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Verses of Numbers 11

10

Numbers 11:10 Commentary - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)

DISCOURSE: 150
INORDINATE DESIRE PUNISHED

Num 11:10-13. Then Moses heard the people weep throughout their families, every man in the door of his tent: And the anger of the Lord was kindled greatly: Moses also was displeased. And Moses said unto the Lord, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burthen of all this people upon me? Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, (as a nursing father beareth the sucking child,) unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers? Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? for they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat.

TRULY humiliating are the views which the Scripture gives us of human instability. Who would have thought that the zeal which all the princes of Israel manifested in furnishing the tabernacle [Note: Numbers 7 :.] should so soon vanish? The first journey which they have to perform, fills them all with discontent: it being continued three days without intermission, all complain of the length of the way. Some are signally punished by the Lord, being struck dead by fire: but the survivors, neither awed by the judgments inflicted on others, nor won by the mercy shewn to themselves, soon murmur again for want of variety in their food. At this, Moses is deeply grieved, and God is greatly offended. That the different circumstances may come easily under our review, we shall notice in succession,

I.

The sin of Israel—

They were discontented with the food which God had given them—
[They wanted flesh to eat, that they might gratify their palates; and were so vexed for want of it as to “weep in all their tents.” To excuse these inordinate desires, they complained, that they were emaciated by subsisting only on such insipid food as God had provided for them [Note: ver. 6.]. They invidiously compared their state in Egypt with their present state; omitting all which they had suffered there, and magnifying the comforts which they had there enjoyed — — — Thus they misrepresented both their past and present condition, that they might the better conceal their ingratitude, and justify their complaints.]

This was nothing less than a contempt of God himself [Note: ver. 20. “Ye have despised the Lord,” &c.]—

[What had not God done for them? What more could he have done? He had brought them out of Egypt with a high hand; and had overwhelmed their enemies in the Red Sea: he had been their Guide and Protector in all their way: he had given them bread from heaven, and water out of the rock: had revealed unto them his will, and taken them into a peculiar relation to himself above all the people upon the face of the earth; and yet, all that he had done was accounted as nothing, because they wanted flesh to eat. Is it possible to conceive a greater contempt of God than this? — — —]
Such a sin is discontent, in whomsoever it is found—
[There are many things in this world which a discontented mind will pant after or regret. But the indulging of such a disposition is rebellion against the Sovereign Disposer of all events; yea, it is an utter contempt of him. What! is it not sufficient to have God for our Father, Christ for our Saviour, the Spirit for our Comforter, and heaven for our everlasting inheritance, but must we murmur and complain because all temporal circumstances are not to our mind? What signifies any temporal want or loss, when we have such unsearchable riches secured to us? In comparison of such blessings, the greatest of earthly comforts is no more than the dust upon the balance. But this, alas! we are too apt to forget: we are ready, like the Israelites, to overlook all the mercies we enjoy, through an excessive regret of something lost, or an inordinate desire of something unpossessed.]
When we reflect on the exceeding baseness of this conduct, we shall not wonder at,

II.

The grief of Moses—

We cannot altogether approve of the manner in which Moses expressed his sorrow—
[He not only complained to God, but in reality complained of God himself. God had appointed him to lead that people to the land of Canaan. This should have been considered by him as a singular honour: but he complained of it as a burthen. Not that he would ever have complained of it, if the people had walked worthy of their high calling: but when they were dissatisfied and rebellious, it seemed to him as if all his labour had been in vain. Had he been their natural father, he would have thought it reasonable enough that he should take the oversight of them: but when he had no other relation to them than that which was common to all, he deemed it a hardship to have so great a charge committed to him; and he begged that God would release him from it by taking away his fife — — — Alas! what is human nature when it comes to be severely tried! — — —]

But from this we learn some very important lessons—
We learn what the ministerial office is—
[God says to a Minister, “Take this people,” and, “as a nursing father carried his sucking child” through the wilderness, where there were no other means for its conveyance, so do you “carry them in your bosom,” bearing with all their frowardness, attending to all their wants, administering to all their necessities, and seeking your happiness in their welfare.” O! what a charge is this! and what grace do they need who have to sustain and execute it! — — — O that all of us resembled Paul [Note: 1Th 2:7-8.]! — — —]

We learn also what a Minister’s heaviest affliction is.
[If his people be obedient to their God, great as his difficulties are, he is willing to bear them: his people are “his joy and crown of rejoicing:” “he lives, when they stand fast in the Lord:” “he has no greater joy than to see his children walk in truth.” But when they decline from the ways of God, when they are dissatisfied with his ministrations, and begin to despise the bread of life, because it is plain and unmixed with any thing suited to a carnal appetite, then he is grieved, and wounded in his inmost soul; then life itself becomes a burthen to him, and he is ready to wish for death to put a period to his sorrows. We remember how Paul was grieved by the worldliness and sensuality of some, and by the heretical conduct of others: he could not speak of them without tears [Note: Php 3:18-19.]; and he was always like a woman in travail, by reason of his anxiety for their welfare [Note: Gal 4:19.]. “The care of all the churches” was a heavier burthen to him than all his own perils and dangers, whether by sea or land. “None were weak, but he was weak also;” nor were any offended and turned aside, but “he burned” with an ardent desire to restore them. O that every minister were thus wrapped up in the good of the people committed to his care! “His afflictions might abound; but his consolations should abound” also.]

That which so deeply afflicted Moses, excited, in a very high degree,

III.

The displeasure of God—

It is instructive to observe in what manner God manifested his displeasure—

[He granted their wishes, and sent them such abundance of quails, that for many miles round their camp they lay above a yard thick upon the ground. The people with great avidity began to gather them up. For two whole days and a night did they occupy themselves in this work: so he who gathered least among them, gathered ten homers, or eighty bushels. Now they began to revel upon the spoil; but whilst the flesh was in their mouths, even before it was chewed, God smote them with a very great plague, whereof many thousands of them died [Note: ver. 32, 33 with Psa 78:17-31.] — — — How strongly did God mark their sin in their punishment!]

But we are peculiarly interested in the end for which he thus displayed his indignation—
[He expressly tells us, that it was for our sakes, and to make them ensamples unto us [Note: 1Co 10:6; 1Co 10:10-11.]. He designed to teach us “not to lust after evil things, as they lusted.” O that we could learn that lesson, and take warning by them! We are ready to think it a light matter to be dissatisfied with what we have, and to be longing for what we have not: but God has shewn us that he does not account it light: he deems it a contempt of him and of the rich mercies he has vouchsafed unto us; and as such, he will sooner or later visit it with fiery indignation — — —]

Suffer ye then, Brethren, a word of exhortation—

1.

Guard against the contagion of bad example—

[It was “the mixed multitude” who first began to murmur [Note: ver. 4. They were Egyptians, who accompanied the Israelites.]; and from them the dissatisfaction spread through all the tents of Israel. Thus did Judas infect all the disciples [Note: Compare Mat 26:7-9 with Joh 12:4-6.]. Thus shall we ever find it in the Church: “a little leaven is sufficient to leaven the whole lump.” If there be any one of a carnal, worldly, querulous and contentious spirit, be sure to let him have no influence over your mind. Reject his counsels as poison; and follow none any further than they follow Christ — — —]

2.

Cultivate a contented spirit—

[“Be contented with such things as ye have.” It is better to have little with a devout spirit, than abundance, and “leanness of soul withal.” God shewed that it was not from any want of power that he did not feed them every day with flesh; but because he knew that it would be productive of no good to their souls. Think not that it is from any want of love or power that he suffers you to be tried in a variety of ways. He could easily carry you on without any trials, and give you all that the most carnal heart could desire. But trials are the fruits of his love: he desires to instruct you in every part of your duty; that you may “know both how to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” “Learn then in every thing to be content,” and to say from your hearts in all things, “Not my will, but thine be done.”]

3.

Expect from God all that is truly good for you—

[Moses himself staggered at the promise, when God said, that all the people should feed on flesh for a whole month [Note: ver. 21, 22.]: but God said to him, “Is the Lord’s hand waxed short? Thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not [Note: ver. 23.].” His promises to us also are “exceeding great and precious,” both in relation to our bodies and our souls — — — Let us never presume to “limit the Holy One of Israel,” as though any thing which he has promised, were either too great, or too good, for him to give. The trials which he sends us, are often sent on purpose that we may see the exceeding riches of his grace in our deliverance. For temporal things, let us depend entirely on his good providence; and for spiritual things, on his all-sufficient grace. In Christ Jesus there is a fulness of all that we can want; and “out of his fulness we may all receive” from day to day — — —]


Verses of Numbers 11

10

Consult other comments:

Numbers 11:10 - Joseph Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Numbers 11:10 - Calvin's Complete Commentary

Numbers 11:10 - Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics

Numbers 11:10 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Numbers 11:10 - Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Numbers 11:10 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Numbers 11:10 - Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Numbers 11:10 - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)

Numbers 11:10 - Biblical Illustrator Edited by Joseph S. Exell

Numbers 11:10 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Numbers 11:10 - Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

Numbers 11:10 - The Popular Commentary on the Bible by Kretzmann

Numbers 11:10 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

Numbers 11:10 - John Trapp's Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Numbers 11:10 - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Numbers 11:10 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)