Introduction: Welcome to Expound our weekly worship and verse by verse study of the Bible. Our goal is to expand your knowledge of the truth of God as we explore the Word of God in a way that is interactive, enjoyable, and congregational.
Skip Heitzig: Father, we settle our hearts before you and we find great joy in giving you our attention. We also understand that doing so is not always easy because we have thoughts that compete. We have interests that fill our minds with concern. And so to be focused and to concentrate upon the text, the history, the background is not always easy. So I pray that you even in the hearing of the Word and the reading of it that your Spirit would help us to find interest in it, to put the pieces together, to connect all of the scriptural dots, to get a full picture, and to find truths that are applicable to us even thousands of years later, in Jesus' name, amen.
I love music, and I discover that most everybody I've ever met does as well. Music is one of the most powerful, cultural ways to communicate, and influences in any society. Just watch how people respond when they hear their own national anthem like during the Olympics and the gold is given. And whoever gets the gold, the national anthem of that country is played. And often the athletes so overwhelmed with the opportunity to represent her or his country before the world will just break down and cry. Hearing the tune will do that. Music is evocative.
If you want to sell a product, whether it's a Coke or a computer, find a catchy tune, set it to music. Millions of dollars are spent in coming up with tunes that form a hook for advertising so that people will remember your jingle, and thus, hopefully, buy your product. It's estimated that the average person in our country will listen in one year to 30,000 to 35,000 songs, one year. In the United Kingdom a study was done discovering that before a person dies he or she will have listened to thirteen years' worth of music, thirteen straight years of music.
So, there's an enormous amount of power in song. I use that as an introduction because one of the commands of the Lord given to Moses is that two musical instruments would be made as sort of a musical introduction, if you will, to the march of the children of Israel from Mount Sinai through the wilderness, and for their gatherings, their future convocations, the blowing of a trumpet. The note would be given, and people would hear the note and respond to it. And it would become so ingrained in their psyche that even years later in hearing that note of the silver trumpet it would evoke the call of the Lord. "Duty calls. We're moving ahead. We're marching or we're gathering together."
I heard a great story from a missionary years ago that there was a missionary who went to Nigeria to build a missions station. All the carpenters had come. The day had come to commence building. All the material was there, all the workers were there, but nobody was lifting a finger to build anything. So the missionary went to the foreman and said, "So, what's up? Why are we waiting?" And the foreman scratched his head and said, "You know, I don't know. For some reason the musician has been delayed."
The missionary said, "The musician? We're building a missions station, we're building a building." He said, "I know, but what you don't understand is in this culture we will build and work to the beating of a log and the chanting of songs during the day." Instead of a radio that's how they would build. That's how vital it is and will become even in the heart of the worship of the people of Israel. So chapter 10, beginning in verse 1, we're coming to some interesting chapters here, really interesting.
You know, if you remember---I'm just going to bring you up to speed. We told you that you could divide the book of Numbers into three sections: organization, disorganization, reorganization. Do you remember that? Chapters 1 through 10 are organization, or 1 through 9, well, really 1 through 10. Chapters 10 through 25 are disorganization. The thing is going to fall apart really quickly. And if we get to it, we'll see it in chapter 11. Then chapters 26 through 36 is reorganization. After the failure of the wilderness they reorganize, renumber themselves, and march ahead toward the Promised Land.
"The Lord spoke to Moses, saying," verse 1, " 'Make two silver trumpets for yourself; you shall make them of hammered work; you shall use them for calling the congregation and for directing the movement of the camps. When they blow both of them, all the congregation shall gather before you at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.' "The silver trumpets, these musical notes formed a communication system. They didn't have a PA system. They didn't have KNKT Radio to broadcast to the community. So they needed some way to get a message out that something was about to start, and so the silver trumpets were used.
Now the silver trumpets are different from another trumpet you and I have read about in the Old Testament, the ram's horn. You remember the shofar? The word shofar is the word for ram's horn. The word here is a completely different word, and it is a word that means a long tube or a stock or something to stretch out. So it would be a long, probably at least two-foot-long silver trumpet that would be long and narrow. And if you think about it, a silver trumpet, a metal trumpet would have a cleaner, clearer, more distinct, and more powerful tone that the muffled tones of a ram's horn, of a shofar.
And it was to signal something. It was to gather the people together. And there were different puffs of the horn for different commands that would be given for the children of Israel, to summon them for an important function or to sound an alarm. If you ever do go over to Israel, and I always recommend that you do. And I always get people asking me, "When are you going to do your next tour?" And we just do it every couple years or so. But in Jerusalem, as I mentioned last week, there is something called the Temple Institute.
Remember I showed you that golden menorah, how they reconstructed that? And they're bent on the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. They have also reconstructed these two silver trumpets. So when you're there next time, go check them out. They're on display, the two silver trumpets. And they have taken the measurements and the idea and the way they're shaped from a relief that is on the Arch of Titus in Rome. After Jerusalem fell to the Romans and the Romans brought all the spoils back to Rome, they would build an arch saying we're victorious over that people group.
And then they would hammer with a chisel on the arch itself in relief form pictures of the victory. And if you go to Rome today, you can see the spoils taken from Jerusalem. And very prominently displayed on the Arch of Titus are these two trumpets. And the Temple Institute has taken their cues from that. And it's also interesting that they're very similar to trumpets found in the storage unit of the boy pharaoh King Tutankhamen. His trumpets are almost identical in scope and in shape to these two silver trumpets.
Just a quick note: there's not one trumpet, there's not three trumpets, there's not eighteen trumpets, there are two trumpets. Why? Because two becomes the number of witness. "By two witnesses," the Bible says, "every word shall be established," or every work or every matter shall be established. So two becomes prominent. When Joshua sends spies to Jericho, how many does he send? Two spies. Ever wonder why? Moses sent twelve. Well, if you remember, ten of them weren't any good. Right? They said, "Oh, man, there's so many giants in the land, we'll not be able to take it."
Only two of them said, "We can do it." So, Joshua said, "Let's just cut the fat and send in the two. All you need is two for a witness." When Jesus sent out people around the Sea of Galilee to represent the gospel, he sent them out two by two in pairs. Two is the number of witness. In the book of Revelation, chapter 11, there are how many witnesses? Two witnesses. So, we have two trumpets. Verse 4, "'but if they blow only one, then the leaders, the heads of the divisions of Israel, shall gather to you.' "
Now follow me here. Blowing one trumpet signaled the gathering together of the people for some reason. The people are gathering together; one blast of the trumpet, gather the people together. As I read this, this stuck out to me, because there's that beautiful text about the rapture in First Thessalonians, chapter 4, that says: "The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, the voice of an archangel, and the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be taken up and gathered together with them in the air."
So the trumpet is given and the motif will be used throughout the Scriptures. Verse 5 " 'When you sound the advance, the camps that lie on the east shall then begin their journey. When you advance the second time, the camps that lie on the south shall begin their journey; they shall sound the call for them to begin their journeys. When the assembly is gathered together, you shall blow, but not sound the advance. The sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow the trumpets; and these shall be to you an ordinance forever throughout your generations.' "
Now, let me just take your attention back, if you remember, and I'm hoping you do, that around the tabernacle, remember the camps? There were four sides, right? There's north, south, east, and west. There's four sides, and there was an orderly way to camp around the tabernacle. And if you'll remember, there was first around the tabernacle one layer, and that was the priestly tribe, the Levitical camps. Beyond those camps were the twelve tribes of Israel. So on the east side you had Moses and Aaron and his sons. Those families were camped toward the east.
Toward the south were the Kohathites. Toward the west were the Gershonites. And toward the north were the families of Merari. And then beyond that were the camps of Israel. And so there was on orderly way in the way they marched and in the way they camped. One blast of trumpet would move that first camp, that Levitical camp toward the tabernacle to do their duty. Another blast would move the next Levitical camp to do their duty, another blast, etcetera. And then they would make a blast for the tribes. So there's four sides, times two; two blasts, one for each layer.
That's eight blasts of the trumpet to get this whole thing going in an organized fashion. However, since the ones who blow the trumpet are the family of Aaron, camped on the east, you wouldn't have eight soundings of the trumpet, you would have seven soundings of the trumpet, because one of them is blowing the trumpet. You're not going to blast the camp that isn't there doing the job of getting ready and blasting the trumpet. So the sons of Aaron blast the trumpet. There would probably have been seven blows and then the march.
And they're going to march, and they're going to get into a lot of trouble in the next several chapters. Now, I just want to propose an interesting corollary between this and the book of Revelation where you have judgments called "trumpet judgments." And how many trumpet judgments will there be? Seven. And it's interesting that the tribulation will be called by one of the prophets "the time of Jacob's trouble," or "the time of Israel's trouble." They had trouble in the wilderness, they're going to have a lot of trouble in the wilderness of the tribulation.
"The time of Jacob's trouble," and there will be seven blasts of the temple that alert the world and especially the congregation to what's up ahead. "'When you go to war,' " verse 9, " 'in your land against the enemy who oppresses you, then you will sound an alarm with the trumpets, and you will be remembered before the Lord your God, and you will be saved from your enemies. Now keep that thought in your head because of the way they finally camp, and what Moses said when they camp, and what Moses said when they get up again and march, because God made a promise.
"You're going to blow those trumpets, it's a sound of faith. It's a declaration that God will fight your enemies. " 'Also, in the day of your gladness, in your appointed feasts, and at the beginning of your months, you shall blow the trumpet over your burnt offerings, over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; they shall be a memorial for you before your God: I am the Lord your God.' "So, not just for marching, but also for war, and also for worship.
For war and for worship and for marching through the wilderness these trumpets were given, special celebrations, times of peace, times of joy, the Passover celebration, the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of Pentecost, the Feast of Tabernacles, and notice it says at the beginning of every month. The beginning of every month is considered a minor celebration or a small memorial among the Jews. They call it Rosh Chodesh, the head of the month. So at the beginning of every month you'd blow the trumpet.
Now, let me let give you a little bit of insight into the Jewish reckoning of time. Jewish life and the Jewish calendar is not based upon the solar calendar. That's what ours is based on. They base theirs on the lunar calendar. You know the difference: the lunar calendar is the measurement of the moon as it revolves, makes its journey around the earth; the solar calendar is what the earth does around the sun---two different calendars. Because Israel based its reckoning of time on the lunar calendar, there were twelve months, and each month had twenty-nine and a half days.
Twelve months of that is three hundred fifty-four and a third days, as opposed to the solar calendar, which has how many days? Three hundred sixty-five, five hours, forty-eight minutes, forty-six seconds, approximately. However, the festivals of Israel were tied to the solar calendar, not the lunar calendar. Follow me? So, you have Passover that takes place in the spring, you've got Pentecost that takes place around the summer, you've got the fall feast of tabernacles, etcetera---those are based upon the solar calendar.
So how to you reconcile two different calendars? By a principle called intercalating. Isn't that great word? I just taught you a new word. You can go look it up. Intercalating means to insert a time piece, whether it's a day, a week, or a month. So, they had an extra month that was floating out there that they didn't celebrate every year called the month of Adar, A-D-A-R. That was leap year. Whenever Adar was in your month, it was leap year. So you're following the lunar calendar, but to reconcile it from time to time with the solar calendar, they would have a leap year. The month of Adar would be intercalated into the calendar to reconcile them. So I hope that helps with something.
"Now it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, that the cloud was taken up," there's that cloud going up that we talked about last week, "from the tabernacle of the Testimony. And the children of Israel set out from the Wilderness of Sinai on their journeys; then the cloud settled down in the Wilderness of Paran. So they started out for the first time according to the command of the Lord by the hand of Moses." Now we're moving into phase two of this book from organization to disorganization.
What goes on between this point, Mount Sinai, and this other point, the Wilderness of Paran, especially the one little outpost city Kadesh Barnea, is going to be dizzying. It's going to be so disorienting. But they're ready to leave. They have been in Sinai now for a year. It's like, "Let's get this show on the road." And so that thing starts to move now. And from verse 14 all the way to verse 28 you'll notice a listing of the tribes starting with the tribes in the east. They're going move out and make their journey, and those tribes and the heads of the tribes are all mentioned.
Everything here that you read about, if you were to read all those verses---I'm giving you a summary of verse 14 to 28. Everything is done decently and in order. That won't last long, so just enjoy the decency and the order for a few precious moments, because it's going to be gone. Everything is done decently and in order and they're moving to the Wilderness of Paran. Paran, if you remember back to Genesis, and I'm not expecting you to hold on the all these places, but that is the place where Ishmael settled. Ishmael the son of Hagar---remember the bondwoman was cast out of the family of Abraham?
They settled down in the Wilderness of Paran and it was there that Ishmael was given a wife and he raised his family in the years to come. Verse 28, "Thus was the order of the march of the children of Israel, according to their armies, when they began their journey. Now Moses said to Hobab the son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses' father-in-law, 'We're setting out for the place of which the Lord said, "I will give it to you." Come with us, and we will treat you well; for the Lord has promised good things to Israel.' And he said to him, 'I will not go, but I will depart to my own land,' " he's a Midianite, if you recall, " 'and to my relatives.'
"Moses said, 'Please do not leave, inasmuch as you know we are to camp in the wilderness, and you can be our eyes.' "Actually, I see this as a beautiful picture of evangelism."Hey, dude, we're on the way to the Promised Land, we want you to come with us." "No, I don't want---" "No, please, come with us. You could be a part of us. In fact, we could really use somebody like you." The idea is on your journey, on your way to heaven please bring as many people with you as you can. They're not going to understand your message. Some of them are going to be upset. "No. We don't want to go."
But try to---even drag them with you---compel them to come. The height of selfishness is being content to go to heaven alone. "Hey, at least I'm in. Hoo! I'm set. Get out of here, the rest of you." That's the most selfish attitude. How could anyone live with themselves? Bring them along, bring them with you. He says to Hobab, "'Hobab, you can be our eyes. And it shall be, if you go with us---indeed it should be---that whatever good the Lord will do to us, the same we will do to you.' "Hobab, that sort of sounds like a Southern name, doesn't it, like Billy Bob? "Billy Bob, this is Ho-Bob." "Howdy!"
Hobab was the son of Reuel, a.k.a. Jethro. Jethro is the father-in-law of Moses, which means this is the brother-in-law of Moses. Moses is basically saying, "Look, this is desert. You know this desert, you know every shrub, you know every rock, you know every mountain range, we could use you. We need you." "So they started from the mountain of Lord on a journey of three days; and the ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them for three days' journey, to search out a resting place for them. And the cloud of the Lord was above them by day when they went out from the camp."
"And so it was, whenever the ark set out, that Moses said," listen to Moses' battle cry," 'Rise up, O Lord! Let your enemies be scattered.' "Remember the Lord said, "You blow that trumpet and I'm going to hear it, and I'm going to dispel your enemies." So here's Moses' battle cry, "'Rise up, O Lord! Let your enemies be scattered; let those who hate you flee before you.' And when it rested, he said: 'Return, O Lord, to the many thousands of Israel.' "They start their journey, they only go three days so far, only three days.
Now I just gotta tell you something: they've been sitting for a year, three days ain't much, but three days is a whole lot better than three more days at Sinai. "I mean, it's been cool there, but we're done. We want to go to Canaan." So they go three days, and Moses says this. Here's what I love about Moses: he acknowledges that he's going into unfamiliar territory laden with adversaries who will be his enemies and fight against him. But the Lord has given him a promise and he's marching into the land with faith. Not going, "Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!" but, "Rise up O Lord! Let your enemies be scattered."
He saw his future through the eyes of faith upon a promise that God had given him. May I suggest to you that when you face difficulties, battles, the future that is unknown, wilderness areas, parched deserts, you're feeling spiritually vanquished or malnourished, that you make statements like this of faith based upon God's promises to you. When you bring God into the picture, it changes the picture. You take God out of the picture, it's a bleak desert. Put God into the picture---refreshment, victory, joy, because he promised it.
Have you read the book of Acts? Do you remember when the early church was hassled? They were commanded not to spread the gospel in Jerusalem. They did it anyway. They got arrested. They got into trouble. But the Jewish authorities shook them up pretty good, saying, "We're giving you this commandment: Do not mention that name of that Jewish carpenter anymore in this town." So it says they went home, they went to their place of gathering, and they gathered together as a church and they prayed. And they didn't go like this: "O God! Oh, no! Man, this is horrible!"
Listen to their prayer. Listen to what they say: "Lord, you are God. You made the heavens, you made the earth, you made the sea, and everything that is in them, who by the mouth of your servant David has said: 'Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings have taken their stand, and the nations have gathered against the Lord, and against his anointed.' And truly against your holy servant Jesus, whom you have anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the Jewish nation, have gathered together to do whatever you have determined they should do."
Did you hear that prayer? What a great prayer of faith. First of all, they recognized, "I'm talking to God. Lord you made everything. I'm addressing the Creator of the universe." Not, "Oh, no! But, "O Lord, you made it all. You created everything. There's nothing too hard for you." And they simple said, "What we're seeing happen in front of our eyes is exactly what you predicted would happen, and it's happened. So you're in charge, and we are not afraid. And we're praying for boldness to go back out and preach the gospel even though it's illegal to do so."
And it says the place where they met was shaken together and soon Jerusalem would be shaken by their testimony. Whenever you bring God into the situation, you can see clearly. When you can't bring God into the situation, you can't see beyond the problem. Let's say the problem represents my hand, and let's say you as an audience represent my God. Just for the sake of comparison, which is bigger, my hand or you as an audience? The audience is much bigger, couple thousand people. Here's my hand. My hand is small, but watch, I can completely block your view. Gosh, nobody's here tonight. [laughter]
Oh, there you are. If I move my hand further away, in fact, somewhere in the middle of audience which would be the proper perspective, then I see it all clearly. Our problem is we just look at the problem. We put the problem right before us and we live with it. "Oh, this is horrible! This is horrible!" Hey, move the problem out next to God. "Oh, well, the problem looks like---I can hardly see it. In fact, I can't even see it. God is so enormous, so ginormous, so sovereign." Okay, live that way. Keep in mind wherever you are marching into, you've got a big God who's made some substantive promises.
So it's like, pfft! A few giants in the land, a few thousand enemies everywhere, whatever! Keep marching. "Rise up, O Lord!" Now, chapter 11; we're doing good. Chapter 11 is one of the most important chapters in the book of Numbers, because there's a change in the wind. Everything has been decent and in order in the march for three days. It doesn't last long, I'm telling you, there's going to be forty years of havoc after three days of order. The people are going to start now to complain as people often do. Keep in mind there's probably a couple million people.
Ten people in a room have ten different ways of doing one thing. Two million people in a room---how would you like to be the leader of that? Growth, physical numeric growth can be a blessing. Gosh, you look at this and you go, "Wow! This is awesome, a few million people gathered around the tabernacle. Hallelujah!" Yeah, but just zoom in and live among them for a while and listen to their conversations, you'll get a different picture. Again, in the book of Acts, do you remember what it says in Acts, chapter 6? It says, "And when the number of the disciples began to multiply, a murmuring arose," from one group against another group.
It's great to see growth and it's great when the church grows, but with growth comes adversity, issues, problems, complaints. I think back to our first year when I had a job locally and then I moved from full-time to part-time. And with the part-time that I had to offer the church I was able to have afternoons for counseling, I was able to study on some of the off days for the different Bible studies and Sunday. I kept the books: accounts payable, accounts receivable. I went and did hospital visitations. I got to visit people in their homes.
But then we had a problem, we started growing. And with growth comes a perceived, not a real, but a perceived lack of concern. At one time there were one hundred twenty people in the upper room in Jerusalem. Now there's multitudes, it says, growing in the early church. Don't you think there were people from that original room who were saying things like, "Oh, man, do you remember the upper room? Now that's where the Spirit of Lord dwelt. Do you remember the songs we sang in the upper room? And do you remember those days? Peter and John, they had time for us then. Now they're, like, studying the Bible all the time and praying all the time and. . ."
In fact, it was in this chapter where they said, "We must not forsake the word of God in order to serve tables." So you have a lot of people, they're God's people, but they're people and they start complaining. So look what happens. It just sort of cuts to the chase. "Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord," uh-oh, "for the Lord heard it," as he always does, "and his anger was aroused. And so the fire of the Lord burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp." That's why you always want to sit close. [laughter]
Why the outskirts? We're not told. Maybe there were more complaints by those people who were further away from the action in the tabernacle don't know, but it affected the population. The Lord began judging the outskirts and then moving inward. "The people cried out to Moses. Moses prayed to the Lord, the fire was quenched. So he called the name of the place Taberah, because the fire of the Lord had burned among them." So immediately, without a whole a lot of commentary, you can understand and see plainly how God looks at complaining among his people.
You know, whenever the Bible says that God hates something, you want to notice what that is. Right? Because whatever that is, I just---that's not on my menu. I don't want to do those things. Well, there's a little list of those things in Proverbs, chapter 6. It says, "There are six things the Lord hates, yea, seven are an abomination to him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that is given to evil schemes, feet that are swift to do evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and," listen to the last, "he who sows discord among the brethren." God hates that.
So there's not a whole lot of explanation. The people complained, God didn't like that, he heard it, and immediately started judging it. Now, there are some people as soon as you begin to engage them many a conversation it doesn't take long. It's just a matter of moments with some people. They're just so predisposed to negativity that within just a few moments they're already trash talking, they're talking somebody down. And it's a bad cycle to get into. There was a lady that walked up to John Wesley the evangelist, and she said, "I believe I've discovered what my talent is, my talent, I have a talent," she said, "for just speaking my mind."
The evangelist said in his classic, wry manner, "I believe that is one talent the Lord wouldn't mind if you buried." [laughter] These people were just speaking their mind, they complained, and so God spoke to them. Verse 4, "Now the mixed multitude," notice that, "The mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: 'Who will gives us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, the garlic.' "
You know, it's been a year, they've had nothing but manna in the desert. "'But now our whole being is dried up.' "Oh, so melodramatic. "Our whole being is dried up"? You know, that's sort of like a kid who hasn't eaten for like twenty minutes, he says, "I'm starving to death!" Really? You're just sort of like mildly want a snack, and "I'm starving to death"? "Our whole being is dried up!" Whatever. "'And there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!' ""The mixed multitude," who were they? They seem to be products of a mixed marriage.
It is thought by some that one parent was still in Egypt, and one was an Israelite and they decided to go on this journey with that parent to the Promised Land. "Ooh, there's a Promised Land? I'm going! Adventure, hoo hoo! Count me in." They still had one parent back in Egypt. So because of an intermarriage thing that happened back in Egypt between Israel and Egypt that there was a mixed kind of a parentage, and this was the mixed multitude. So, here's the predicament: they were Egyptian enough to miss Egypt, but they were Jewish enough, Israelite enough to go on this journey to the Promised Land. That's the mixed multitude.
In a spiritual sense I would say that churches are filled with a mixed multitude. A mixed multitude in a modern sense would describe somebody who likes to hang with God's people, like on weekends, but then will run with the world during the rest of the week with their jokes, with their value system, with their filthy, dirty stories, with what they see and watch and laugh at. And so they'll speak Christianese to the Christian, and worldly talk to the worldly person, and they can just sort of intermingle between both, and there's nothing really solid about them. They don't stake a claim.
Another term for that, a New Testament term wouldn't be a mixed multitude, but what, according to Paul? A carnal Christian, a carnal Christian worldly minded, carnally minded. And they are without doubt the most dangerous people in any church, mixed multitude. Now you'll notice what they say about Egypt. They're looking back. Boy, do they have selective memory disorder. Are they forgetting their slavery or what? It's all nostalgia: "Oh, the good old days, remember all the stuff we ate?" They're slaves. Are you kidding? The meager portions that they ate are now magnified by their imagination into a royal feast. Because what they're describing they had isn't what they really had.
But here's the deal: once you start looking for problems, and miss the blessings that you have, it is that vicious cycle. It is hard to stop and it becomes contagious, which shows you that they have been delivered from Egypt, but not delivered from Egypt. You know what I mean? You can take the boy out of Egypt, but it's hard to take the Egypt out of the boy. In Acts, chapter 7, Stephen said, "In their hearts they turned back to Egypt." That's what he's referring to. "Now the manna," get this, verse 7, "Now the manna was like coriander seed, its color like the color of bdellium."
So, an off-white, vanilla colored, light brown, white to light brown color. "The people went about and gathered it, ground it on millstones or beat it in mortar, cooked it in pans, made cakes of it; and its taste was like pastry prepared with oil." Are you imagining this? Ever been to Krispy Kreme Doughnuts when the sign flashes "HOT NOW, HOT NOW, HOT NOW"? [Photo of doughnuts appear on screen] Oh, look! I didn't know they were going to do that, but I like it. Ladies and gentlemen, that is manna. [laughter] You hear how it is described, "Like pastry prepared with oil."
Exodus 16 says, "The taste of it was like wafers made with honey." Am I getting this wrong? No, I didn't think so. It's, like, come on, that's for breakfast? "And when the dew fell on the camp in the night, the manna fell on it." It could be, here's a suggestion, I don't know, because what does the word manna mean? I don't know. It could be that the word man, M-A-N, was an Egyptian word, because there is a word today in Arabic. The Arabs have a word "man," which describes a sweet, honey-tasting nectar that comes from shrubs in the Sinai desert where they are.
It could be they simply named it based on what was familiar to them, and they called it manna. But you'll notice that it says you could grind it after you gather it, you could beat it in mortar, cook it in pans, make cakes out of it. So it's not monotonous, you know, you can make all sorts of different things out of it. It seems to be amorphous almost. You just, it's, well, you could make manna soufflés, and you could make sandwiches, you know, manna burgers, you know, like veggie burgers. And, of course, you know what I'm gonna say, mannacotti, you know, it's bamanna cakes and pudding and stuff.
It's endless what you could do with it. Same old stupid jokes, I know. [laughter] But get this---okay they had this every day, right? all the time. Experts, dietary experts will tell any person that in their diet you have to have a balanced diet. You know, eating Krispy Kremes every day would not be like, "That's really good for you. Do that for forty years." You won't live forty years. Right? Sameness of diet is bad. However, here is God feeding them from heaven, but evidently manna had imbued within it all of the necessary vitamins for a balanced diet, which makes it even look better to me.
It's, like, I can eat Krispy Kremes, and that's going to balance out my diet and it's going to be good for me? And here's why I say that: in Deuteronomy, chapter 8, when they get to the land, get toward there, the very last entrance to the Promised Land, Moses said, "While you were in the wilderness for forty years, your feet did not swell, your clothes did not wear out." "Your feet did not swell." Dietary experts say that if you eat the same thing that there can be an edema that will often be concurrent with not changing your diet up.
The fact that their feet didn't swell simply shows that they had the dietary balance necessary to be sustained for forty years. So God put all of the vitamins in these Krispy Kreme Doughnuts material that he gave them, which just, like, so cool. And it also says their clothes didn't wear out. Forty years, you're looking at that garment, you've had it, like, for forty years. "Honey, I need a new dress." "No. It looks great." [laughter] So I know, women, that doesn't, like, sound really great to you, the same old dress for forty years, but what if it looked new every day?
Still not cool, right? Because you have---it's the same thing. But your husband would be stoked. [laughter] "Then Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, everyone at the door of his tent; and the anger of the Lord was greatly aroused; Moses was also displeased. So Moses said to the Lord, 'Why have you afflicted your servant?' "That's him, he's the servant." 'And why have I not found favor in your sight, that you have laid the burden of all these people on me? Did I conceive all these people?' "Listen to how he's talking to God.
"These aren't my kids." That's what parents say to each other, right? "Your son did that." "Well, I think he's yours too, last time I checked." "'Did I beget them, that you should you should say to me, "Carry them in your bosom as a guardian carries a nursing child," to the land you swore to their fathers? Where am I to get meat to give all these people? For they weep all over me,' "It's like a meltdown for Moe. [laughter] "'Saying, "Give us meat that we may eat." I am not able to bear all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me."
"'If you treat me like this, please kill me here and now,' " wow, ' "if I have found favor in your sight---and do not let me see my wretchedness!' "Is Moses complaining? Yeah. But you know what? If you are a worker around people, if you're a social worker, if you're a counselor, if you're in any kind of ministry, you get this. You understand it can be taxing to be in an office and hear divorce and family problems and listening to them without having the right balance yourself.
You know, Moses had a great perspective when he went to war, but when he's home with his own congregation, he's not too stoked. It just, it gets to him, you know. They're having a Big Mac Attack out in the desert, "We want meat. We want an onion sandwich," and he's like, "Aren't Krispy Kremes good enough?" So he wants to quit his job. By the way, I've told you this before, but it is serious that pastors every year quit the ministry. And don't worry, I'm not complaining. I love---I was the other day pinching myself saying, "I get to do this? Hallelujah!"
But a survey of pastors done by Fuller Seminary revealed in the survey 80 percent of those pastors who were surveyed believed the ministry was detrimental to the health of their families. And 33 to 40 percent said it was just downright oppressive and their families wouldn't be able to withstand ministry for very much longer. So, Moses is just having a bad day here. What I like---because not going to condemn Moses. What does he do with his problem? Takes it to God. It's a good model for us. "What do you do with your problems?" "I'm going to go talk to Aaron." "No. Don't talk to Aaron."
See, that's what we do. You have a problem with somebody so you find ten other people that you can share a "prayer request" with, another word for gossip. He took it before the Lord. He poured out his complaint before the Lord. God isn't shocked when you do that. You think God's in heaven going, "Gasp! Moses, I can't believe you said that. I'm God." "Yeah. That's why I'm doing this, because I can trust you with everything." "So the Lord said to Moses"---"The Lord said to Moses: 'Gather to me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tabernacle of meeting, that they may stand there with you."
"'And I will come down and talk with you there. I will take of the Spirit that is upon you and I will put the same upon them [the seventy men]; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone.' "Here's the principle: no one person, no matter how gifted, can bear the burden of ministry. It has to be spread out among others who are capable on a number of different levels. God loved Moses, wanted him to continue, and so he comes up with a great plan and seventy are brought forth.
Now, you will recall, I believe, the story back at Exodus, chapter 18, where Moses has his father-in-law, Jethro, there and he's all proud of his new position as the deliverer of the children of Israel. And then his father-in-law, Jethro, is out there to watch him go to work one day, and there's Moses out there talking to everybody from morning till night. There's like a line of people waiting to see Moses. Moses comes home in the tent, walks in the tent that evening, it's like, "What do you think, father-in-law, I'm doing a good job, huh?"
And he goes, "It really wasn't great. I watched you today; it wasn't good." "What do you mean it's not good?" "No. It's not good. You're going to wear yourself out, and you're going to wear these people out who are waiting in line to get an answer. You need help. You need to get other people who are captains of tens and fifties and hundreds and thousands whom you can set over, because you can't bear this alone." God brings out seventy. Now this number will continue. They become known as the---any guesses? The Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin, the seventy ruling elders who are still present at the time of Jesus Christ.
It's a good thing, but, you know, a good thing can become a bad thing if it keeps you from the best thing. If the good thing, having people as intermediaries to help bear the load, if those people who are a good thing become a bad thing, you're depending on them and not the Lord, it becomes bureaucratic and not hearing God, if it keeps you from the best thing, it's bad. It was the Jewish Sanhedrin that lowered the gavel and gave the command to crucify Jesus Christ. So, yeah, it's great to have a committee, but a committee can get in the way.
It can become a bad thing. I didn't start out that way, but it certainly became that. Let's finish this up. "'You shall say to the people, "Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the hearing of the Lord, saying, 'Who will give us meat to eat in for it was well with us in Egypt.' Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you shall eat. You shall eat, not one day, not two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, but for a whole month, until it comes out of your nose and becomes loathsome to you, because you have despised the Lord who is among you, and have wept before him, saying, 'Why did we ever come out of Egypt?' " '
"And Moses said, 'The people whom I am among are six hundred thousand men on foot.' "So six hundred thousand---actually, it was a little more than that, he's rounded it out---footmen, plus their wives, plus their children, a couple million people." 'Yet you have said, "I will give them meat that they may eat for a whole month." Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, to provide enough for them? Or shall the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to provide enough for them?' "You hear Moses, he is basically saying to God, "Okay you made that promise, but look where we are."
"We're, like, way beyond Rio Rancho here. We are out past the reservation here. There's nothing around us. We don't even have enough animals to perform this, where are we going to get meat?" "The Lord said to Moses, 'Has the Lord's arm been shortened?' "Isn't that a great question? When you wonder how it's going to happen, just hear that in your head and your heart: "Has the Lord's arm been shortened?" Can God not pull this off? Is God up in heaven pulling out his hair going, "Oh, my! What are we going to do?"
"'Has the Lord's arm been shortened? Now you shall see whether what I say will happen to you or not.' So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord, and he gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, placed them around the tabernacle," probably security guards for him. "Then the Lord came down in a cloud, and spoke to him, and took of the Spirit that was upon him, and placed the same upon the seventy elders; and it happened, when the Spirit rested upon them, that they prophesied, although they never did so again. But two men remained in the camp: the name of one was Eldad, the name of the other Medad. And the Spirit rested upon them."
"They were among those who were listed, but had not gone out to the tabernacle; yet they prophesied in the camp. And a young man told Moses, and said, 'Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.' So Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' assistant, one of his choice men, answered and said, 'Moses my lord, forbid them!' And Moses said to him, 'Are you zealous for my sake? Oh, that all the Lord's people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them!' So Moses returned to the camp, both he and the elders of Israel." Isn't it interesting that Moses has this issue come up, and how beautiful it is the way he handles it?
Joshua comes in, Joshua's ready to start a denomination. "Hey, there's other people doing it, and they haven't gone through H.R., Human Resources, and we didn't vet them yet. And we haven't given them our permission. They gotta see us first." And what I love about Moses, it's like, "Well, look, the Lord's at work. Are you zealous for my sake?" He didn't have a jealous bone in his body. What he's basically saying is, "If everybody's walking in the Holy Spirit, it's going to make my job a whole lot easier. Would that all of God's people were prophets."
By the way, jealousy can be a common sin in the ministry, especially if God starts using the other person more than you, more than you think that he should use you or speak through you or whatever it might be. Isn't it beautiful that in the New Testament God made a promise that he would pour out his Spirit upon all flesh, beautiful. "Now, a wind went up from the Lord, and it brought quail from the sea and left them fluttering near the camp, about a day's journey on this side, about a day's journey on that side." So all around the camp there's all these birds. They didn't even have to go quail hunting.
"And all around the camp, about two cubits above the surface of the ground [three feet]. And the people stayed there all that day, all night, and the next, and gathered all the quail (he who gathered least gathered ten homers) [several gallons]; they placed them out for themselves all around the camp. But while the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was aroused against the people, and the Lord struck the people with a very great plague. And so he called the name of that place Kibroth Hattaavah." If you want to say that several times, good on you.
"Because there they buried the people who had yielded to a craving. From Kibroth Hattaavah the people moved to Hazeroth and camped at Hazeroth." Okay, here's the deal: there's a certain type of quail that migrates between Northern Europe and Africa. It will migrate, winter in Africa, and go on its migration journey through Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula in the spring, and the winds will blow it through. This particular type of quail has short wings and because of the flight they will fly low. They get fatigued and they'll either stop or fly very low to the ground.
And when they fly low to the ground, I mean, you could go out there with a two-by-four and just bat them right out of the air. They fly about three feet off the ground when they are tired. And that's probably the type of quail that we're talking about. Okay, we're done with these two chapters. Let me go back to the thought, however, of manna, because that it's so much like the Scriptures to us, the Word of God. Here's a few ways: manna was supernaturally given, came out of heaven, it appeared, it was miraculous. So is your Bible. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable."
The Word of God is like manna. Number two, it had to be eaten. You couldn't just go out and go look at it and go, "Ooh, how nice. I'm admiring the manna on the ground, h'm," because if you didn't eat it, you would die. The Word of God isn't to be admired. It's not like, "Let's get a Bible and sign it and give it to him when he graduates. He should never read it, but at least he has it on the shelf." "Well, at least we have a family Bible. It sits there, we dust it off every month." Read that puppy! Get those promises a part of your life.
Number three, it had to be gathered every single day, and so it is with, I believe, the Scripture. Your soul needs a systematic nourishment just like your bodies need three squares a day. Number four, it was gathered in the morning, first thing, before they were consumed with other responsibilities. Whatever time is fine, but I like it early in the morning to get my Bible out and before I start the day. You say, "Well, I'm not a morning person." Well, fifteen minutes earlier, try that, twenty minutes earlier, thirty minutes earlier.
Number five, it had to be obtained by diligence. They don't just walk outside and do this. [laughter] They had to pick it up, maybe blow the desert sand off of it, and they would gather it. It had to be gathered by diligence. It's the diligent soul, the Lord rewards those "who diligently seek him." Number six, it had to be gathered by stooping. You had to bend down to pick it up. I think that's an act of humility, it's an act of dependence. And I think when you come before the Lord in his Word, you depend upon him. You come in humility.
Finally, number seven, it was despised by the mixed multitude. So whenever you find a church that doesn't really preach the Word of God, they might mention a text here and a text there, but they're not taking their people through the systematic feeding of the Scripture, you are probably dealing with a large mixed multitude who can't stand manna any longer. So to celebrate the fact that you guys love manna so much, we're going to close the service and we have a couple thousand Krispy Kreme Doughnuts that are waiting you on your way out to commemorate this evening.
Oh, there's one for me? Is it hot? It's not hot. Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you manna. And there's one of these waiting you on your way out. [applause]
Father, we thank you for this evening. We think of the Scripture that says, "Taste and see the Lord is good." We have partaken of the sweetness of fellowship and worship and the Word. Thank you, in Jesus' name, amen.