Read & Consider
Read Numbers 11:1-3
Is it wrong to analyse and review your situation? When does describing a danger become a complaint? How soon does a complaint lead to grumbling? How are your prayers when life appears hard? The Israelites are on the move, leaving Sinai, but certain unidentified hardships dominated their thoughts and feelings, engendering disobedience. God’s immediate response was terrifying. Fire fell down causing terrible destruction all around the outside areas of their massive camp. Let’s not be equivocal here: people, tents, livestock and possessions would all have been destroyed. One version describes flames devouring them. The result of sin for God’s people. There are uncomfortable comparisons here with what happened to Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron, (see Lev 10:1-2). Holy fire fell on the offerings but they offered profane, idolatrous fire of their own making. God destroyed them, turning their own fire on them. Perhaps those on the edge of the camp felt most vulnerable. However, their complaints were seen by God as a sign of rebellion. I wonder why they were on the edge? By choice or there with special responsibility? How were they feeling?
Over to you
- Help me accept your hard words, Lord, so that I can become obedient
- Forgive me for offering idols (name them) instead of choosing your holy will
- Forgive me for grumbling, complaining and being fearful and dissatisfied with your will for me and for my church
- Show me how to respond wherever I am placed and to trust you to rise up O Lord and let your enemies be scattered, just like Moses prayed before this terrible event in the camp (Num 10:35)
- Keep us from taking profane actions as a church, Lord. May we only move on as you lead us
- Where am I in God’s ‘camp’ and on the journey of his people?
- How am I responding to where I find myself?
- Am I pretending to assess the situation but actually complaining?
- Am I a habitual grumbler?
- Are my prayers, actions and offerings really a collection of idols – those things that please me only?
Read James 5: 9-11 in different bible versions meditatively. Resolve to daily name 3 blessings from now on, to encourage someone every day, and to commit to letting go and letting God.
Optional extra Family activity
Play Huddles: (Dads: calm down!) The leader calls out a number – get into groups of that number. The aim is to get right into the middle of the huddle. Talk about how it felt to be left out or on the edge. Try the same game with stuffed toys. How would Teddy on the edge feel? Try it with all holding hands and just one chaser outside. The chaser has to get in and is then hugged tightly. Talk about how it felt inside and outside. Which did they prefer and why? Talk about being in God’s church. Who said ‘that’s not fair’? What does God think when we complain? Have a look at Psalm 59:16 together and pray together.
Today’s Pray Today was prepared by John & Sue
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