Today I was reading about the complaining of Israel in the desert…which is really nothing new. The murmuring of the Israelites is a common theme throughout their existence, but today I saw something interesting.
Numbers 11:4-6 (NIV)
The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost–also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”
First of all, the “rabble” it mentions are not actually Israelites. They are a mix of people who came with them from Egypt. Perhaps other slaves or poor people. Who knows? But they were from Egypt and started missing home and the food they had there. Here’s the first thing this shows us:
1. The Israelites followed the lead of the people around them! Even though God had brought them to freedom in a great show of His might and care for them, they listened to these other people! People who didn’t even understand the heart of God or His promises to them. They listened and they imitated them!!!
2. Then this next thing I noticed is that in verse 5 they say they remember the food they ate at no cost. What? Are they serious? Perhaps it was given to them. Perhaps they had free reign to fish as much as they wanted, but it was certainly not at no cost. They paid for everything they had with bondage, slavery, hardships, and death. They paid for it, all right, with their very lives. And yet here we see them longing for things that are directly associated with their bondage.
I started thinking…how often do we do that to God? We are safely in His care. We are experiencing freedom and the leading of God, yet we begin to long for “better times” when we weren’t constricted by what He says is best for us. We say things like, “But that is just part of who I am. I feel like I’m not being true to myself. What about all those things that used to make me happy? Would it hurt if I had just a little of my old life? Life in Christ is just so boring and the same all the time!”
Unfortunately, this kind of talking and thinking is not merely a dissatisfaction with our lives…it is a dissatisfaction with God Himself. And as we see later in the chapter, it doesn’t end well.
Numbers 11:34 (NIV)
34 Therefore the place was named Kibroth Hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had craved other food.
A longing and a craving for things outside of God’s will for me will ultimately lead to death…not a physical death, but a death in my heart. A death to the life and vitality given to me as I find full satisfaction in Him, in His presence, and in His will for my life. My desire is that I would have a heart like this…
One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple. (Psalm 27:4)
This is the heart I want! To desire nothing but to be in the house of the Lord!!! To desire nothing but to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord! To find satisfaction in Him and Him alone. There is no way I ever want to go back to the place I was before I was set free by Him. Never.