June 24, 2019

When Miracles Aren't Enough 

Numbers 11:1–15

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The People Complain

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. Then the people cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the LORD, and the fire died down. So the name of that place was called Taberah,1 because the fire of the LORD burned among them.

Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”

Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its appearance like that of bdellium. The people went about and gathered it and ground it in handmills or beat it in mortars and boiled it in pots and made cakes of it. And the taste of it was like the taste of cakes baked with oil. When the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell with it.

10 Moses heard the people weeping throughout their clans, everyone at the door of his tent. And the anger of the LORD blazed hotly, and Moses was displeased. 11 Moses said to the LORD, “Why have you dealt ill with your servant? And why have I not found favor in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me? 12 Did I conceive all this people? Did I give them birth, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a nursing child,’ to the land that you swore to give their fathers? 13 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.’ 14 I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If you will treat me like this, kill me at once, if I find favor in your sight, that I may not see my wretchedness.”


[1] 11:3 Taberah means burning

When Miracles Aren't Enough 

Key Verse | Numbers 11:9

When the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell with it.

Bio | Joshua McDonald

Hello, Journey Readers! My name is Josh, and I am a re:generated believer, born and raised in Texas. I grew up in Dallas and graduated Criswell College with a Bible degree. I am currently also working on a degree in biblical archeology. My wife Erica and I have been married for 10 years and are blessed with two high-energy kids: Jonah and Weston. 

Our lives changed when God led us to Watermark. Through the ministries at Watermark, we have grown closer to Christ and each other. I currently serve in Starting Blocks, Watermark's infant to preschool ministry, and on the IT team.

[Editor's Note: Josh recently left Watermark staff to take the senior pastor position at Arcadia First Baptist Church in Santa Fe, Texas. We were sad to see Josh leave, but are excited to see how the Lord will continue to bless his ministry!]

Central Truth

Lack of contentment is often a reflection of one's walk with Christ. 

Devotional | Numbers 11:1–15

Oh, how quickly Israel forgot the great miracles of God! He had just brought them out of slavery in Egypt and destroyed their enemies through events only God could perform. They had seen supernatural event after...

Oh, how quickly Israel forgot the great miracles of God! He had just brought them out of slavery in Egypt and destroyed their enemies through events only God could perform. They had seen supernatural event after supernatural event. In fact, they were experiencing the miracle of manna being brought to them every morning. Yet they complained, even while experiencing these marvelous acts of God.

Israel seemed to complain about everything. They complained about food, they complained about drinking water (Exodus 15), they complained about life in the desert (Exodus 16), and they even complained about leaving the desert and entering the Promised Land (Numbers 14).

When we see this from our perspective, it's easy to point out Israel's faults and ask why would they act like they did when God was doing amazing things right before their eyes. Hindsight is 20/20. God's mercies and miracles continue to be performed every day of our lives, yet we complain about so much. We are a very dissatisfied culture. Even as I type this, I am reminded of my own complaints of today's traffic jam, complaints that the map on my phone wasn't working fast enough, and even audible complaints to God about the rain. 

God's reaction can be seen early in chapter 11: His anger burned against the people. Moses also felt the people's lack of contentment. He cried out to God on behalf of the people because even he felt provoked. There is a clear difference between being unhappy with a specific situation in your life that drives you to better yourself and with being content with what God has provided. To grumble against God is almost to despise Him and what He has so graciously given us.

As Christ-followers, we are not promised a perfect life. We must learn to be content with what God has provided for us. If anyone had a right to complain, it would be Paul, yet he wrote, "Do all things without grumbling . . . that you may be blameless . . . ." (Philippians 2:14-15)

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Discussion Questions

1. Write down or make a mental list of some things that you grumble about the most (traffic, technology, disobedient kids) and why.

2. In Numbers 11:1-15, we see that Israel takes the miracles of God for granted and even grumbles that they weren't enough. How do you think you can turn those grumblings you thought of in Question #1 into praises for what God has done? 

3. Write down or make a mental list of the daily blessings of God in your life. When you get to at least 20, stop and read over the list again, thanking God for each one. 

4. Read Philippians 2:14-15. Try meditating on this passage and ask God to show you areas in your life that can be turned from grumbling to praising God for what He has done. 

14 Comments available

Jay Caruso 11 months ago

Thanks Joshua for your devo and your new vocation be true to our bible “ this was perfect for me today and I am 5 days behind but God new I would need this one today. Thank you Jesus!! I have been grumbling for weeks now and there is no need

Sharhonda Conner 12 months ago

Josh congrats on your new position! And thank you for a great join the journey devotional. I loved the Philippians 2 connection and need to commit to recalling it every time I want to grumble or complain.

Don Freeman 12 months ago


Bobby Crotty 12 months ago

@Jonas Scott

I lead The Journey team at Watermark and write to respond to the several comments you have addressed to @Hope Harris. This conversation has reached the point where, if it continues, it needs to continue face-to-face. Therefore, we will not post any other comments from you on this topic. If you are in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, I invite you to meet me at Watermark Coffee on the Watermark Dallas campus to visit further. Do you attend any of the Watermark campuses regularly? How long have you been reading The Journey? I have a number of other questions about your comments and views and will be happy to share them with you when we meet.

You are welcome to respond to me at bcrotty@watermark.org.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Bobby Crotty Watermark Journey team

Hope Harris 12 months ago

@Jonas Scott

To be clear that is a 350-500 word snapshot of the whole picture. It is limited due to the space it is printed in.

Respectfully this is a conversation better had in person if you choose to do so; I will ask one of my brothers in Christ from Watermark to join the the conversation.

At this point the conversation seems circular in nature and I have clearly stated where I stand. Feel free to reach out to me if you would like to meet. i.hopeharris@gmail.com

Jonas Scott 12 months ago
Reply right arrow

@Hope Harris

Friend, from your story.

“I’ve been screaming for acceptance since I was a young girl.”

Why risk the acceptance you have finally found? Again from your story.

“While my feelings and attractions have not changed, what has changed is that, rather than living to please myself, I live to please the Lord.”

That’s great! But why burden your church family with the first part? Where should they draw their lines to just to accommodate you? It is not without love that I speak these things. May your heart be open to receive them.

Hope Harris 12 months ago
Reply right arrow

@Jonas Scott Friend perhaps you need further clarification. There seems to be an assumption that I am confused about my sexuality.

I have completely resolved my faith and sexuality. I no longer identify as a lesbian, but rather as a child of God. As I stated before I wholeheartedly embrace Gods intended design for gender, sexuality and marriage. I affirm Gods best for sexuality is between one man and one woman in a marriage.

My past does not dictate or define me nor does my sexual identity. I am a woman created in His image. I am called to live out a Holy sexuality within the boundaries of His intended design.

I daily surrender my will, attractions and desires at the foot of the cross and willingly/joyfully follow Jesus my Lord and Savior. There are many on JTJ who can testify to the radical transformation in my life.

Michael Scaman 12 months ago

Isn’t it amazing even after God sends fire for complainers people still complained.

Seems a little like the plagues. God sent a plague in Egypt, then Pharaoh asked for relief and Moses prayed for the place to go away. And Pharaoh kept falling back in his bad patterns.

Only now it isn’t Pharaoh, it’s the people delivered from Egypt

Jude (1:)5 5 I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.

Jonas Scott 12 months ago

@Hope Harris.

Read your response and the link to your story, thank you, it helps me understand your confusion to my comment better. Now that you have a biblical world view you should put that knowledge to use concerning your sexual desires. Doing so will clarify much of the confusion you have in this area of your life. Remember many have walked the road you are on in the past getting past what you are struggling with.

I’ll leave you with this. Read the truth statements of Romans 8:28-29. Answer the questions in Romans 8:31-34 of yourself. Then read the anthem of Romans 8:28-39 and ask yourself if same sex attraction is really God’s best for me. Move forward Hope, otherwise run the risk of eventually believing the heresies being taught by others concerning this sin. Do not waste the support of your church.

pamela spears 12 months ago

This is so good and I really needed this today. Thanks for sharing this!

Hope Harris 12 months ago

Question four.

Wow, I needed today’s devo.Transitions can be challenging and I let myself spiral downward for a few days. I said things out loud that were not honoring. Thank God He didn’t let me stay in this state for long.

14-16 Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You’ll be living proof that I didn’t go to all this work for nothing. (Philippians 2:14-16 MSG)

Lord let me reflect you in my attitude even me things are challenging

Sue Bohlin 12 months ago

Josh! What a blessing for your people to have you as senior pastor! LOVE that your church’s mission statement is “We are one Church with hundreds of locations”!!

Today’s reading is a serious reminder of what a grave sin it is to grumble and complain. And it’s a sobering illustration of how contagious a grumbling and complaining spirit is. Not to mention the warning against romanticizing the “good old days” by filtering out the painful bad stuff in order to further criticize God. Complaining is criticizing God’s provision. It is a serious offense against God’s goodness, His wisdom concerning how He meets our needs, and ultimately against His love.

In Romans 1, when people “neither glorified God nor gave thanks to Him,” that’s when they spiraled down into darkness and depravity. It’s essential to maintain an “attitude of gratitude” in continually giving thanks for EVERYTHING God gives us!

Hugh Stephenson 12 months ago

GM Josh! Well done. Love your link to the “grumbling” verse in Philippians 2. Your Central Truth is very convicting. It is certainly true for me. I am thankful for my time in re:gen as the Holy Spirit has guided me to embracing more gratitude for God’s blessings.

I am really grateful for the On-Line Core Class “Following Jesus” and for John Ortberg’s book “The Life You Always Wanted”. Through these resources the Holy Spirit is drawing me closer to Jesus. My walk with Him has become much deeper and more intimate. My uncountable and underserved blessings are much more present in my heart.

Even so, I am often tempted to be part of the raving rabble and to focus on my wretchedness and hardships.

God’s Word, God’s Spirit and God people call me back to the truth of James 1:2, Romas 5:3-5 and Isaiah 30:20-21.

Hope Harris 12 months ago

@Jonas Scott I posted a response to your comment on Friday. Unfortunately the program will not allow me to copy and paste it here

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