKJV) “This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.”
A single denarius was a day’s wages – this fragrant oil was worth more than three hundred denarius! Now that it’s gone, it’s the last straw, Judas turns to the religious leaders and makes an agreement to betray the Lord Jesus, “conveniently.”
Wiersbe said this, “Mary’s act of worship brought joy to the heart of Jesus and malice to the heart of Judas, who wanted the money she had spent (John 12:6). Other women came to anoint Him after His burial (Mark 16:1), but Mary did it when He could be encouraged by her love.”
Jesus supernaturally directs His disciples to a large furnished upper room where they would celebrate the Passover together, it was a meal He knew would be special – we often refer to it as the “Last Supper.” Jesus predicts His betrayal, while reaching out to His betrayer, Judas, who doesn’t respond repentantly. If the love doesn’t work maybe the law would – Jesus issues the heaviest of warnings:
Mark 14:21 (NKJV) “The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had never been born.”
But Judas didn’t flinch.
God help us to immediately respond to the way He woos us and the way He warns us!
David was on top of the world – a dangerous place to be. The tragic story is chronicled in 2 Samuel chapters 11-12 when David fell into sexual sin with Bathsheba, got her pregnant, tried to swivel his way out of it – when that didn’t work he orchestrated the murder of Bathsheba’s husband Uriah (who was one of his mighty men – 1 Chronicles 11:10, 41). After the adultery and murder he simply went on with his merry life – thinking he could get away with it.
Never. There’s no way.
The sin weighed heavy on David, it separated him from God for close to a year, and it wasn’t until Nathan came and clearly (supernaturally) confronted David, that he finally came clean. This is the background to this Psalm penned by David.
In this Psalm David is pleading for mercy and forgiveness; he acknowledged his sin, what he had done and even who he was. Psalm 51:5 teaches us that we’re all born-sinners, born with original sin; we all have the nature of Adam after the fall (Romans 5:12) and we need God’s grace.
But the only way we can experience that forgiveness is to confess our sin and forsake it.
Proverbs 28:13 (NKJV) “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”
This Psalm is a vivid expression of what happens when we try to hide our sin (a terrible thing to do) and what can happen if we’re completely honest, come clean and confess. It’s not religion that God looks for, it’s a true and total transparency in conjunction with a yielded life.
I encourage you to sift through this special Psalm, prayerfully.
Psalm 51:16–17 (NKJV) “For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart – these, O God, You will not despise.”
God forgave David’s sin and restored his relationship with Him, but there would be heavy, heavy consequences (2 Samuel 12:10-14).
James compared the tongue to a teeny-tiny rudder on the bottom of a big boat able to dictate its path. He also compared the tongue to a small bit in a horses mouth with the ability to control the stallion. He also likened it to a spark, able to start an uncontrollable forest fire. (James 3)
Although I’m not the determiner of truth, I’ve found James’ similes to be true. The words we speak can bring both life or death (Proverbs 18:21) this is why God speaks frequently of it (the tongue) in the Proverbs.
God help us to guard our tongues – what we let out of our mouths. May our words always be wise, not foolish or perverse; may they be acceptable to God…every single syllable of every single word (Matthew 12:36).
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.