The Quail and the Manna I


Isn’t this life?  The good ole days are good because we only remember the good parts. Just be satisfied with God.  When we transfer contentment from God to our lifestyle, we take the shine off the rescue of God and we start to polish, again, the idol of self...

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.”

21 But Moses said, “Here I am among six hundred thousand men on foot, and you say, ‘I will give them meat to eat for a whole month!’ 22 Would they have enough if flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? Would they have enough if all the fish in the sea were caught for them?” 23 The Lord answered Moses, “Is the Lord’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you.”
Numbers 11:4-15, 21-23

What do you do when the riches and luxury of slavery is better to you than the meager sustenance of God in freedom?  That’s where Israel was at in the story of the quail and the manna.  They missed the smorgasbord of life which was available to them under the Egyptian slave-masters.  Somehow, they even forgot the slavery part of the equation because of how alluring the cucumbers and fish were in their memories.

Isn’t that life?  The good ole days are good because we only remember the good parts.

Consider how offensive Israel’s attitude must have been to the Lord.  He rescued them from Egypt, hearing the cries up to heaven (Exodus 2:23-25) and being concerned for them.  And now, the sustenance and protection of God as they traveled the desert was not enough.  The shine of God’s rescue had worn off and the Israelites were asking God, “What have you done for me lately?” Do you ever ask God that in your words or actions or attitudes?

Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians that he had learned to become content in all circumstances (Philippians 4:10-13), having been in plenty and in want, because his strength and satisfaction was in the Lord.  When we transfer our satisfaction and contentment from God to our possessions and lifestyle, we take the shine off the rescue of God and we start to polish, again, the idol of self and worldliness.

Be satisfied with God.  Not even with what he provides.  Just be satisfied with God.

Moses didn’t handle this well.  Unfortunately, his response to God was akin to the disciples response when Jesus asked them to feed the five thousand (Luke 9).  Where am I going to get enough meat to feed Israel?  The Colonel can’t make enough buckets of chicken…

Moses was at the end of his tether with Israel.  Moses’ response is a glimpse of the kind of anguish God the Father would have experienced and still experiences as his children disobey and disregard his holiness and his provision and care. Moses didn’t want to go back to slavery.  He just said, “Kill me now, Lord.”  I have had enough…

We likely all get there as leaders of people.  Or as parents.  God asks us one question in reply: “Is the Lord’s arm too short?”  Of course, it is not.

God is all-powerful to meet all needs in his wisdom and timing.  Our faith is too short.

May we place all of our concern and trust and hope only in the Lord today.

Amen.

Marc Kinna

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