Contextual Notes: Now just over three days out from Mount Sinai and into the desert with highs near 120F and lows around 90F, the children of Israel are heading toward the Promised Land. After being disciplined at Taberah (Numbers 11:1-3), the Israelites go right back to their complaining. Moses goes again to the Lord, but instead of intercession on Israel's behalf, Moses lays out his own complaint before the Lord. He has had it. Moses has given out.
Key Truth: Moses wrote Numbers 11:4-15 to demonstrate to Israel our inabilities as leaders and followers, and Christ’s all-sufficiency.
Key Application: Today I want to show what God’s word teaches about Christ’s full provision for our every need.
1. Our inadequacy as followers (11:4-9)
2. Our insufficiency as leaders (11:10-15)
3. The All-sufficiency of Christ (11:10-15)
Exposition: Note well,
1. OUR INADEQUACY AS FOLLOWERS (11:4-9).
a. 11:4 - The rabble: Exodus 12:38 tells us that a “mixed multitude” went up from Egypt with Israel, and some commentators see those mentioned here, the tares among the wheat. They were among Israel, but they were not of Israel.
b. APPLICATION: We have a similar situation in the church today. Not all who sit in pews on Sunday are Christians. Not all who teach Sunday School or lead groups or serve as deacons or stand in pulpits for that matter are in fact believers. Be careful that you are not one of them. Jesus taught in Matthew 13 that reality in the churches.
c. He explained it this way in Matthew 13:37-42: “The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. . . As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
d. 11:5 - We have selective memory: We are inadequate in our selective memories. Where do the Israelites get these memories? “At no cost”? What? They were slaves. Their children were slaves. Their parents were slaves. They were being ethnically cleansed. Their little boys were being partial-birth aborted because of their ethnicity. And did they really eat all those good foods? They ate them only at great cost to themselves if at all.
e. APPLICATION: When times get hard, we do the same thing, don’t we? We have selective memories about the way things used to be. We become so inadequate as followers when trouble arises. We get tired and think the past was better when it usually wasn’t.
f. 11:6 – We curse our blessings: The Israelites came to view the daily miracle of the manna as a curse. This miracle was an incredible blessing. God fed 2M people a day this food that sustained their families.
g. APPLICATION: How often when we are under stress, especially in a long haul, do we begin to curse our blessings. Whether at work, our supervisor’s quirks or at home our kids’ whining or at church the sickening politics, we curse the blessings of having a good job with benefits. We curse the awesome children we love more than life. We speak badly about our church which we love and that is Christ’s bride.
2. OUR INSUFFICIENCY AS LEADERS (11:10-15).
a. Moses’ experience here is the same of all leaders. He is overwhelmed with the work; feels his own utter impotence; has himself to be strengthened; hates his work; longs for release from it.
b. APPLICATION: As leaders, whether in our business or our homes or the organizations we belong to or at church, we sometimes just give out. If you are tired of fighting the good fight, if you feel powerless, if you just want to throw down your hands and walk away from all you’ve invested, if you just want to run, you’re in the same place as the greatest of leaders have been.
c. We are weak vessels: But it is not only the leaders who confess their inadequacy, but the followers feel it, for even the most enthusiastic of them come sooner or later to find that their leader doesn’t have all wisdom, makes mistakes, and does not always deliver satisfaction. If you look to men, you’ll always be disappointed. Every human leader is inadequate.
d. Prayer: Moses confessed his human dependence, his incapacity to do and be what is needed, his impatience with the people, his longing to be rid of it all. Moses knew he didn’t have it in him, and you and I don’t have it in us either. So what is our recourse? It is to Him, to Christ, to His side, to His bosom, to rest in Him, to refresh in Him, to find in Him your nourishment and strengthening.
e. APPLICATION: Wherever you have been called to lead, whether at work, in your home, or at church, it’s not a sin to be tired as a leader. It is a reminder that you are indeed a human being. It is time to abide in the Vine, to find yourself being nourished by His Word and His gentle encouragement in prayer.
3. THE ALL-SUFFICIENCY OF CHRIST (11:10-15)
a. Moses’ insufficiency points directly to Christ’s all-sufficiency. When Moses gives out, his inadequacy becomes a prophecy for the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
b. Hebrews 3:3, 5-6 - tells us that “3Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. 5Moses was faithful as a servant in all God's house, testifying to what would be said in the future. 6But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.”
c. Let me show you from Moses’ own complaints how Jesus Christ is our all-sufficiency.
d. MOSES SAID: Numbers 11:11 - "Why have You been so hard on Your servant?
i. THE PROPHET ISAIAH SAID - Isaiah 53:3-5 – 3He was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
e. MOSES SAID: Numbers 11:11 - “And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all this people on me?”
i. ISAIAH SAID - Isaiah 53:6 - 6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
ii. Matthew 3:16-17- 16And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
f. MOSES SAID: Numbers 11:12 "Was it I who conceived all this people? Was it I who brought them forth, that You should say to me, 'Carry them in your bosom as a nurse carries a nursing infant, to the land which You swore to their fathers'?
i. ->ISAIAH SAID - Isaiah 49:22- This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "See, I will beckon to the Gentiles, I will lift up my banner to the peoples; they will bring your sons in their arms and carry your daughters on their shoulders.
ii. Isaiah 40:11 - 11He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
iii. Isaiah 53:10 - 10Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
iv. JESUS SAYS: John 3:3 - 3Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
g. MOSES SAID: Numbers 11:13 - "Where am I to get meat to give to all this people?
i. JESUS SAYS: John 6:49-51 – 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”
h. MOSES SAID: Numbers 11:13 - For they weep before me, saying, 'Give us meat that we may eat!'
i. JESUS SAYS: John 6:53-58 – 53“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”
i. MOSES SAID: Numbers 11:14 - "I alone am not able to carry all this people”
i. JESUS SAYS: John 16:32 - "But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.
ii. Mark 15:36 - One man ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. "Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to take him down," he said.
j. MOSES SAID: Numbers 11:14 – “it is too burdensome for me.”
i. JESUS SAYS: Matthew 11:29-30 - 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
k. MOSES SAID: Numbers 11:15 - "So if You are going to deal thus with me, please kill me at once, if I have found favor in Your sight, and do not let me see my wretchedness."
i. JESUS SAYS: John 10:11, 17-19, 27 - 11"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 17The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father. 27My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand."
ii. Hebrews 7:16, 19, 24-26 – says that Jesus is superior “16on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. . . . 19and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.” 24because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25Therefore he is able to save completely[c] those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. 26Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.
Invitation: Held out before you today is a better hope than the Israelites had, a better hope than Moses could offer. Moses admitted himself that he was himself a sinner who could not save. But Jesus is “holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.” This is a no-brainer! What keeps you from receiving Christ’s free gift of eternal life, or if you are a believer, His fresh infusion of life into you by the Holy Spirit? Won’t you receive Him right now?
Preached: Sunday, June 1, 2008 at Amis Chapel Baptist Church, Oak Hill, NC