Daily Devotional

February 21


by Henry T. Vriesen

Numbers 10–11

The Israelites stayed in their camp at Mount Sinai about a year. During that time they received the Law of God. Besides the Ten Commandments they received rules and regulations about the priesthood and the sacrifices, about the rights of property, the punishment of criminals, the care of the poor, the education of the young, and other matters. Israel should know: we are a peculiar people, our God is the true God, who reveals to us his will.

The cloud over the tabernacle rose up, and the people knew that this was the sign for them to move. They took down the tabernacle and their own tents and journeyed northward toward the land of Canaan for three days, led by the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. The ark of the covenant went before them. And when the ark set forward, Moses said, “Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee.” And when it rested, he said, “Return, O Lord, unto the many thousands of Israel.”

The Lord kept on sending the delicious manna every morning for the children of Israel to eat. But instead of being thankful for the blessings of God, they frowned and whined and complained, “Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the onions and the garlick; but now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.”

There was a great deal of dissatisfaction. The people as they were standing in the doors of their tents showed discontent, and tears ran down their cheeks. Moses also was displeased as he walked among the tents and heard nothing but lamenting. He became discouraged. He began to feel that it was too hard for him to manage all the people. Why had God chosen him to lead them to the land of their fathers! He told the Lord he was tired of leading such unthankful people. He even wanted to die.

But God was going to help Moses. He told him to pick out seventy of the best men and bring them to the door of the tabernacle. God would put some of the spirit that was in Moses upon these men, so that they might help him to rule the people. To the grumblers he would send so much meat that they would become sick of it, enough to last a month. From where could so much meat come? Must all the flocks of sheep and herds of oxen be killed? The Lord said, “Thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not.” And a wind brought quails from the sea. They came in great numbers and flew so low that even children could catch them. For two days and one night the people gathered. But they were greedy, they ate too much. Many got sick and many died.

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