Chapter eleven of Numbers opens with the declaration “And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it and his anger was kindled”. The scripture goes on to relate how that the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed them. We are then pushed along in the narrative and we are reminded that there was a mixed multitude among them. They were not Israelites, they did not love the LORD but they were tagging along! It was to the Israelites detriment that they allowed them to do so. The Bible says in verse four the mixed multitude fell a lusting. This is what the mixed multitude always does. Their lusting influenced the people of God. The bible says the children of Israel also (along with the mixed multitude) wept again.
They had not long ago been severely punished for their complaining ways and they were now at it again. The essence of their weeping and complaining was a nostalgic view of Egypt. They remembered all the fresh food they had to eat and they had become dissatisfied with the daily manna that was a miraculous manifestation of God’s provision. They clearly were entertaining selective memory when it came to Egypt. If I remember correctly The Egyptians had them in bondage building their great cities for them. They were laboring under cruel taskmasters. Their complaining ways had become so chronic that they had a very distorted view of even their recent past. They wanted flesh to eat!
Having been effected by the mixed multitude who had created dissatisfaction with the provision of God and set them to complaining and weeping the bible says the anger of the LORD was kindled greatly. As Moses listened to the “people weep throughout their families, every man in the door of his tent” God was also listening and he was angry about what he was hearing! It may come as a surprise to some that you do not have to be speaking to God for God to hear you. He hears everything! He heard their complaining and weeping and his anger was aroused.
Then the bible says this! “Moses also was displeased.” Could you possibly entertain the idea for just a moment that anything that angers God should displease the people of God! I don’t expect the unredeemed to be displease but is it that unreasonable to expect the sanctified to be displeased?
Of course, there are far too many who like to think of a God who is never angered. Don’t we all! And we are free to think it, and espouse it, and to live by it. But it is wrong! God does get angry. And at times he expresses that anger in very violent ways. He destroyed the earth with a flood. He destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their, well……. sodomy! Some may complain (which is not a good idea) about the possibility of a God who can get so angry. The reason is because God has mutated in the minds of many into a great big teddy bear that just smiles at everything and everyone like he has lost all cognitive ability. I know people do not want a God that they should fear but we are encouraged repeatedly in Scripture to “Fear the LORD”. The God most people have doesn’t scare anyone, illicit reverence, or produce genuine worship.
However, whatever men may think the God of the bible can have his anger kindled and he can have it kindled greatly. And I come back to my proposition. If something angers God it should displease us! If we want to determine what anger God we can read our bibles and pay attention. In this passage we learn that complaining angers God. So, complaining should displease us! This is just an example. Sometimes we know something angers God because he says so. Sometimes we know because of his reaction to a person and/or events. Staying in THE BOOK should develop the right sensibilities in us about these kinds of things.
Bottom line! We should not be pleased with things that make God angry. We should not be lenient with things that make God angry. We should not accommodate things that make God angry. When God’s anger is kindled about something that same something should displease us.