The dust kicked up from thousands of human feet and livestock in the middle of a desert wilderness would certainly be enough to create a craving for cool water, shade and a refreshing meal. The Israelites were getting bored and testy…
”Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, ‘Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.’” Numbers 11:4-6
God had provided His people with a nutritious, heaven-sent food the people called “Manna.” However, they became tired of eating Manna day after day – after day. They longed for other foods; those they remembered from their days of slavery in Egypt. They also longed for meat, a word that literally translates from the Hebrew as “flesh” in this passage.
The Lord listened to their grumbling and allowed them to have the “flesh” they were craving instead of the Manna He had so perfectly provided…
“And say to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat, for you have wept in the hearing of the LORD, saying, “Who will give us meat to eat? For it was better for us in Egypt.” Therefore the LORD will give you meat, and you shall eat. You shall not eat just one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, but a whole month, until it comes out at your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have rejected the LORD who is among you…” Numbers 11:18-20
I personally love variety – variety of food, color and experiences. We are created to enjoy many different things. The Lord has designed this into our DNA since we are created in His image. But there is something there can only be “one” of and that is Jesus Christ – our Manna.
In John 6:29-33, Jesus declares of Himself, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent… Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”
I have been guilty in my own life of lusting after quail and cucumbers. I “crave” other foods from Egypt, a land of former slavery, which my taste buds seem more accustomed to. Sadly, there are times when daily maintaining my relationship with the Lord through prayer or studying His Word can seem at first to be boring, repetitive, or unnecessary. When I choose those things that can be idols in my life in place of a personal relationship with my amazing God or feasting on His Word, I have traded dancing for slavery – fresh water for vomit. (Num 11:20) I am also rejecting the Manna God has provided; essentially letting Him know that both He and His Word are dry and boring. Manna is not meant to be a side dish, but an extravagant main course.
Lord, may we as Believers love You more! May we look for you daily as one who is hungry. May we spend time reading the words from Your very own heart and mouth in Your gift, the Bible. We were created by the breath and word of Your mouth; may we also be sustained and fed by the word of Your mouth. You love us and care for us beyond our comprehension! As we walk in dusty deserts, may we trust you and walk alongside you – realizing daily that You are our beautiful, life-giving Manna.
“He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD. Deuteronomy 8:3
– Cherie Balsam