6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: We need to be careful of murmuring and complaining and also be careful of what we ask for. God might just give us more than we bargained for.


By Pastor James May

Numbers Chapter 11:4-31

Life in South Louisiana has a number of wonderful advantages. There is no place in our nation that is better known for its food. Everywhere you go there are feasts of celebration of one kind or another. Right here, in our own little town of Gonzales, we take pride in being the “Jambalaya Capitol of the World”. That’s a pretty big claim to fame for a town that most of the world doesn’t even know exists. If you consider the fact that only a very miniscule number of people even know what jambalaya is, I don’t wonder that we can claim to be the capitol of the world. Most people, outside of Louisiana, would read that claim and the first thing that would come to mind is, “where is Gonzales and what in the world is jambalaya anyway”?

Be that as it may, Louisiana is still well known for its seafood gumbo, fais-do-do’s and its Cajun style cooking with a lot of seasoning. I have often heard of travelers to our state that said that their first objective in coming to visit was to experience the nightlife down in the “Big Easy” and to get a taste of that good old Cajun cooking. I have also heard of many who moved to other states but who would always look back with a longing inside, to coming back for a visit because they missed the tastes of Louisiana cooking.

This morning I want us to look at another time, another place, and another group of people who felt those same longings to go back to the place where they had come from.

Israel had been delivered from the slave camps in Egypt and now they were on their long journey through the wilderness to the Promised Land of Canaan. They shouted for joy at being set free. Their desire for freedom from the bondage of Pharaoh had finally been fulfilled. Can you imagine the euphoria that swept through the Children of Israel as they walked out of Egypt as a free people after having suffered for nearly 400 years, with generations of their ancestors never having known what it was like to be a free nation?

Oh how they had suffered under the oppression of their rulers in Egypt! Day after day of hard labor, working under the whip of their task masters who showed no mercy, only demanding more and more of them with every passing day. Not one day had passed without Pharaoh reminding them that they belonged to him. They slaved under the hot-burning desert sun moving stones that weights many tons to build Pharaoh’s kingdom. They spent countless days stomping straw into the mud pits and then hauling the mud and straw mixture to their fellowmen who spent their entire lives making bricks just so that Pharaoh’s cities could be built and his power flaunted before the whole world.

I can remember the day when I finally came home from the army. When the wheels of that plane came off of the runway in Saigon, Vietnam, the whole plane shook from the shouts of joy that came from the lips of every soldier who had been blessed enough to make it through alive, and now we were going home. But, an even greater shout went forth when those same wheels finally touched down with a screech and puff of smoke on the runway in Oakland, California. No matter what lay ahead, it was better than being back in the war zone. Life has had its ups and downs. There have been a lot of good times and a lot of bad times, but nothing has compared to those bad times.

Now you would think that Israel would have shouted for joy all the way through the wilderness and that they would have entered into Canaan with a shout of praise and singing songs of victory, but that was not to be the way it would happen. Almost immediately they began to murmur and complain about how hard it was to travel in the wilderness. How quickly they forgot what God had done for them and the great miracles of deliverance that he had brought to them!

God had brought the plagues upon Egypt to force Pharaoh to let his people go.

God had parted the waters of the Red Sea to give them easy access to leave Egypt.

God had provided water for them when they were thirsty.

God had given them Bread from Heaven to eat every day so that none would go hungry.

God had begun to teach them his Law and given them instructions on how to build a tabernacle where His glory would come into the midst of the camp and dwell among his people.

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