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February 8, 2024 - Numbers 9-12

Well, the people are about to head out from Sinai and farther into the wilderness.  But, first, they will observe the Passover and remember how God delivered them from Egypt.  It is always good to remember God and his works on our behalf and to reflect on those.  So, the two silver trumpets sound, which got the people up and moving across the landscape.  And they also used those trumpets to sound alarms and to communicate about other matters.  No cell phones or radio or Twitter (X) in those days!  And they were to blow the trumpets over the burnt offerings and the sacrifices of their peace offerings.  As God explained, “They shall be a reminder of you before your God:  I am the Lord your God” (10:10).  Always they are to remember the good they have is from God.  Always they are to look to him for their sustenance and guidance.  Their hope and encouragement will be found only in him.


And so, the cloud lifted above the tabernacle, and the people were off (10:12).  “And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes” (11:1).  Misfortunes?  I’m thinking to myself, “And what misfortunes were those?”  Well, of course, they complained that their menu was not quite as varied as it had been in Egypt while, at the same time, forgetting that their babies were being killed, that they were working in terrible conditions from sun up to sun down, and that they were hated by those around them.  But they just had to have a hamburger with pickles and onions (“meat . . . cucumbers . . . onions” 11:4,5)!  And they continued to complain and to mistrust:  the manna was not tasty enough, rebellions against Moses, refusal to trust God and to follow Joshua and Caleb into the land, and so on.


How petty they quickly became, in the same way that we can become petty.  Two stark choices presented:  either remember God and all his blessings or, in the midst of the abundance of his blessings, complain and be ungrateful.  That’s the choice we have to make constantly.  The writers of the Psalms have put it like this . . .


"Be glad in the Lord, you righteous ones, And give thanks to His holy name" (Ps 97:12)


"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting" (Ps 136:1).


"Surely the righteous will give thanks to Your name; The upright will dwell in Your presence" (Ps 140:12).


And I will just let the words of the psalmists ring in our ears, this morning.

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