Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | June 25, 2014

Adversity: Do we complain or are we composed? Do we panic or are we patient?

Today’s devotion comes from Numbers 11:1-9.  Next devotion, God willing, will be come on Monday, June 30, 2014.  I plan to be in Gainesville, Georgia for the next few days.

“Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord; and when the Lord heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.  The people therefore cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord and the fire died out.  So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the Lord burned among them.

The rabble who were among them had greedy desires;  and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, “Who will give us meat to eat?  We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, but now our appetite is gone.  There is nothing at all to look at except this manna.”

Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its appearance like that of bdellium.  The people would go about and gather it and grind it between two millstones or beat it in the mortar, and boil it in the pot and make cakes with it;  and its taste was as the taste of cakes baked with oil.  When the dew fell on the camp at night, the manna would fall with it.”  Numbers 11:1-9.  


When we are faced with adversity, do we complain or are we composed?  Do we panic or are we patient?  

We read in today’s Scripture that Israel complained, and the LORD’s anger was kindled and burned.  The LORD’s anger burned some of the outskirts of the camp.  

Psalm 78 contains a panoramic summary of the history of God’s care for Israel in the wilderness and how Israel reacted to God.  I quote just the following verses.

14 Then He led them with the cloud by day
And all the night with a light of fire.
15 He split the rocks in the wilderness
And gave them abundant drink like the ocean depths.
16 He brought forth streams also from the rock
And caused waters to run down like rivers.

17 Yet they still continued to sin against Him,
To rebel against the Most High in the desert.
18 And in their heart they put God to the test
By asking food according to their desire.
19 Then they spoke against God;
They said, “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?
20 “Behold, He struck the rock so that waters gushed out,
And streams were overflowing;
Can He give bread also?
Will He provide meat for His people?”

21 Therefore the Lord heard and was full of wrath;
And a fire was kindled against Jacob
And anger also mounted against Israel,
22 Because they did not believe in God
And did not trust in His salvation.
23 Yet He commanded the clouds above
And opened the doors of heaven;
24 He rained down manna upon them to eat
And gave them food from heaven.
25 Man did eat the bread of angels;
He sent them food in abundance.”  Psalm 78:14-25.

Even though Israel complained, rebelled, and sinned against God, yet God did continue to send manna to Israel as both this Psalm 78 and today’s Scripture state.

We may not be faithful, but God, our Faithful Father, is still faithful to us, His children.  God still provides for us.

Reformed Doctrine helps us to be patient in adversity, calm and composed, because Reformed Doctrine teaches us and reminds us that God, our Faithful Father, continues His sovereign and almighty iron fist grip and control on all things to faithfully provide all that we need.   

Question 28.  What advantage is it to us to know that God has created, and by his providence doth still uphold all things? 

Answer.  That we may be patient in adversity;  thankful in prosperity;  and that in all things, which may hereafter befall us, we place our firm trust in our faithful God and Father, that nothing shall separate us from his love;  since all creatures are so in his hand, that without his will they cannot so much as move.  Heidelberg Catechism.

Question 26.  What believest thou when thou sayest, “I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth”? 

Answer.  That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (who of nothing made heaven and earth, with all that is in them;  who likewise upholds and governs the same by his eternal counsel and providence) is for the sake of Christ his Son, my God and my Father; on whom I rely so entirely, that I have no doubt, but he will provide me with all things necessary for soul and body: and further, that he will make whatever evils he sends upon me, in this valley of tears turn out to my advantage; for he is able to do it, being Almighty  God, and willing, being a faithful Father.   Heidelberg Catechism.

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