But on the next day all the congregation of the sons of Isreal grumbled against Moses and Aaron, saying, “You are the ones who have caused the death of the LORD’S people!” It came about, however, when the congregation had assembled against Moses and Aaron, that they turned toward the tent of meeting, and behold, the cloud covered it and the glory of the LORD appeared. Then Moses and Aaron came to the front of the tent of meeting, and the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, Get away from this congregation so that I may consume them instantly.” Then they fell on their faces. And Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer and put fire in it from the altar, and place incense on it; then bring it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them, for wrath has gone out from the LORD, the plague has begun!” Then Aaron took it just as Moses had spoken, and he ran into the midst of the assembly; and behold, the plague had begun among the people. So he put on the incense and made atonement for the people. And he took his stand between the dead and the living, so that the plague was brought to a halt.
Numbers 16:41-48 – NASB
Do we ever allow ourselves to sit with the presence of the Holy Spirit through His word?
I’d like to invite you to sit with me this morning as God continues to show me how grumbling makes Him feel and what an acceptable offering looks like.
Before we get into this topic, I’d like you to ask yourself this, “Have I ever considered how my behavior/actions makes God feel?”, “Have I even thought about my Almighty God having feelings?”
If we never look at God’s emotions, it can be hard for us to intimately connect with Him. Emotions create a space for deep intimacy. It is a knowing without speaking, a response out of genuine reverance. We serve a God of emotion and we are made in His image. When our emotions/feelings are submitted to God’s will, we can experience the third Heaven.
In this story, we see God’s people begin to grumble about their circumstances, blaming Moses and Aaron for leading them astray.
As I looked closely, considering the story of the Isrealites up to this very scripture, I saw a people who had lost sight of what they had been delivered from. I saw a people who were left compairing what they had with Kindoms led by wicked rulers (the Egyptians). They were so blinded by comparison that they actually told Moses they wish he had just left them in captivity [Exodus 16:3]…
Wow. How many times has this been me?
As we chew on that truth, I think it is extremely important to understand that the LORD cares when we are uncomfortable. In fact, He tells us to come to Him with life’s burdens [1 Peter 5:7]. But, what is our attitude like when we come to Him? Our good Father challenges us to mature [Ephesians 4:15], coming to Him in posture of gratitude for what He has already done BEFORE asking Him to tend to more of our needs.
So, what does that look like for us? How do we know how to adjust so we can mature? I always look at the cause and effect of behaviours in order to identify areas that I need to discipline. As I look, I can see that Grumbling is evidence that we have become gluttons with a heart postured in the worship of self.
- Putting our own desires before giving God thanks for what we already have. i.e. worship of self.
- Believing we should have what everyone else around us has. i.e. comparison
- Disregarding the Sovreignty of the Lord, while demanding a solution. i.e. grumbling
- Never being satisfied with what we have and where we are. i.e. gluttony
If you think these findings seem harsh, you may reconsider as we look closer at the emotions GOD begins to express towards the continuous grumbling of His children…
God’s response to the Isrealites in this story was to release His wrath on them. Just like any loving Father, when children become stubborn and unrepentant for their bad behavior, He sets boundaries. If we become stubborn enough, those boundaries can look like wrath. His discipline will always match our behavior. Out of His love for us, He will do whatever it takes to stop us in our tracks in hopes that we might Look and Listen to His voice again. He knows that in our obedience to Him, we are kept safe from the plans of Satan.
If you find yourself resonating with the Isrealites in this story, there is clear instruction on what brings God’s wrath to a halt…
In this moment of the story, God is actively pouring out His wrath on His children. [Wrath in the Hebrew language is defined as a splinter, rage or strife, indignation. H7110] God’s emotions were so serious that His love and compassion moved Him to draw a hard line with the grumbling of His children. It couldnt have been easy for Him to watch this suffering but, the He also knew the alternative.
If God is so serious about a heart of gratitude that His love moves Him to set such clear boundaries, then I ask myself “What are the consiquences if I dont heed His warning?“
What we see next is so magnificent. Moses, anointed to lead God’s children, commanmds Aaron to intercede with him to repent on behalf of the Isrealite’s grumbling. Aaron lights a soothing incense to calm God’s wrath and runs towards the plague. Brave Aaron took a stand between the living and the dead to make atonement for the people. [Numbers 16:47]
AtonementThe reconciliation of God and humankind through Jesus Christ.
God’s children weren’t able to see it all in that moment, but when God’s wrath lifted as Aaron stood his ground, It was a forshadow of Jesus Christ making the final atonement for mankind. Jesus Christ died on the cross so anyone who repents can be reconilied into a right relationship with God, once again. After all, His discipline is only to get our attention so we will hopefully return back to Him. In the place where we are safe, provided for, and blessings overflow.
I have spent time this week repenting for being ungrateful and I have felt a shift in the atmosphere over my life. It’s so amazing how powerful obedience can be. Do you need things to shift in your life? Then I encourage you to ask yourself, “What is the Spirit asking of me, today?”
“It is my life’s purpose that each woman I minister to is able te receive complete healing through the power of the Holy Spirit. “
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