Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat!” Numbers 11:4 ESV
God’s chosen people, the Israelites, just saw God work in Egypt to free them from slavery and lead them through the Red Sea. One would think they could trust God, that God’s people all had a heart to follow Him and were grateful for the amazing things He did in their midst.
But there was rabble among them. Rabble who grumbled. Rabble who gossiped. Their bad attitude rubbed off on those around them. They influenced the people of Israel to complain. They focused on what they did not have, rather than on what God gave them.
If there was rabble in the Israelite camp, we can be sure that there will be rabble in every church this side of eternity. What should we do? Call out the rabble? Shame them?
The problem is, we all have a bit of rabble in us. We all have a tendency to move our eyes from Jesus and focus them squarely on ourselves.
We don’t feel like the church leadership is using our talents and we allow bitterness to grow.
We don’t like the worship songs and we grumble to others.
A leader does something that irritates us – even if it makes sense – and we allow the irritation to grow.
When we fail to look to Jesus we become the rabble, the complainers.
We fail to grasp gratitude and cling to bitterness.
Instead we need to look to Jesus.
Look for His hand of peace when we are not serving like we wanted in the church.
Understand that praise of God comes in many forms and though it may not be my favorite way, it will reach others. So we can thank God that He is creative in reaching many different people.
Accept that leadership is difficult. Praise God for His sovereignty in appointing that leader and trust God to guide him or her.
Looking to Jesus ought to cause us to reflect on who He is and what sin still lurks in our lives. With our eyes fixed on Jesus, we can recognize the pride in our hearts that lets a small frustration grow into a painful irritated infection.
When we look to Jesus our pride must melt in the wonder of His sacrifice, in the amazing grace of a perfect God willing to die for a sinner like me, like us.
So where are our eyes today? Are they firmly fixed on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith? Or have we allowed pride in our hearts to give reign to the rabble inside?
God is so good that He is faithful to forgive us, even when we entertain the rabble inside.
Ask God to show you what you are focusing on. If you have allowed room for rabble in your life, repent by admitting it is wrong and asking God to help you focus on Him. Perhaps you need to ask forgiveness from someone you have wronged. If so, do not wait, contact him or her today.
Father God, we admit that far too often we entertain the rabble inside of us. We remove our eyes from Jesus and focus on what we do not have, what we want, our way. Please forgive us for looking out for ourselves instead of trusting You. Help us to keep our eyes focused on Jesus, that we may not allow pride and ingratitude to give space for the rabble inside. With the help of the Holy Spirit Lord, may we bring You glory and honor in all we say, do, and think. In Jesus’ Name, Amen