The Quail and the Manna III


God gave up his only son to be a sacrifice so that we could have relationship with him.  When we choose relationship with our stomachs over relationship with God, it grieves the Lord.  Today’s cautionary tale reveals what can happen when he gives us what we want…

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?”’”

24 So Moses went out and told the people what the Lord had said. He brought together seventy of their elders and had them stand around the tent. 25 Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took some of the power of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied…

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.
Numbers 11:18-25, 31-34

To help with the ancient math, the quail were 3 feet deep around camp and no one gathered less than 2000 dry quarts of quail.  Some dudes interpret that these were big birds standing 3 feet high each.  Whatever… They were up to their wings in meat…

The place was named Kibroth Hattaavah because the people lusted.  This was the grave of their lust.  Lusting after KFC.  Probably not that big of a stretch is it?  And God gave them so much meat that it came out their nostrils.  You want meat? I’ll give you meat.

Father God becomes angered when his people, in the depth of their vulnerability and at the height of God’s care and supply for them, reject him and crave other satisfactions. 

This is exactly what was happening in the desert with Israel.  They were so offensive to God because he was doing so much for them.  I don’t get offended when my neighbour doesn’t thank me for cutting my grass.  Even though it benefits him because it makes the whole street look nicer, it doesn’t bug me that he ignores what I do for him. It’s a bit of a stretch, right?  It would be kind of weird if he did thank me.

Now let’s talk teenagers.  As parents, we do incredible numbers of things for these creatures from another planet.  We come close to giving our lives for them.  And the number of thank-you’s seems to have an inverse relationship with their age.  Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of no acknowledgement…

Been there, parents?  The reason we are so angry or disappointed or frustrated or fed up with that lack of acknowledgement is that we do soooo much for our kids.  That’s how God feels when we turn from his sustenance and crave and lust after the things of the world.

God gave up his only son to be a sacrifice so that we could have relationship with him.  When we choose relationship with our stomachs over relationship with God, it grieves the Lord...

We ought to hope against all hope that God doesn’t bury us in the thing we crave.  You want meat? I’ll give you meat.  You’ll have meat coming out the wazoo.  If God decides to teach us a lesson, or worse, decides to teach others a lesson through us, we might not recover from the quail-fest.  Which could be a success-fest or a materialism-overload…

In the case of Israel, the meat-lusters actually died.  Perhaps as we reflect on the lesson God is teaching us through them, we can avoid being the subject of God’s next cautionary tale…

Amen.

Marc Kinna

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