As I was reading this morning I came upon this story from the post-slavery days of Israel.
They had been released and made their way to Mt. Horeb, where God gave them Torah.
The people are on the verge of sending twelve men into the Promise Land to spy out the land.
The people have been miraculously provided for by God. He fed them with manna and provided water. Oftentimes we decide what God gives us is not enough.
Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: “Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!” Num 11:4-6
They began to complain as they thought back to the days of slavery. But slavery wasn’t on their minds – it was the food.
The manna that God provided became repulsive to them.
They wanted more.
And God provided more!
Now a wind went out from the Lord, and it brought quail from the sea and left them fluttering near the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and about a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp, and about two cubits above the surface of the ground. And the people stayed up all that day, all night, and all the next day, and gathered the quail (he who gathered least gathered ten homers); and they spread them out for themselves all around the camp. But while the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was aroused against the people, and the Lord struck the people with a very great plague. So he called the name of that place Kibroth Hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had yielded to craving. Num 11:31-34
Migrating quail were redirected by the wind. The quail were extremely plenteous so that the people were able to stay up for 24 hours and gather them.
The person that had the least amount had 10 homers, which some say is about 55 bushels.
God has promised to feed them for a month with quail.
The people gorged themselves!
I believe that we often become our own worst enemy.
While God gave a miracle, the people became gluttonous with it.
Though the Bible says God struck them with a great plague (and I don’t dispute that) I wonder if the people did not bring it upon themselves.
I remember one night we had some fresh milk in the refrigerator. On top was a layer of sweet cream. I skimmed off the cream into a glass and added a little Hershey’s syrup.
Oh my! It was the most delicious chocolate “milk” I have ever had in my life.
Fifteen minutes later I was sick as a dog as the richness of the cream took a toll on my stomach.
Imagine eating a diet of manna for weeks or months and suddenly gorging on grilled quail. I don’t think their stomachs handled this diet change very well, to the point that some of them died.
I am reminded of how good God is and how sinful we are.
God gives – we take!
God provides – we demand more.
Every day our prayer should be “God bless and provide for me with just the right amount that I need. Please keep me from lusting for more than I need and coveting more than I should!”