Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | July 3, 2014

Greed and Grumbling: “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”

Today’s devotion comes from Numbers 11:31-35.

“Now there went forth a wind from the Lord and it brought quail from the sea, and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp and about two cubits deep on the surface of the ground.  The people spent all day and all night and all the next day, and gathered the quail (he who gathered least gathered ten homers) and they spread them out for themselves all around the camp.  While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord struck the people with a very severe plague.  So the name of that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had been greedy.  From Kibroth-hattaavah the people set out for Hazeroth, and they remained at Hazeroth.”  Numbers 11:31-35.

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We have seen the greed and grumbling earlier in the chapter.  “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.”  Numbers 11:4-6.

Israel was warned.  “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.”  Numbers 11:1.

But, the greed and grumbling still continued.  And this time, as we read in today’s Scripture:  “the Lord struck the people with a very severe plague.  So the name of that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had been greedy.”

So, let us not be greedy:  “Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.  Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.  Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.  No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man;  and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”  1 Corinthians 10:10-13.

And, there is more hope!

We saw a glimpse of that hope earlier in the chapter when we read about the LORD putting His Spirit on some of the elders and then Moses desiring in Numbers 11:29:  “Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!”

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.  For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.  Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are:  immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”  Galatians 5:16-24.

“Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity;  in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”  Philippians 4:11-13.


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