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


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.

Matthew Blanchette said...

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

Unknown 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 :)

Anonymous 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

Anonymous said...

Actually God made them wonder in the wilderness for 40 years cause of the golden calf they were worshipping when Moses came down from the mountain with the ten commandments.

AlienBob said...

Actually When God found out they were worshiping a golden calf he commanded Moses to kill 3000 men From Exodus: "Now when Moses saw that the people were out of control—for Aaron had let them get out of control to be a derision among their enemies—then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, “Whoever is for the LORD, come to me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered together to him. He said to them, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Every man of you put his sword upon his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate in the camp, and kill every man his brother, and every man his friend, and every man his neighbor.’ ” So the sons of Levi did as Moses instructed, and about three thousand men of the people fell that day."

Not to mention Moses also murdered a guy when he was younger.
From Exodus: "He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand."

But hey Murdering 3k people and having others wonder for 40 years is legitimate punishment for well anything really!

Unknown said...

Apparently Blondie is citing the movie Exodus, not the Bible. They wandered for 40 years because of the 12 men who went in to spy out the land that God had promised (not long after they left Egypt), 10 came back saying they could not defeat the people who lived there because there were "giants" in the land. Only 2 said it didn't matter because God had promised the land to them (it was the land that God had promised to Abraham) and it didn't matter who stood against them. Many (maybe most, I don't recall) sided with the 10 and it was because of their lack of faith after all they had seen God do that he caused them to wander in the desert for 40 years. All who doubted God would pass away before they could go into the land.