Following God

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 ESV

When I was a boy I received a digital watch for Christmas. This may not seem like a big deal now, but in the early 80s, living in a developing nation, it was a tremendous gift. I was proud of my watch. Then one day I noticed my father’s watch. Not only was it digital, but it had a calculator on it. I coveted my father’s watch. One day I left my watch on his night stand with a note that said, “I don’t want my watch. I want yours.”

Even now I can only imagine the kind of hurt his caused my father.

The People of Israel had slaves for generations. They were finally free. God had delivered them with amazing signs, wonders and miracles. Imagine the wonder when God parted a sea and created dry ground for the people to cross on. Can you picture walking between two towering walls of water while a giant pillar of fire blocks the most powerful army of that time from swarming down upon you? You’re starting to get an idea of the awesome power of this God of your ancestors. Can you now imagine yourself looking on as all the people have finished crossing and the pillar of fire is lifted? Suddenly the Egyptian army rushes headlong between the walls of water. You can hear the thundering hooves of the charioteer’s horses. Suddenly the walls of water begin to collapse and in less than a minute, that grand army, all of Pharaoh’s military might is swept aside by an almighty God. Can you imagine the exultation that resulted?

God had lead the people out of Egypt and protected them. He also provided for them. When they complained about a lack of food he provided something called Manna which appeared each day (except the Sabbath). While we don’t know exactly what it was, it could be made several different ways and provided for their nutritional needs. Yet in Numbers 11, 4-6 we read that the people complained. They were tired of this manna stuff. They wanted meat.

You and I may think, “If I had to exist on basically one food, no matter that it could be prepared different ways, I would complain too.” This is, however, more than a complaint about a monotonous diet. It is a yearning for the pleasures of Egypt. It is a desire for the easy life (which is ironic since their lives in Egypt were anything but easy). It shows a blindness we all suffer from when we long for the “good ol’ days.” It is a rejection of what God has given them. It is a rejection of God’s plan. It is a rejection of God.

Lord, help us to see where You are at work around us. Help us to surrender ourselves to Your plan. May we be grateful for what You give us and not covet that which You haven’t. May we follow You first, foremost and always. Amen.

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