Summary of passage: The people grumbled about their hardships. The Lord heard them and sent fire to burn the outskirts of the camp. The people cried out to Moses who prayed to God and the fire died down.
3a) Ungrateful, complaining, not content in Him, lack of faith in God
b) God heard the people complain and he was angry so he sent fire to burn the outskirts of the Israelites’ camp.
4a) They cried out to Moses
b) Personal Question. My answer: I usually get mad and pout and question God’s ways and I cry out to Him. I get frustrated and ask why.
c) Psalm 16:6: This is a reminder that my inheritance is in heaven and it is a much better place than here.
Psalm 37:7: This is a reminder to wait patiently on God and His ways and to not worry when men succeed in their wicked ways. Trust Him.
Philippians 4:11-12: This is a reminder to be content with what you have and where you are at. Verse 13 is the famous one: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” I can endure with Him.
Conclusions: A very short lesson today and a short reading. A nice break. We are not told exactly what the complaints were about (moving all the time, carrying heavy loads, eating the same food day-in and day-out, etc) but whatever it was it made God angry enough to send fire! We all have the same complaints about our daily hardships. Still, we must trust–which is much easier said than done.
End Notes: The Israelites had just been set apart of God, cleansed, separated, and blessed and given Him himself to guide them and He dwells with them and the first thing they do when they set out is complain. God is very disappointed indeed.
It’s ungrateful and lack of faith in Him for the here and now.
What the complaints were about is unimportant since they are not mentioned; the complaints speak to the state of the Israelites hearts just like our complaints speak to ours.
Fire, the light by which the Israelites see at night, is now the enemy here as it brings justice to God’s people.
Some scholars say the Israelites should have cried out to God directly, but I disagree. They were so used to Moses speaking for them it was natural for them. Plus, I’m sure they were afraid and as in all of our readings of the past, when the Israelites are afraid of God, they reach out to Moses (whom God chose to be their intermediary for Him) to speak to God.