Some troublemakers among them wanted better food, and soon all the Israelites began complaining. They said, “We want meat! We remember the fish we ate for free in Egypt. We also had cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!” –Numbers 11:4-6 (NCV)
God used Moses to help free the Israelites from some 400 years of bondage and hard slavery in the land of Egypt. God had supernaturally provided for the Israelites along the way, providing them with manna — a special food — and water. No one went hungry. But, a year into the journey towards the Promised Land, the complaining began about the food. The Israelites wanted meat. They remembered the good old days of the free fish and veggies from the land of Egypt and longed for them. But, those days were anything but good. They were difficult days of slavery. They were days the Israelites cried out to God for deliverance. The Israelites had quickly forgotten the generations of misery in slavery to the Egyptians.
We might be tempted to wonder how the Israelites could be so ungrateful. God was providing for them. Still, I don’t think we’re much different from them. (If you think we’re different, just imagine eating oatmeal — at every meal — for a year!) It’s easy for us to forget how God has taken care of us in the past. It’s easy to make the past look better than it was and to blame God for what we think we need today — but aren’t getting. There’s an old saying that’s so often true, “Be careful of what you desire, because you just might get it.”
The Israelites grumbled and complained, “We want meat.” So, God gave them meat. It wasn’t in the way they expected or had hoped for. But they got what they asked for. God sent quail into their camp for a whole month. He sent the quail, not as a blessing, but as judgment because they had rejected Him and complained about leaving Egypt. There were quail three-feet deep on the ground all around the camp. A plague broke out in the camp and many people died.
What about you? Have you forgotten the many blessings and provisions God has given you in the past? Do you find yourself grumbling, “What has God done for me lately?” Let’s learn from the example of the Israelites of old. God calls us to be thankful people, people who remember his goodness and trust in Him to provide for our needs.
1. Is there something you want badly and are frustrated that you don’t have it? Take some time to evaluate your desire. What lies behind this desire?
2. Make a list of ways God has blessed you and provided for you in the past. Spend time thanking God for these things.
Numbers 11; Exodus 3:7-10; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13