In the beginning of January we always sit down as a family to discuss family and personal goals. One of my son’s desires for me was that I would start a Sunday School class where I could study and share with others. I told him that I already have a beloved group of women who text bomb each other when the Lord reveals something in study…and, of course, I have my hubby and kids to share with. Shepherding these kids is something I really want to focus on. Upon his request and urging, I have decided that I will dust off the cobwebs and try to share a bit more on this blog. Some of the insights that the Lord gives me may be things you’ve studied out before or maybe you could share with me and ADD TO what I am reading and learning. Last week as I was reading in Numbers 11, I shared with my son and he said, “Mom, THIS is what you need to share!”…so here we go.
Quail From the Lord
4 The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. 6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”
7 The manna was like coriander seed and looked like resin. 8 The people went around gathering it, and then ground it in a hand mill or crushed it in a mortar. They cooked it in a pot or made it into loaves. And it tasted like something made with olive oil. 9 When the dew settled on the camp at night, the manna also came down.
10 Moses heard the people of every family wailing at the entrance to their tents. The Lord became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled. 11 He asked the Lord, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors? 13 Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.”
Then I want to skip ahead a bit (we’ll go back to this part soon).
18 “Tell the people: ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The Lord heard you when you wailed, “If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will eat it. 19 You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, 20 but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it—because you have rejected the Lord, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’”
Moving forward again…
31 Now a wind went out from the Lord and drove quail in from the sea. It scattered them up to two cubits deep all around the camp, as far as a day’s walk in any direction. 32 All that day and night and all the next day the people went out and gathered quail. No one gathered less than ten homers.Then they spread them out all around the camp. 33 But while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger of the Lord burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague. 34 Therefore the place was named Kibroth Hattaavah,[ because there they buried the people who had craved other food.
35 From Kibroth Hattaavah the people traveled to Hazeroth and stayed there.
A brief recap: The people completely forgot about the plagues, deliverance, the Red Sea, a number of miracles…and now manna is not good enough. Whining for meat- in verse 5, they recalled the “good ole days” in Egypt when they ate meat AT NO COST. What? No cost? Really?
In Exodus 1:11 & 13, the Bible describes forced labor, oppression, and how the current ruler worked them ruthlessly. In Exodus 1:22, the Pharaoh ordered that the baby boys be killed. And in Exodus 3:7 the Lord Himself says that He has seen the misery of His people in Egypt and has heard their crying and suffering. So it seems to me that their memory had become a little hazy…or maybe it was the heat. Oh, how soon we forget from what and where we have been delivered.
One thing that keeps coming to mind is Psalm 37:4…Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. When I read the above portions of Numbers, I can see that they are definitely NOT delighting in the Lord. But, I’ve said it before…we can’t be too hard on the Israelites because we are really no different.
So what happens if you do NOT delight in the Lord? What if your desire is burning for something else? The answer is clear and it hits me to my core. God created us to have free will, so if we are not seeking Him and His desires…then we are seeking self and our desires. I think this story illustrates exactly what happens when our desires don’t line up.
God will let us choose and have exactly what we want…and the consequences that go with it.
Romans 1:21-25 says just that:
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
In Numbers, the Israelites’ desire was for an abundance of meat and they got it. God provided so much, in fact, that they were wading through it and God had said that they would eat it for a month and it would come out of their noses. (Oh, Aacck! The visual alone turns my gut!) Instead, they didn’t even get the satisfaction of a full belly and they were struck with plague. Gee, I don’t think that worked out as they had planned.
In Romans, their desire was for sin and self…they didn’t acknowledge God or give thanks to Him and God let them have exactly what they wanted. He gave them over to their own desires.
CHOKE. ON. THAT.
I have been there…I have chosen myself and I have choked on the consequences. I wonder how our desire would change if we had advance knowledge of the consequences? Maybe it would change the course for some; maybe. As Hebrews 11 points out (speaking about Moses…go figure)- it is better to suffer affliction than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.
So I guess what I have discovered is the need for constant self-evaluation to really see where my desires meet up with the desires of the Lord.
Father God, I pray that I will never again have to choke on the abundance of bad choices or selfish desires. Move me to seek YOU first.
In Jesus’ Name! Amen.