Joining the Rabble = Rejecting God
There is always the rabble. No matter the setting, it seems like when you get a group of people together, there are always some who choose to be unhappy, discontent. No matter the blessings all around them, they find something to complain about.
If you are one of those people – stop it. It is not constructive criticism if you are not picking up your tools and helping construct something better – it is just criticism. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” “No corrupting talk”, “building up”, “give grace.”
If you are around “the rabble”, do not fall in with them. As Christians, we know we are on God’s team. We love Him and honor Him, but we also hear the voices of the complainers. Not only in our private lives or at work, but even at church. But this passage tells us God’s view of us when we turn our attention to the rabble. From His perspective, we aren’t just casually listening to them, instead, we have turned out back on Him. By joining with them, even if only in listening and allowing our heart and minds to be stirred, we reject God.
Our passage also clearly points out that we don’t have to live our life in denial. Sometimes things are hard. Sometimes our burdens are great. Sometimes things are not going at all like we want or need them to go. We get frustrated. We get annoyed. We get overwhelmed.
But, when that happens, just like it did to Moses, we are called to do what Moses did and turn it over to God. The difference is in this question, “Do you want to enjoy wallowing in the complaining or do you want to solve it?” If you want to solve it, turn to God – He has the power to solve anything and everything. If you want to just enjoy having a pity party – well – that is not your best idea!
The people lashed out against each other, against God, against Moses. Ping, ping, ping, drip, drip, drip. Just like a continual dripping on a rainy day. Each comment added to the annoyance, but resolved nothing. But Moses didn’t drip. He unwound all his issues at God’s feet. He didn’t lack for drama (just kill me), but god didn’t chastise him. The difference is that when Moses unwound it all to God, he was done and trusted in God for a solution.
God showed He had the power to provide. He provided 70+2 elders empowered with His Spirit to help Moses. He provided quail 3 feet deep. He had the power to provide. But, there is also a lesson here as well. When our heart and words are focused purely on ourselves and not God, God may give us what we think we want, but it is not going to bring us peace and fulfillment – it brings plagues and death and un-fulfillment instead.
My wife had a good perspective on this. She said, I wonder if, before they left Egypt, God and Moses had sat the Israelites down and had a talk with them and said, “We’re going to take you out of slavery and bondage and into the promised land flowing with milk and honey. You’ll defeat pharoah’s armies, you’ll have riches of gold and jewels, food will be provided each day that tastes like honey, nations will fear you, and God will dwell among you, but, for a period of time, you won’t have fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions or garlic.” Just how many people do you think would have stood up and said, “hold on, that’s a deal breaker – just leave me here in slavery.”?
free fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, garlic
He was troubled – overwhelmed
It is what he was honestly feeling and he took it to God. A bit dramatic, but, yes, the people were a burden.
Shared the burden with 70+2 = 72 = 12 x 6 elders equipped with His spirit. (note: 72 is the same number Jesus appointed to be sent out in Luke 10:1)
Through others and by showing He is present and faithful and has a plan
They had rejected Him
Brought a plague on them