Summary: A message showing that we have the same attitudes that the Israelites had while traveling in the desert with Moses.
How many times have we gone to God and asked Him for things we wanted or needed?
The Israelites had been slaves in Egypt for 400 years and were brutalized, beaten, and killed. Many of them had asked God to help them get out of that mess, but it was not until the entire nation of Israelites turned back to God, that God actually answered their prayers. He then had Moses lead them out of Egypt and that is where they stayed, in the desert, for 40 years before being allowed to enter the Promised Land.
Why did God keep them in the desert for those 40 long years? It was because of their unappreciative and arrogant attitudes. They had been given blessing after blessing from God, yet they complained and argued against God; always wanting more.
In NUMBERS 11:1-3, they began to complain about hardship.
“The people began complaining openly before the Lord about hardship. When the Lord heard this, His anger burned and the fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed the outskirts of their camp. Then, the people cried out to Moses and he began praying on their behalf and the fires died down.”
In verses -6, they started complaining about their food. God had been providing them Manna every day, but not being satisfied with this Godly blessing, they began to show their arrogance once more, because they wanted meat.
“Contemptible people among them had a strong craving for other food. They cried out again and said, ‘Who will feed us meat? We remember the free fish we ate in Egypt, along with cucumbers, melons, leeks, and onions. But now, our appetite is gone – there’s nothing to look at but this Manna!”
God had taken them from the harshest of experiences and was even supplying them with everything they needed, but instead of seeing the bigger picture of people who were God’s children, they could only see what they personally wanted. This showed the distance in their hearts from God and the lack of understanding in how blessed they had been.
Does that sound very much like Americans today? We have been blessed more than any other nation in the history of the world, yet we turn our backs on the One who blessed us and began searching for more worldly “stuff” to make us feel full and content.
God heard their continual complaining and we see how He answered them in verses 18-20.
“You will eat meat because you cried out before the Lord, saying: ‘Who will feed us meat? We really had it good in Egypt.’ Well, the Lord will give you meat and you will eat it. You will eat, not for one day, or two days, or five days, or 10 days, or even 20 days, but for an entire month – until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes nauseating to you – because you have rejected the Lord who is among you, and cried to Him: ‘Why did we ever leave Egypt?”
The Bible gives no specific information as to when the complaining started, or any details about why it started. We are left with the assumption that they were bored with what they had and just wanted something different. In itself, there is nothing wrong with wanting other things in your life as long as none of them could be considered ungodly. But the type of complaining they did showed that the only person they were focused on was “self” – not God.
The One who was caring for them; the One who was feeding them; and the One who was leading them in safety was not only being ignored, He was being openly being disrespected by the very people He was helping.
So, rather than punish them by starving them to death, He gave them what they wanted. As a matter of fact, He gave them so much that they became sick of what they originally desired. And that is the lesson in this study: To be careful what we ask for, because we just might get it.
Look inwardly and search your own lives. Have you been blessed by the Lord in abundance? I think everyone of us here has. Yet, what do we do? Rather than getting on our knees each day and crying out to God in thanksgiving, we do what the Israelites did. We grow bored and unappreciative. And then, we look for other things to make us feel content again. The problem with that is we always seem to look in the world instead of looking back at God.
Not only have we, as individual Christians, done this, but our churches have also done this. Instead of teaching and preaching the true facts of the Bible, we talk about things like our abilities to handle stress while shopping, or we edit some facts out of the Bible so that the message we deliver does not offend.