3. The news of Miriam’s death is contained in only one short sentence.
Miriam hasn’t been mentioned since she remained outside the camp for seven days. Numbers 12:15
In both incidents, there was no water for the people or the animals to drink. So naturally, they blamed Moses, complained and rebelled.
b. I’m not sure what’s worse—
Sadly, it was all avoidable.
Aren’t we all prone to make rash statements when we are angry, frustrated, terrified, or disgusted? I don’t like to guess or assume what someone else was thinking or what they meant.
Certainly they were trying to get their point across.
I know I can blame my husband when I’m frustrated, even if the problem is my own fault.
5. Comparison of God’s responses when the people complained—
I kind of don’t want to know. Because I have been known to complain. A lot. I’m working on it.
Exodus 15:22-27—The people complained because the available water was bitter. God made the water drinkable when Moses threw a log into it.
God solved their problem quickly without reprimand.
It was there at Marah that the Lord set before them the following decree as a standard to test their faithfulness to him. He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.”
Exodus 17:1-7—There was no water. The people again complained and demanded water.
God sent a gusher.
Moses asked them why they complained against him and tested God.
Rather than listen to Moses, they argued, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Are you trying to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst?”
When Moses took the issue to God, God told him to strike the rock at Mount Sinai with the same staff you struck the Nile. He said, “Water will come gushing out.” Not a drip. Not a trickle. A Gusher.
Numbers 14—This time the complaint is in response to the bad report of the ten scouts. “Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?”
Moses interceded big time.
God agreed to pardon them for their complaints, all night pity party, and testing Him. However, He condemned them to wander in the wilderness for the rest of their lives.
Numbers 16:31-35—The people were terrified when they saw the earth open up and swallow Korah. Rather than repent, they cried,
“The earth will swallow us, too!” Then fire blazed forth from the Lord and burned up the 250 men who were offering incense.
They failed the test again. This time there was no time to repent. No time for Moses to intercede.
God’s responded immediately with a consuming fire.
I read all of these verses within the past few months. And I already forgot Moses used the same staff with which he struck the Nile. How soon we forget.
The people in the final passage is mostly, if not all, a new generation. They responded the same way their parents did.
The same way we are all likely to do.
Father, forgive me for complaining.
For being discontented.
For not trusting You.
For putting You to the test.
You are always faithful.