Gathering (choose one or the other)

You walk into the break room for a cup of coffee and find yourself in the middle of work colleagues complaining about EVERYTHING. What do you do?

  1. Jump right in, go with the flow, and try not to upset co-workers by disagreeing.
  2. Get sucked into the conversation, get frustrated and walk away, upset.
  3. Crack jokes to lighten the mood, then leave and complain about them to others.
  4. Don’t take sides, have compassion for complainers, and offer wisdom if prompted.
  5. Some or all the above, depending on the situation.


As a parent of kids or a chaperone on a field trip, we’ve all had to handle loud complaints. How have you handled such elevated complaints?



An emerging theme in this story is trust. For some, trust comes naturally and seems effortless. For others, trust is difficult, as it triggers a painful experience from the past. In either event, God’s people are to follow designated Spirit-empowered elders to a promised land, flowing with milk and honey—a land they do not see on their map. Nonetheless, they are to trust God daily for provisions in the unfamiliar wilderness. Expecting something new, delicious, and filling, instead they received a daily dose of something tasting as blah as coriander seed. The Hebrews called this unknown substance manna which, translated literally, means “What is it?” 


God’s Story

Have someone narrate Numbers 11: 4-15 but have others randomly interrupt on cue: whenever the passage identifies a complaint, the “audience” chimes in with boos, catcalls, and complaints, even banging the table. Have the narrator stop at 11:15, as if fed up with complaints, as was Moses. Hand off to a second person narrating Numbers 11: 16-23, with everyone else remaining silent, as if deferring to the Lord speaking. Have a third person narrate  Numbers 11: 24-29, with three others (any who have not yet read) speaking on cue the lines in 11:27, 11:28, 11:29. Have one last narrator close out by reading Numbers 11: 30-34.


Finding My Story in God’s Story

As the Customer Service Rep in the Sinai Desert Hilton, what would be your first response to these complaining people that Moses brings to you? 

  1. I’d yell, “Hey, boys and girls! Stop your whining or I will give you something to really cry about.”
  2. I’d call my manager and say, “YOU have a problem on your hands.”
  3. I’d buy them off, with a glass of wine and some cheese—anything to keep the peace.
  4. I’d holler, “Come on! Take a number and we’ll help you when it’s your turn.”
  5. Other __________.


On the highway of your life, which roadmap would you rely on for mid-course corrections?

  1. Stability: I’d aim for job security, guaranteed rewards, and homeownership.
  2. Risk-taking: I’d go “all in” on my dreams, even if it meant years of uncertainty.
  3. Happiness: I’d find fulfilment in that which money cannot buy.
  4. Trust: I’d follow wherever God leads, then everything else falls into place.
  5. Other __________.


Where in this story do you see examples of trust—or lack thereof?


What are the Israelites complaining about to Moses and to each other?

  1. Food insecurity—not having enough to eat.
  2. Eating too much—then throwing up.
  3. No comfort food or fresh food—all leftovers.
  4. Too many mouths to feed and noses to plug.
  5. Other __________.


What do you see as the main issue underlying the many food complaints of the Israelites?

  1. Not being creative in the many uses of manna and quail.
  2. Not trusting the answers coming from on high.
  3. Not just food spoilage, but adults acting like spoiled brats.
  4. Too many leaders prophesying, not enough followers listening.
  5. Other __________.


Recall a time when you were complaining too much, distracted, and not moving forward in trust. What take-away from today’s story would help you take a different course of action?


How does this story of Israelites demanding familiar bread and fresh meat resonate with you, as you seek your own land of milk and honey? 

  1. I hate not knowing where we’re going or when we’re gonna get there.
  2. I hate “same old, same old” and pine for something new or fresh to do.
  3. I need actual “milk and honey” for me to believe and keep going.
  4. If I could just taste and see that the LORD is good, I am good to go.
  5. Other __________.


Recall a time when you prayed for a specific outcome, but the answer was not even remotely close to your expectations, leaving you wondering, “What is it?” If so, please share with the group what “it” was, and how that turned out for you and yours?


Our Story


Considering the various elements of this story, which one(s) represent a strength (where others can learn from you)?

  1. I point out deficiencies or deficits, and I fix them.
  2. I feel others’ pain, and I offer words of encouragement.
  3. I remember “good ol’ days,” but I assert “the best is yet to come.”
  4. I believe God appoints and empowers leaders, and I follow suit.
  5. Other __________.


Of these elements, which one(s) represent a weakness where you could use a lifeline?


Ask the group to pray with you for next steps to take suggested by this lesson.