Tag Archives: prophecy

Numbers 11: Everyone likes to complain sometimes, even Moshe

What is the real complaint in Numbers 11? What did Moshe hear vs. what did God hear? 

“Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the LORD; and when the LORD heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. The people therefore cried out to Moshe, and Moshe prayed to the LORD and the fire died out. So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the LORD burned among them.” (Numbers 11:1–3 NASB)

God heard the people complaining of “adversity” and the people didn’t believe that God had their best interest at heart. We don’t know the exact nature of the complaints in Numbers 11:1-3 that upset God so much. 

Human beings have a tendency to murmur and hope they won’t be heard and also at tendency to murmur and hope that they will be heard. God’s judgement was take out the murmurers. 

It’s easy to blame the “mixed multitude” for these complaints, but the Torah (GenesisDeuteronomy) says that it was Israel who complained. The “mixed multitude” may have joined in to the complaints but there’s nothing written that indicates these complaints were instigated by the “mixed multitude.” It’s human nature to blame “the other” for your nation’s problems. 

“The rabble who were among them had greedy desires; and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, “Who will give us meat to eat? ‘We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna.'”(Numbers 11:4–6 NASB)

This complaint was heard by Moshe directly. They were complaining because they didn’t have access in the desert to the types of foods they had in Goshen, which was located in the fertile Nile delta. 

“Now Moshe heard the people weeping throughout their families, each man at the doorway of his tent; and the anger of the LORD was kindled greatly, and Moshe was displeased.” (Numbers 11:10 NASB)

First God is displeased with murmuring and now Moshe is expressing displeasure at hearing the people murmuring. God wanted Moshe to hear these complaints about the lack of fish, onions, garlic, etc. What will happen if God takes away our luxury from us? If we complain, God will hear it. If you hear people complaining, don’t join in. 

What is Moshe complaining about? Moshe is not complaining about what he does not have. He is complaining to God about how he feels inadequate to the task of taking care of all these people.

“So Moshe said to the LORD, ‘Why have You been so hard on Your servant? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all this people on me? Was it I who conceived all this people? Was it I who brought them forth, that You should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom as a nurse carries a nursing infant, to the land which You swore to their fathers’? ‘Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me, saying, ‘Give us meat that we may eat!’ ‘I alone am not able to carry all this people, because it is too burdensome for me. So if You are going to deal thus with me, please kill me at once, if I have found favor in Your sight, and do not let me see my wretchedness.'” (Numbers 11:11–15 NASB)

Moshe has been teaching and guiding the people of Israel for a year at this point and the burden was hard on him. Moshe wasn’t complaining for himself but because of the people. God knows what we can handle and we can often handle more than we think we can but if we reach our limit, God is just and able to help us bear it. 

“The LORD therefore said to Moshe, ‘Gather for Me seventy men from the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and their officers and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you.'” (Numbers 11:16 NASB)

God knew this burden was difficult for Moshe and God specifically told Moshe to choose 70 elders to help him. 

After a year, Moshe knew the people well enough to choose the 70 elders to help him. Moshe did not choose novices. He chose people who he knew cared about their people. We don’t know their names but God gave them His Spirit, the same Spirit He gave to Moshe, to help Moshe with the burden of shepherding the people.

“The LORD said to Moshe, Is the LORD’s power limited? Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not.'” (Numbers 11:23 NASB)

Moshe then called the 70 to come to the Tabernacle to receive their anointing and told the people to consecrate themselves. 

“So Moshe went out and told the people the words of the LORD. Also, he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people, and stationed them around the tent. Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him; and He took of the Spirit who was upon him and placed Him upon the seventy elders. And when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do it again.”  (Numbers 11:24–25 NASB)

These men didn’t speak prophesy until God’s Spirit came upon them, and they didn’t have to do it again. 

“But two men had remained in the camp; the name of one was Eldad and the name of the other Medad. And the Spirit rested upon them (now they were among those who had been registered, but had not gone out to the tent), and they prophesied in the camp. So a young man ran and told Moshe and said, ‘Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.’ Then Joshua the son of Nun, the attendant of Moshe from his youth, said, ‘Moshe, my lord, restrain them.’ But Moshe said to him, ‘Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets, that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!’ Then Moshe returned to the camp, both he and the elders of Israel.” (Numbers 11:26–30 NASB)

Even though these two men didn’t show up, they were still given their assignment. Why they weren’t at the Tabernacle at the appointment time is not recorded, it is not our business to know. 

God came to them even though they didn’t come to them. Also as Joshua was jealous, in a sense for Moshe, there’s a similar incident when the 12 Apostles were jealous because there was a person speaking in Yeshua’s name who wasn’t among their group. Yeshua’s reaction was similar to Moshe’ reaction. Rather than rebuking the “outsider,” Moshe and Yeshua encouraged them.

Moshe wanted all people to have God’s Spirit on them. The people who have been much easier to lead if they did. 

“Now there went forth a wind from the LORD and it brought quail from the sea, and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp and about two cubits deep on the surface of the ground.” (Numbers 11:31 NASB)

The quail were a 12 hour’s distance away then converged on the Tabernacle. They were piled up 36 inches high and they easy pickings on the ground, not flying around. The people were told to only gather up enough manna for one day’s meal at every day, except Shabbat (Exodus 16). Yet the Scripture says the minimum amount of quail gathered by each person was 10 omers, which is far more than one person would need for one days’ meal. There was certainly a spirit of gluttony, desire and food lust here. 

“So the name of that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had been greedy.” (Numbers 11:34 NASB)

The NASB Hebrew Dictionary translates Kibroth-hattavah as “graves of desire.” Their gluttony and unreasonable desires killed them. 

Reader: Jeff. Speaker: Richard Agee. Summary: Tammy.

Jonah 3: Contrasting contriteness of Nineveh and Israel

Studies in Prophets and WritingsJonah 3 is a short chapter, but there is a lot in there. We are shown how the individual Ninevites responded to the message of Jonah. The repentance of the people grabbed the attention of the king of Nineveh who encouraged their repentance. The people of Nineveh believed God, and “it was credited to them as righteousness” (cf. Gen. 15:6), just as it was for Abraham. 

Jonah was a reluctant prophet. Assyrians were a cruel people, an enemy of Israel. It was not in the nation of Israel’s interest for the people of Nineveh to repent. 

“Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you.'” (Jonah 3:1–2 NASB)

God does not correct Jonah’s previous behavior any further. He doesn’t hold it against him. This is a do-over of Jonah’s call to mission to Nineveh.

Nineveh is a large city with several smaller suburbs that are collectively referred to as the “Great City of Nineveh.” It took about 3 days to walk through the entire city. 

“Then Jonah began to go through the city one day’s walk; and he cried out and said, “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” (Jonah 3:4 NASB)

Jonah’s three days journey included a message of death. Yeshua’s message included His death.

Yeshua gave warnings of repentance to the generation of His day. Jonah gives a message of repentance. 

Jonah did not go to the king, he went to the people. Most of the prophets were sent to speak with the king. There’s no indication that Jonah ever met the king of Nineveh. His message was to the people, just as Yeshua’s mission was to the people. 

It was the people who believed Jonah first and it worked up to the king. The people repented first, then the king. 

In Nineveh, change came from the bottom up, while in Israel, the prophets spoke to the kings because in Israel, the kings were appointed by God. The people and the kings of Israel had some of idea of what was right and wrong and purposefully chose to ignore God’s rules. 

The people and king of Nineveh had no clue about what was right and wrong in God’s eyes. They were ignorant of His rules. 

After one days journey, Jonah begins preaching his message and he warned the people that judgement would happen in 40 days. The 40 day time frame is a traditional time of trial. The people of Nineveh are being offered 40 days to hear the message, and respond with repentance. 

“Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them.” (Jonah 3:5 NASB)

The people of Nineveh believed in God, not Jonah. It was the people who initially responded and proclaimed a fast. Everyone is fasting, they are all equally miserable from the highest to the lowest. God is not a respecter of persons.

Ash is used for cleaning, it’s a traditional ingredient in soap. It’s a symbolic way of saying that “I need cleaning.” 

The king of Nineveh became aware of Jonah’s message and he followed the course that his people were following. God used the people to change the leadership’s course. 

“He issued a proclamation and it said, ‘In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing.'” (Jonah 3:7 NASB)

Why did the king of Nineveh care about the animals? What do animals know? Can they sin? What is the king trying to say? All of God’s creation know Him. 

Including animals in fasts is not uncommon in the Ancient Near East, it was common in Persia during times of national fasting that man and beasts were to fast. Animals will be miserable without food and water and will cause misery to those responsible for their care. Imagine cattle being deprived of water for a day or so. They will trample over other animals in their herd, even their human caregivers to get to water. 

When you are responsible for animals and you have to deprive them of food and water for a time, it’s a sorry feeling to see their suffering. 

A king’s job is to care for their citizens, they are to respond to their needs. The king is supposed to have compassion on their citizens. If they suffer, the king is supposed to alleviate. 

When the king calls a fast for citizens and animals, it’s to teach the people that just as their depravation of food and water to the animals hurts them, the suffering of the people hurts the king. 

What does the king call on the people to give up? 

“But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands.” (Jonah 3:8 NASB)

The king is asking the people to look at themselves and how their actions are causing their fellow citizens to suffer and the nation to incur judgement.

The sackcloth and ashes are not repentance. Fasting is not repentance. When they saw their animals and their children suffering, it turned their hearts to compassion and repentance.

“Yet even now,”declares the LORD, “Return to Me with all your heart, And with fasting, weeping and mourning; And rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness And relenting of evil. Who knows whether He will not turn and relent And leave a blessing behind Him, Even a grain offering and a drink offering For the LORD your God?” (Joel 2:12–14 NASB)

Their repentance was to stop their culture of violence. When they repented, and stopped acting in violence, the hearts of the people of Nineveh were stirred with compassion, not only for their animals but for each other, too.

“When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.” (Jonah 3:10 NASB)

By day 41, enough of the people of Nineveh had repented of their violence that God did not destroy them. 

This is different from what the people of Judah did in Joel’s day. The people of Judah went through the outward show but their hearts never repented. It’s God’s job to draw the heart, not the Messiah’s. It was not Jonah’s job to change the hearts of the people, it was his God-given job to tell the people of Nineveh what they needed to do to repent and the consequence of ignoring the message. 

Speaker: Daniel Agee. Summary: Tammy. 

Luke 21:5-38: When will the sun, moon, stars darken and Son of Man arrive on a cloud?

JeffWe don’t want the Day of the LORD to arrive because of its sadly necessary turmoil, yet we hope for it. The main occupants of the heavens — sun, moon and stars — are going to appear dim and dark. It’s almost the reverse of Genesis 1.

This is not going to be a good time. Yet it’s dead and hope, wrapped in one.

Continue reading Luke 21:5-38: When will the sun, moon, stars darken and Son of Man arrive on a cloud?

Demystifying the mysterious ‘abomination of desolation’

JeffOne of the ways we can look at the mysterious apocalyptic phrase “abomination of desolation” is to see it as a “Tale of Three Cities” — Babylon, Tyre and Ninevah — and how all three cities are really symbolic of Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) herself. The carnage of the “abomination of desolation” will not come on Babylon, Tyre, Ninevah or any of our great cities of modern times like London, New York or Tokyo. From God’s prophets, we understand that it was and will be the people of Yerushalayim who will have a front row seat, and it will be for the same reasons for the previous desolations.

George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” We are blessed to read these repeated warning of the spiritual condition of people God calls before an “abomination of desolation” — and internalize the lessons. 

Continue reading Demystifying the mysterious ‘abomination of desolation’

1st Kings 13:1-14:20: Chiastic prophecy of northern Israel’s exile, return

Daniel AgeeThe chiastic structure in 1st Kings 13 points to the words spoken by the prophet to the pagan altar of northern Israel. That prophecy finds fulfillment in chapter 14 and 300 years later under king Yoshiyah (Josiah).

Continue reading 1st Kings 13:1-14:20: Chiastic prophecy of northern Israel’s exile, return

Genesis 27: Ya’akov deceives Yitzkhak to receive prophesied blessing

Richard AgeeWhy has the birthright and blessing due Esau but passed to Ya’akov (Jacob) been a persistent factor in world history, even to our day and the future Day of the Lord? Is there a connection between the delusion Ya’akov gave his father, Yitzkhak (Isaac), to gain Esau’s blessing and the “strong delusion” God has planned for the Day of the Lord?

Continue reading Genesis 27: Ya’akov deceives Yitzkhak to receive prophesied blessing

Genesis 25: Death of Abraham, prophecy of Rivkah’s warring children and connections to Creation and the Flood

What is the connection between this account of the death of Abraham and the prophecy of warring children in the womb of Rivkah (Rebecca) and the accounts of Creation and of the Flood?

Continue reading Genesis 25: Death of Abraham, prophecy of Rivkah’s warring children and connections to Creation and the Flood