28 June 2009

When the people complained, God burned them to death

Here's a fun little Bible story for you.

It all happens in just two verses.

And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: Numbers 11:1a
The Bible doesn't say what the people were complaining about. Spending years wandering around the desert following a cloud around? Not having enough food or water? It doesn't say.

But whatever it was, God heard it. (He had his hearing aid on.)
and the LORD heard it; Numbers 11:1b
So what do you think God did? Did he explain why he was leading them around for 40 years without adequate food or water on a trip that should have taken a few weeks?

Not quite. Here's what he did.
and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp. Numbers 11:1c
I don't know for sure, of course, but I think God was trying to teach parents a lesson here. When your kids complain, burn them to death. God teaches best when he teaches by example.

Finally the people beg Moses to make God stop. And God stopped burning people to death.
And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the LORD, the fire was quenched. Numbers 11:2
Don't you just love happy endings?

(For those keeping score: The Bible doesn't say how many people were burned to death in this episode. So I just guessed 100.)

This killing is highlighted in the Poverty and Justice Bible. Here's how they put it.
One day the Israelites started complaining about their troubles. The Lord heard them and became so angry that he destroyed the outer edges of their camp with fire.
This shows God's sense of justice. If you complain about your troubles, God will burn you to death.

God's next killing: While the flesh was still between their teeth, the Lord smote them with a very great plague

7 comments:

Jerome said...

Another cute story they left out in Sunday class!!

liminalD said...

I think they could use it as a great illustration for training kids only to listen to the 'right' people, the story shows that the perspectives of the majority are less important than the views of those who are on your side. God only listens to Moses here, after all.

busterggi said...

Yahweh got off his meds alot didn't he?

WolfFable said...

gah these things get soo confusing. ive read soo many contredictions in the bible its not even funny and when a debate happens they both pull out information.

matt311 said...

Looks like God's puttin' on a barbecue -- just in time for the Fourth of July!

jonathan said...

Actually, they knew why they were in the wilderness for 40 years. When God took them straight to the "promised land", they were scared to fight. Even after they saw God "murder" all the egyptians and free them from slavery. So he told them they'll have to wonder for 40 years until their children are old enough to fight and believe. If you actually saw God, heard his audible voice, saw what he was capable of, I think you would trust him enough not to complain. Rather, if you had a legitimate need, you would merely ask God. Every time Moses went to him with a legitimate request God was reasonable. But I see your point, burning people with fire is extreme. But at the same time, we don't know what they were complaining to God about. They could have very well been bringing curses on his name and saying they wish he would have never interfered. Which they did multiple times according to Biblical history. Which in that case, lightning or fire seems like a reasonable thing—uh maybe. God had a reputation to maintain, he couldn't just let fools curse his name :)

About Mr. Pollock said...

The way you talk about God possibly being justified in murdering people with fire just for being angry at him (and rightly so) shows how psychopathic you are