Numbers 11:1,5-6,11,16,21-23,33 Soon the people began to complain about their hardship, and the Lord heard everything they said. Then the Lord’s anger blazed against them, and he sent a fire to rage among them, and he destroyed some of the people in the outskirts of the camp… “We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted. But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!”… And Moses said to the Lord, “Why are you treating me, your servant, so harshly? Have mercy on me! What did I do to deserve the burden of all these people?… Then the Lord said to Moses, “Gather before me seventy men who are recognized as elders and leaders of Israel. Bring them to the Tabernacle to stand there with you… But Moses responded to the Lord, “There are 600,000 foot soldiers here with me, and yet you say, ‘I will give them meat for a whole month!’ Even if we butchered all our flocks and herds, would that satisfy them? Even if we caught all the fish in the sea, would that be enough?” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Has my arm lost its power? Now you will see whether or not my word comes true!”… But while they were gorging themselves on the meat—while it was still in their mouths—the anger of the Lord blazed against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague.
Reading this chapter left me with mixed emotions because in one context, the response of the Israelites seem terrible and in another context, God’s reaction to their complaining seems far worse.
How are we to understand this chapter and apply it into our lives today?
We as a race seem to always be looking for satisfaction but never finding it. This is one character trait of every human being that has not changed from the start of creation.
When we find our joy in something, it turns out to be short-lived and we are then looking for more. Reminds me of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory and how we seem to move from needs to desires and never being satisfied with anything.
Today’s chapter reminds us of how we so easily forget the very hand that feeds us and suffer the consequence of being unappreciative of what we have.
When the 2+ million Israelites travelled through the desert, rather than be amazed at God’s daily provision of food in the barren desert miraculously, they had taken for granted that which was given without any intervention of man and longed for the food they were served when they were enslaved.
Back in Egypt during the 430 years of enslavement, these same people cried for God to break the yoke of slavery and to give them hope and now the redeemed were spitting in their savior’s face!
I am sure you and I must look down on the Israelites about their state of heart but in reality, this is reflective of us even today.
When there is rain, we long for sunshine, when there is summer, we yearn for winter… When we start to appreciate all that God has done for us, we can stop complaining and begin rejoicing.
Only one who has lost race knows the joys of the one who won and in much the same way, lets not permit regret be the guide to our joy but instead let our hearts always be grateful for the blessings God has poured on us.
God’s wrath in contrast seems unjustified but is He really unjust? Can the one who created, moulded, provided, loved, protected and directed us not be angered when we spit in His own face for blessing us with much?
Do we need God to answer our mindless and self-satisfying yearnings to a point where we detest ourselves for being blind in asking?
I pray that today we will wake up to the reality that God is good and has been more good to you and I than we can even begin to appreciate. If you are able to read this, praise God for giving you the mental capacity to be able to read and if you are breathing on your own, praise God for the breath of life and air…
In His Loving Service,
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NLT