THE LESSON BACKGROUND.
On the twentieth day of the second month in the second year after leaving Egypt, God took up His cloud from off the tabernacle which indicated that it was time to continue their journey and they moved on to the wilderness of Paran (see Numbers 10:11-12). We are not told why, but for some reason, the people again complained displeasing the LORD who sent fire among them that consumed those who were on the outermost part of their campsite (see Numbers 11:1). And once again, the people cried out to Moses who prayed to the LORD. The LORD heard Moses and He stopped the fire and Moses named that place Taberah, because the fire of the LORD burnt among His people (see Numbers 11:2-3). Following that incident of complaining, the people once again complained that they were tired of the manna God was providing for them daily (see Numbers 11:4-6). When Moses overheard their complaint he turned to the LORD complaining himself that he couldn’t handle these people any longer and wanted the LORD to just kill him if things were going to continue as they had (see Numbers 11:10-15). But instead of killing Moses, God had a better plan. He commanded Moses to gather seventy respected elders in Israel and bring them to Him and He would give them some of Moses’ spirit so that they could help him govern the people (see Numbers 11:16-17). Then God told Moses to tell the people to sanctify themselves because the next day He would give them meat to eat. But there was a catch. God would give them so much that it would come out of their nostrils (see Numbers 11:18-20). Moses then showed his dwindling faith when he complained about the great number of Hebrews there were and how was God going to feed them all (see Numbers 11:21-22). God knew that Moses was questioning His power so He replied to him saying “Is the LORD’S hand waxed short? thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not” (see Numbers 11:23). Moses did as the LORD commanded and assembled seventy elders with him to meet with the LORD at the tabernacle where God put His spirit on them enabling them to prophesy. However, although God gave His Spirit to all seventy elders, two of these men, Eldad and Medad remained in the camp prophesying (see Numbers 11:24-26). While they were prophesying in the camp, a young man ran to Moses and told him what they were doing. This prompted Joshua to ask Moses to make them stop prophesying in the camp when they should be at the tabernacle with the other sixty-eight elders. Moses rebuked Joshua for making that request, and declared that he wished all of God’s people were prophets (see Numbers 11:27-29). Then God sent a wind into the camp that brought so much quail with it that the people greedily gathered more than could eat. But before they could finish chewing one bite, God demonstrated His anger with the people by smiting many of them with a great plague causing Moses to name that place Kibroth-Hattaavah, because they buried the people who lusted for meat there (see Numbers 11:31-34). Then the Israelites continued their journey and stopped at Hazeroth for a while (see Numbers 11:35). Our lesson begins with chapter 12.