Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Before we get into today's post, if you haven't read my post from yesterday, I would really appreciate it if you did, as your input could make a difference.

One day last week I was taking advantage of a few quiet moments and found myself in Numbers chapter eleven as I sat in my car at Sonic. It seems that second only to the shower, God gets a chance to talk with me as I sit STILL at Sonic. As I dipped my tasty corndog in just a dab of mustard, I almost choked on my sweet tea when I read verse 4.

I had never read such words from God in all my life! I thought certainly that the implied definition in context must be wrong. The words have rattled in my head like marbles rolling around in an empty box since last week.

The Israelites are still traveling and once again are complaining to Moses. I have lost count now of how many times they had to whine about something. God probably feels the same about me. Moses went to God on their behalf, again, and God answered the prayer, which brings us to verse 4 and my sweet tea choking episode.

Numbers 11:4 says this:

Then the foreign rabble who were traveling with the Israelites began to crave the good things of Egypt. And the people of Israel also began to complain. “Oh, for some meat!” they exclaimed.

What? I thought to myself. Foreign rabble? Surely God is not calling names, I mean He loves all of us, but what does it sound like to you? Foreign rabble. Sounds like an equivalent to a modern day free loader to me. Last night, it was way past my bedtime and I could stand the empty box of marbles in my head no longer, so I did a little research on the term foreign rabble. I found that, as I had presumed, this is NOT a compliment.

As I read about the foreign rabble who were with the Israelites, I learned that they were a mixed group of people who had just attached themselves to the Israelites and came along for the journey. Here is the explanation I read in the footnotes of the Key Word Study Bible for Numbers 11: 1-5:

Since they (the foreign rabble) were not Hebrews, they had no personal attachment either to the promise or to God. They had come out of Egypt with Israel. They were tired of the manna and, forgetting all of the reasons for fleeing from Egypt, they remembered only the fish, onions, and garlic which were formerly available to them. They soon infected Israel with their deep dissatisfaction….They were evidently held in low esteem by the Israelites although Israel allowed themselves to be influenced by their grumbling.

Did you catch that word infected? The foreign rabble had infected Israel with all of their grumbling, and even though Israel didn’t think highly of them, they still let their guard down enough to let their minds be contaminated by their attitudes.

Brings to mind the old phrase “rabble-rousing” doesn’t it? I had never really pondered the exact definition of rabble-rousing until I ran across this verse. By definition, a rabble-rouser, according to is a person who tries to arouse people to anger, hatred, or violent action by appeals to emotions, prejudices, etc.

Have I ever acted like foreign rabble?


Am I proud of it?

No. Not some of my finer days.

Have I ever been affected by a rabble rouser?


Did it benefit me?

Not at all.

It infected me just like it infected the Israelites.

Is there still foreign rabble out there?

You better believe there is, and the enemy loves it.  He can sit back and “watch the games begin”, so to speak without doing another thing. 

We have to be very wise to foreign rabble in our lives. These people don’t have the same passion for God as you, they don’t understand it, they forget the benefits of it, and simply stating it, misery loves company. They want to share their dissatisfaction with you, and it is contagious.

It will infect you making you spiritually sick.

I know you don’t want that, and neither do I, so let’s agree to keep our eyes and ears peeled for rabble -rousers and have no part in their grumbling. We are here to honor the One who made us, not to dishonor.

Wow, God, You made it pretty clear in Your tone what you think about rabble and I thank You for teaching me from this story. Please forgive me for the times I have been the rabble-rouser and for the times I have allowed it to infect me. Father, I pray for Your wisdom and discernment to see this for what it is and for the courage to flee from it. It may not be popular with some, but that’s ok, because they won’t waste their time coming to me with their dissatisfaction in the future. Thank You for Your endless lessons uncovered in Your Word. Praise You, the Author of all authors.

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  1. this reminds me of some conversations about how to be "in the world and not of the world" How we can build relationships with people who God brings into our life so God can influence them thru us, rabble rouser or not, to love them, but be so close to the Holy Spirit we catch the attitudes that are so infectious. That is my prayer right now.

  2. From memory......
    Psalms 73:26
    My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
    - Brittany

  3. Godsword by memory-- My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart andmy portion forever. Psalms 73:26
    Amen and Praise God... peggy

  4. Wow, now that I think of it, this rabble rousing strikes anywhere and everywhere at all times. From work, to the softball fields, to the lines at the grocery store, even to the pews in a church. Even more discouraging, I know that I have been both the rabble rouser and the one infected by a rabble rouser. At times I seem to sense that I am close to a rabble rouser (now I know what to call it!), and feel like I should flee, but can't put my finger exactly on why. This devotion and that treasure you found in Numbers 11:4 definitely shines light onto what God thinks of the situation and the potential danger of infection. Thanks for teaching me more... again. Wow!


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