August 28-September 1


Then the people cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord, and the fire died down. 3 So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the Lord burned among them. –Numbers 11:2 (ESV)

The Cost of Leadership
Julius Caesar once threw a party for a large group of his nobility and royalty. For days before and during the feast, the rains fell in Rome. Many of the people complained about the weather. Caesar told his archers to go out and shoot their arrows at the god Jupiter. They did but the arrows came down upon the many heads of the complainers who suffered from those arrows.

God called Moses to lead the nation of Israel out of Egypt. With that call came a great deal of responsibility and hard work. In Numbers 11 the people first cry out against God but when God responds in anger, they cry out to Moses, the earthly leader. Guzik adds "Ideally, they would have cried out to God Himself; but with their low walk with God, they feel more comfortable with Moses."

Pastor Jim talked about the cost of leadership in his sermon. What “cost” could you most relate to?

Thank God for the leaders He has used to lead you and the sacrifices they have made to lead well. Pray for the key leaders in your life and ask God to give you what you need to lead where He has you.


And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes, and when the Lord heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp. – Numbers 11:1 (ESV)

Accept Unjust Criticism
When Max Lucado participated in a half-Ironman triathlon, he experienced the negative power of complaint. He said, “After the 1.2-mile swim and the 56-mile bike ride, I didn’t have much energy left for the 13.1-mile run. Neither did the fellow jogging next to me. He said, ‘This stinks. This race is the dumbest decision I’ve ever made.’ I said, ‘Goodbye.’ ” Max knew that if he listened too long, he would start agreeing with him. So he said goodbye and kept running.

Part of leading for Moses meant being criticized and hearing complaints. David Guzik gives a good summation - Israel, having been ordered, organized, cleansed, separated, blessed, taught how to give, reminded of God’s deliverance, given God’s presence, and the tools to advance to the Promised Land, is now on the march to Canaan—and immediately, the people complained. How can it be that a nation so blessed can still complain? Complaining or grumbling was evidence of the unbelief that would keep them out of the Promised Land.

When was the last time you heard “unjust criticism” in our church family? How does God feel about complaining in Scripture?

Praise God for His patience and mercy when you have complained. Ask God to forgive us when we have been guilty of complaining as a church body.


Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me and say, ‘Give us meat, that we may eat.’ I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me. –  Numbers 11:13-14 (ESV)

Acknowledge Your Limits
A blind woman was told that she could never escape from her prison of pain and weakness. “Oh, well,” she replied quickly, “there’s a lot of living to be found within your limitations if you don’t wear yourself out fighting them.” “Young lady,” the doctor replied, “I wish I could have you preach to about a hundred of my patients a year.” The lady was Helen Keller who said, “Face your deficiencies and acknowledge them, but do not let them master you.”

In Numbers 11 Moses has a correct understanding of his limits, though not a correct attitude yet. He could not take care of all these people alone; yet God would do it in him and through him. Moses was focused on his ability and energy, not on the ability of the LORD.

Moses cries out, "The burden is too heavy for me!" Have you ever felt this way? Have you been able to look back later and see God’s plan when you felt that way?

Praise God for always being there to carry your burdens with you. Ask God to show you His strength through your weaknesses.


And the Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord's hand shortened? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not. So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord. And he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people and placed them around the tent.” – Numbers 11:23-24 (ESV)

Admit Your Need
Paul Harvey says, “We revere the airplane pilot who did it alone and the country doctor who never left the bedside. That spirit of independence served us well and caused us to grow tall. But we’d never have made it to the moon with that spirit; we’d never have eradicated typhoid, smallpox, or polio without a cooperative effort. No person alone could fetch oil from beneath the ocean, or keep the city lights burning all night—that takes inter-dependence. We are all becoming increasingly interdependent! That spirit will not cost more than it’s worth. On the steep slope ahead, holding hands is necessary, and it just might be that we can learn to enjoy it.”

Moses needed God’s power and the help of others to accomplish the task before him and to lead well. The question in Numbers 11:23 is rhetorical; it affirms that God’s hand is not shortened, i.e., that His power is not limited. God has resources that Moses knew nothing about. God would also call out and set apart 70 elders to help Moses lead the people.

When was the last time you admitted that you needed help from God and from others? Who is the last one that helped you when you needed it?

Praise God for His unlimited power and the fact that nothing is too difficult for Him. Ask God to make it clear where you need help and to raise up the people He wants to use to help you.


And a young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” And Joshua the son of Nun, the assistant of Moses from his youth, said, “My lord Moses, stop them.”  But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord's people were prophets, that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” – Numbers 11:27-29 (ESV)

The Character of the Leader
Philip Green writes: When we lived in a small town in central Kansas (Ellsworth), we made many trips to the nearest big town, Salina, Kansas on old Kansas Route 140. On one of those trips in the spring, we saw a horse at the edge of a luscious, green pasture with his head stuck through a barbed wire fence eating the grass on the other side of the fence. When we passed the horse, my first thought was, "He better watch out or he’ll cut his throat."

Poor character will cause a leader to cut his own throat. Moses’ character is tested when two elders remain behind at camp and suddenly begin to prophesy without Moses around. Joshua exhibited some jealousy and suspicion, and would have silenced them because the blessing had not come through Moses; but the great lawgiver, with characteristic insight and generosity, would not heed the request. By his reply to Joshua, Moses showed his true greatness of soul. He loves his people better than himself. The cause he has really at heart is the cause of Israel, not his own honor and dignity.

Moses could have been tempted to be jealous or feel threatened by God using other people. When have you been tempted to be jealous of someone else’s gifts or abilities?

Thank God for the gifts and abilities that He has given you and those around you to accomplish His will. Ask God to help you celebrate the gifts and achievements of others and not envy them.