Whiners Whine, It’s What They Do ( A Bible Study of Numbers 11:1-35)

On August 23rd, 2005, a tropical storm began to form off the coast of the Bahamas. Over the next two days, that storm grew in intensity, only barely becoming a hurricane shortly before making landfall in Florida on the 25th. As you would expect, the hurricane began to lose its strength at that point, and was little more than a tropical storm when it passed through Florida and entered then into the Gulf of Mexico on the other side. But for those of you who might remember, the story doesn’t end there. The storm, now picking up moisture in the extremely warm waters of the Gulf began to reintensify, and on the 28th of August officially became the category 5 hurricane that we named “Katrina”. That hurricane made landfall again in the state of Louisiana on the following day of the 29th of August, 2005,.. and when it had dissipated, it had caused the deaths of at least 1,200 people, and cost damages over 108 billion dollars, making it the costliest natural disaster on record in the United States.

Furthermore, the tragedy of hurricane Katrina was only compounded by the fact that relief efforts, for the hundreds of thousands of those stranded by the flooding, never could meet the demand. Thousands of refugees had tried to find help at emergency shelters like the ones at the Louisiana Superdome and the New Orleans Civic Center, only to find that supplies were minimal at these facilities, and they had very limited working restrooms. Looting was reported as soon as the following day after the storm, but that didn’t stop some from dying even days later from thirst, and exhaustion, and even random acts of violence. FEMA had received applications from over 700,000 families, requesting assistance, but only about a fifth of that demand was ever able to be met,.. and over 300,000 of those families ended up relocating permanently. Immediately following the destruction, some organizations weren’t even allowed to enter into New Orleans because of safety concerns, and there was even an incident where 350,000 emergency meals sent by Great Britain, never reached the victims of the storm because of bureaucratic red tape regarding Mad Cow Disease.

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I hear about things like this, I say to myself,.. ‘These people may have something to complain about’. I’m not saying you’d expect everything to go smooth, per se. I mean, it was a natural disaster after all. 700,000 families affected, 60,000 people stranded in New Orleans alone. But when three, four, then five days start going by,.. you just want to scream, ‘Get those people water!’ We can see a real need there. We see the desperation and the stakes of failure. We see everything that we don’t see in our passage this evening. When we look at the Israelites in the wilderness, at this point in their journey, we don’t see the same kind of need, do we? We don’t see those without food, or shelter, or water, or even good leadership. No, we see the chosen people of God, being led by Him and by His faithful servant directly, being cared for, being provided for, being protected,.. and complaining.

So, I think we should take some time to look at this passage. Let’s look at the scene, and let’s look at the attitudes, but most importantly let’s look at ourselves, because this passage is here to teach us something. And we really need to take the time to learn what that is, so that hopefully, we won’t make the same mistakes. We begin with the first six verses.

Numbers 11:1-6

1 Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord; and when the Lord heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.

The people therefore cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord and the fire died out.

So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the Lord burned among them.

The rabble who were among them had greedy desires; and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, “Who will give us meat to eat?

We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic,

but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna.”

So before we examine the text itself, let’s first just quickly recap what’s just been happening in the book of Numbers. Being the fourth book in the Pentateuch (or the Books of Moses), Numbers continues to tell us about the Israelites that were delivered from the hands of Pharaoh, while they were slaves in the land of Egypt. God sends His servant Moses to reveal the power of God to Pharaoh, and to the people of Egypt, and to the people of God. We had the ten plagues, then the first Passover, and then the final deliverance that took place at the Red Sea. Then the Israelites are led into the wilderness where they’re given the commandments at Mount Sinai, and they’re given the rest of the law, and their instructed very clearly on how to worship God, and how to observe the atonement for their sins. We see them fall short and stumble and anger God almost immediately and repeatedly; but through it all, God remains faithful, and continues to guide His people through the wilderness, and provide for all their needs.

This passage takes place just about 5 weeks after the observance of the second Passover feast. In Numbers, chapter 9, God commands Moses to be sure to observe the Passover meal at its appointed time, one year after the Israelites were led out of Egypt. They do so, and by doing so, the people of God are celebrating and remembering the provision that God had made to deliver them from the judgment of the tenth plague in the land of Egypt, the death of all the firstborn. A plague that would have destroyed them as well, had God not provided a way for them to be spared. And through this event, the Israelites were finally freed from their captivity, and allowed to leave Egypt. Shortly after, even being miraculously saved by the now pursuing Egyptians at the Red Sea; through a display of God’s power that we have rarely seen even in all of scripture, but one that these same chosen people saw with their own eyes.

So when God commands them to observe the Passover feast, one would think that all of these events would be running through their minds. That they would just have to be in such wonder and awe that they serve a true and all powerful God who commands the seas and has power over life and death. One who provides for them and protects them, and who has made a way for them to escape death and judgment. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. It seems as though these people have forgotten about what God has done, and just who God is. As I mentioned, this passage takes place about five weeks after this second Passover. Were told in Numbers chapter 9 that the Passover was observed on the 14th day of the first month, as it was appointed to (Numbers 9:1-3); and then we see in chapter 10 that on the 20th of the 2nd month, that they set out from Mount Sinai where they journeyed to the wilderness of Paran, and as we read in the last few verses of chapter 10, this took about three days.

Numbers 10:33-36

33 Thus they set out from the mount of the LORD three days’ journey, with the ark of the covenant of the LORD journeying in front of them for the three days, to seek out a resting place for them.

34 The cloud of the LORD was over them by day when they set out from the camp.

35 Then it came about when the ark set out that Moses said, “Rise up, O LORD! And let Your enemies be scattered, And let those who hate You flee before You.”

36 When it came to rest, he said, “Return, O LORD, To the myriad thousands of Israel.”

And with that, we then read in verse 1 of chapter 11, “Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord; and when the Lord heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.” (Numbers 11:1). And you just have to ask, ‘What happened?’ What changed in that 5 weeks? Was it the fact that they were on the move again? Or was it the weather, or the heat, or something else? Well, we aren’t told. We could speculate, but what’s the point? What difference does it make? If anything, I think that the fact that we aren’t given any specifics about their grumblings is just all the more to clue us in to the fact that these Israelites were complainers from way back. They were consistent and relentless in their ability to always look for the darkest cloud in the sky and then dwell on it. They complained about the water, they complained about the food, they complained about the journey, they complained about the obstacles in the very land that was going to be given to them. Plain and simple, they didn’t need a reason to complain because they were, by their very nature, complainers.

It shouldn’t shock us that the people of God were complaining. What should strike us is God’s response. After such a display of ingratitude and defiance, look how subdued Gods response truly is. “And when the Lord heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.” (Numbers 11:1). Not all the people, not the entire camp, not even ‘most’ or ‘many’, but ‘some of the outskirts’. And then, as the people cried out in verse 2; and to whom did they cry out? Did they cry out to God? No, they cried to Moses. But Moses prayed to God, and God listened to his prayer, and the fire stopped. So this should be good, right? The people have essentially provoked the anger of God, the fire comes, they scream out for help, and by the intercession of Moses, the fire stops. All is well. The people repent from their wickedness, and turn back to God. Right? Oh, that’s right, no. They don’t repent at all, and instead, we read in verses 4 through 7 that they just keep on complaining.

Numbers 11:4-7

The rabble who were among them had greedy desires; and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, “Who will give us meat to eat?

We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic,

but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna.”

Now, there’s two groups mentioned here; you have the rabble of those ’among’ the people of Israel. These were the non-Jewish people who left Egypt along with them during the Exodus and followed them into the wilderness, and then you have the people of Israel themselves. But it doesn’t seem to matter who we’re talking about, because they’re all complaining. The rabble had ‘greedy desires’, the sons of Israel ‘wept’ desiring to eat meat. Both are covetous, and greedy, and forgetful. Think for a second, what did we say took place just 5 weeks ago? The Passover feast. And what was the one thing that made the Passover what it was? The sacrificial lamb. The people of Israel may not have had many animals with them in the wilderness, but the Passover feast required a lamb to sacrifice and be eaten, and God expected them to eat meat on that day. When speaking to Moses in chapter 9, He makes provisions to allow those who have been defiled by a corpse to be allowed to partake in the Passover meal, and He says to Moses in chapter 9, verse 12, “They shall leave none of it until morning, nor break one of its bones. According to all the ordinances of the Passover they shall keep it.” (Numbers 9:12).

These people were eating meat less than 40 days ago, and yet what are they thinking about? What are they weeping about? “We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna.” (Numbers 11:5-6). Apparently, Egyptian fish is delicious and really leaves an impact on your memories; enough to wipe out the memories of being flogged and beaten and slaved to death. Aside from that, the food’s pretty good. The people of God weren’t being beaten now though, were they? Were they being slaved or asked to bear heavy burdens. No. At this point in their journey we see them doing little more than two things. We see them traveling, in this case a mere 3-day journey. And we see them gathering and cooking the days’ manna that they would receive.

And at this point, for some reason, Moses decides to go into detail about that very process. He spends the next three verses talking about this manna. What it looks like, what it tastes like, how you cook it and prepare it, and finally that it was always there for them to eat. And just consider as you read this, the effort and work required to eat this manna compared to what it cost them to eat while they were slaves forced to work for Pharaoh in Egypt.

Numbers 11:7-9

Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its appearance like that of bdellium.

The people would go about and gather it and grind it between two millstones or beat it in the mortar, and boil it in the pot and make cakes with it; and its taste was as the taste of cakes baked with oil.

When the dew fell on the camp at night, the manna would fall with it.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I only see two ingredients mentioned here. I see manna and water. You gather the manna, grind it in a pot, put it in the water and boil it until it’s cooked enough to form cakes with. Yet it’s taste was like what, cakes baked with oil. It wasn’t tasteless like a porridge. It had flavor to it. And from what I can gather, didn’t seem too difficult to make. I’m sure it was a process that required an honest days’ effort, but does this sound like any kind of slave labor? Let’s not forget, since the beginning, even Adam was expected to work the land and gather his own food to eat. It’s been the way of life through all generations, even today in several parts of the world and in our American farms. People get up every day, and they spend their days working so that they can eat that day, and sleep in their homes. But the Israelites were not satisfied, and they were weeping. So now, we continue on to see how this affects Moses in verses 10 through 14.

           Numbers 11:10-14

 10 Now Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, each man at the doorway of his tent; and the anger of the Lord was kindled greatly, and Moses was displeased.

11 So Moses said to the Lord, “Why have You been so hard on Your servant? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all this people on me?

12 Was it I who conceived all this people? Was it I who brought them forth, that You should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom as a nurse carries a nursing infant, to the land which You swore to their fathers’?

13 Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me, saying, ‘Give us meat that we may eat!’

14 I alone am not able to carry all this people, because it is too burdensome for me.

15 So if You are going to deal thus with me, please kill me at once, if I have found favor in Your sight, and do not let me see my wretchedness.”

 So,.. Moses is complaining. As if we didn’t get enough from the children of Israel, and the rabble and the first complaints and the second; here we come to the one man that everyone is looking to, the one man that will know what to do. And he’s complaining. And when the man in charge starts complaining, you know you’re in real trouble. However, I think we’ll see that the complaints of Moses have one key difference than those of the people. There’s one thing that sets apart the response of Moses to anyone else that we’ve seen thus far. That difference being who he’s complaining to. There were no specific complaints mentioned back in verse 1, we just read that the people started complaining. There were no prayers being offered, no seeking counsel or guidance. The people just started complaining, because, as we said, they were complainers. Then, after God got angry and brought the fire upon them, who did the people cry out to? Moses, not God. And when they decided to keep on complaining, because they wanted to eat meat again, because they didn’t want the manna that was being supplied to them, supernaturally, by God Himself; who did they complain to. Once again, Moses.

But who does Moses go to? Moses goes to the only one that you go to when you have a problem. Moses went to the Lord. And when he does, I want us to see three things about what Moses says to God. First, Moses understands that everything that’s happening here is of God. Moses understands completely that God is in control of everything, and that even the complaints of God’s people have a purpose. “Why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all this people on me?” (Numbers 11:11). There’s no questioning of whether or not God could have prevented this or if God might be making some kind of mistake. Second, Moses doesn’t hesitate to bring his weakness to God. All too often we pray because we want something. Even if it’s something good, like greater faith, or obedience, or the ability to love one another more, we have this thing inside of us that wants to receive and to receive in greater quantities. Notice that Moses doesn’t ask for meat. He says to God, I can’t give these people meat, I have no way of solving this problem, I am inadequate to fulfill my role as the leader. He’s laying his burden before God, and asking to be relieved of it. Not given more, not given the ability to achieve the goal or complete the task but to simply have the problem go away. And third, I’d like us to see that Moses was not perfect. Moses knows that, and I know that most of us know that as well, but sometimes we have to be reminded of such things. It’s not easy to hear this wonderful man of faith ask God to kill him so that he won’t have to deal with God’s people anymore, but as a man, I understand. Moses is man who’s been put in a tough spot here, and we shouldn’t be surprised that he reacts as a man in a tough spot. What’s important to remember is that he didn’t try to fix it on his own, but he went to the Lord in prayer, as we all should.

But now, we get to see the response from God over everything that’s been going on. We’ll see Him respond to Moses first and then we’ll see how he responds to the people. And as you might expect, since Moses and the people approached God in two different ways,.. God responds to each in two very different ways.

          Numbers 11:16-17

 16 The Lord therefore said to Moses, “Gather for Me seventy men from the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and their officers and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you.

17 Then I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit who is upon you, and will put Him upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you will not bear it all alone.

So the Lord has heard Moses, and we see that He has allowed Moses to go out and gather elders from among the people to help aid Moses in the charge of caring for the people. God didn’t get angry with Moses. He didn’t say ‘I’ll give you all the power you need’ or ‘why can’t you take care of this’. No, He heard the prayer of his servant, and He provided for his needs. And not only that, but He indicates that He’ll put His Spirit upon them as well. He’s not only going to provide for Moses by allowing the elders to share the burden, but He’s going to supply them with the same Spirit. God will be with all of them, to give them wisdom and discernment and patience. Of course, he gives to the people as well. And, he gives the people what they desired. But, as He tells us, they’re going to be sorry that they did.

Numbers 11:18-23

18 Say to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the ears of the Lord, saying, “Oh that someone would give us meat to eat! For we were well-off in Egypt.” Therefore the Lord will give you meat and you shall eat.

19 You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days,

20 but a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you; because you have rejected the Lord who is among you and have wept before Him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’”

21 But Moses said, “The people, among whom I am, are 600,000 on foot; yet You have said, ‘I will give them meat, so that they may eat for a whole month.’

22 Should flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, to be sufficient for them? Or should all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to be sufficient for them?”

23 The Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord’s power limited? Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not.”

You almost have to wonder if the people hearing this were happy for a minute. Maybe even excited. These were people that were just weeping over not having any meat to eat, and now they’re being told that they’re going to get a whole months’ worth. Even hearing the whole loathsome thing, they might have just said, ‘yeah, but that won’t happen till the end, at least we’ll have meat tomorrow’. I wonder if any one of them had any idea of just how miserable this experience was going to be, or that this was actually judgment on them, as opposed to a gift. Moses, however, was clearly still more concerned with the logistics of how this was supposed to happen, so he inquires of the Lord to ask how he’s supposed to accomplish this. But God responds by saying, ‘No, don’t worry, you and the 70 elders just sit back, I got this’. See, God was in control of the food. If Moses ordered flocks to be slaughtered, then when the people get tired of meat, you just go back to what you were eating before. But when manna’s being supplied daily by God. A substance that you can’t get on your own, and then He stops supplying that, and instead, offers you meat, and only meat; you have no choice but to eat it. And the people had no choice.

Numbers 11:24-30

24 So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord. Also, he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people, and stationed them around the tent.

25 Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him; and He took of the Spirit who was upon him and placed Him upon the seventy elders. And when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do it again.

26 But two men had remained in the camp; the name of one was Eldad and the name of the other Medad. And the Spirit rested upon them (now they were among those who had been registered, but had not gone out to the tent), and they prophesied in the camp.

27 So a young man ran and told Moses and said, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”

28 Then Joshua the son of Nun, the attendant of Moses from his youth, said, “Moses, my lord, restrain them.”

29 But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!”

30 Then Moses returned to the camp, both he and the elders of Israel.

So here, we see God fulfill His promise to Moses. We see the elders brought forth, and the Lord come upon them and give of His Spirit, which was upon Moses, and give it to these men as well, and in response, we see these men prophesy and proclaim the word of God. Then we come to two men that we haven’t seen before named Eldad and Medad. There’s a little confusion for my part as to whether these men were part of the seventy or not. They aren’t referred to as elders, but the Spirit of God is given to them, and they are singled out because they had ‘not gone out to the tent’ which is where Moses had assembled the seventy elders. So for those two reasons, I would reason that these two men were part of the seventy (though I could be wrong), but through God’s providence, were restrained to prophecy in the middle of the camp. Either way, the important thing about this section isn’t the actions of these two men, but rather the response of Moses and Joshua to the news about their prophesying.

When Joshua and Moses are given the news of these two, Joshua immediately responds with ‘silence them’. Joshua was thinking that these men were stepping on Moses’ toes. He thought they were going to steal his thunder and that only he had the right to prophecy in the name of the Lord. But Moses, finally displaying his quality in this passage responds properly. He says in verse 29, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets, that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!” (Numbers 11:29). Moses understands that it’s not all about him. God’s glory is the priority, and God’s people are one of the ways in which God displays His glory. We’re so self-absorbed most of the time that God’s glory is little more than an afterthought. If only we would be more concerned with God’s glory than our own. If only we’d talk about the gospel before we’d talk about sports. If only we’d talk about the love of God before we talk about politics. We might understand what it looks like to put on display the glory of God in a fallen world.

But for those who don’t display God’s glory. For those who don’t care and would rather focus on the negative things and complain about everything, there is nothing but destruction waiting for them. There is judgment and death. God has told us that. God has revealed that to us. And He has even demonstrated that to us here in this passage, and in the next few verses.

Numbers 11:31-35

 31 Now there went forth a wind from the Lord and it brought quail from the sea, and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp and about two cubits deep on the surface of the ground.

32 The people spent all day and 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.

33 While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord struck the people with a very severe plague.

34 So the name of that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had been greedy.

35 From Kibroth-hattaavah the people set out for Hazeroth, and they remained at Hazeroth.

So, as God kept His promise to Moses, so too He keeps it here to the people. We see God cause a wind that stirs up what we can assume was hundreds of thousands of quail  from the seas for the people to eat. But notice first one difference between this quail and the manna that the people were given before. The manna fell everyday along with the dew, and the people would gather it in the morning, and then cook it for the day. That means that the manna had to be pretty close. But what about the quail. Verse 31 says that the quail fell, “about a day’s journey on this side and a day’s journey on the other side” (Numbers 11:31). Just to get the quail, the people had to journey an entire day just to get there, and then after gathering the quail, had to journey an entire day back, with a sack full of quail. On top of that, they had to make more than one trip. Verse 32 says that, “The people spent all day and all night and all the next day” gathering the quail. (Numbers 11:32). So the manna was right there. The quail, a day away, and you’ll have to back at least twice. We’re also told that the man who gathered the least gathered 10. So that means that you were walking a day’s journey at a time with the weight of at least 10 quail on your back. You were working and journeying at night, in the dark. These quail now had to de-feathered, cleaned and gutted, and then cooked. And how did it taste? Did it taste like the cakes made with oil? No. “While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD struck the people with a very severe plague. Not one piece of that meat was enjoyed by anyone. After all that work, after all that labor, after all that weeping,.. they died. God will not be mocked.

Now, the question we need to ask here is, why is this here? Why are we reading this passage? Well, when we read passages like this, we might say these little things in our head such as, ‘How dare they’, and ‘What nerve’. We see God’s people acting in such ways, and we quickly evaluate ourselves by their actions. We want to distance ourselves from those kinds of actions and justify the way we behave. But I think that the next time you read this, you really should put yourself in the place of the people. Not Moses, you’re not Moses. Be one of the people. Consider how many times that you’ve be in a state of discontentment, when you should have been grateful. I’ll bet it’s happened more than a few times. More times than you’d care to admit. I can tell you that I just recently spent nearly 2 weeks in the hospital. I was being cared for, and I was being looked out for, and I was being provided for, and you know what I did? I complained. I wasn’t making a fuss or anything, but I told more than a few people about how bad the food was, with the powdered eggs and the instant coffee. I was being fed three square meals a day,.. something I don’t get outside of the hospital, and I complained. It’s so easy to lose sight of what’s important. We need to keep things in perspective.

But lastly, when trying to define what this passage is trying to tell us. I think we should let the scriptures themselves tell us. Psalm 78, written by Asaph, he tells us was written to remind us of this point in time, so that future generations would hear these things, and put their faith in God as opposed to themselves. It’s a fairly long Psalm, but I’d like to recount some of it for you.

Psalm 78:6-41

That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, That they may arise and tell them to their children, That they should put their confidence in God And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments, And not be like their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that did not prepare its heart And whose spirit was not faithful to God.

The sons of Ephraim were archers equipped with bows, Yet they turned back in the day of battle. 10 They did not keep the covenant of God And refused to walk in His law; 11 They forgot His deeds And His miracles that He had shown them. 12 He wrought wonders before their fathers In the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan. 13 He divided the sea and caused them to pass through, And He made the waters stand up like a heap. 14 Then He led them with the cloud by day And all the night with a light of fire. 15 He split the rocks in the wilderness And gave them abundant drink like the ocean depths. 16 He brought forth streams also from the rock And caused waters to run down like rivers.

17 Yet they still continued to sin against Him, To rebel against the Most High in the desert. 18 And in their heart they put God to the test By asking food according to their desire. 19 Then they spoke against God; They said, “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness? 20 “Behold, He struck the rock so that waters gushed out, And streams were overflowing; Can He give bread also? Will He provide meat for His people?”

21 Therefore the Lord heard and was full of wrath; And a fire was kindled against Jacob And anger also mounted against Israel, 22 Because they did not believe in God And did not trust in His salvation. 23 Yet He commanded the clouds above And opened the doors of heaven; 24 He rained down manna upon them to eat And gave them food from heaven. 25 Man did eat the bread of angels; He sent them food in abundance. 26 He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens And by His power He directed the south wind. 27 When He rained meat upon them like the dust, Even winged fowl like the sand of the seas, 28 Then He let them fall in the midst of their camp, Round about their dwellings. 29 So they ate and were well filled, And their desire He gave to them. 30 Before they had satisfied their desire, While their food was in their mouths, 31 The anger of God rose against them And killed some of their stoutest ones, And subdued the choice men of Israel. 32 In spite of all this they still sinned And did not believe in His wonderful works. 33 So He brought their days to an end in futility And their years in sudden terror.

34 When He killed them, then they sought Him, And returned and searched diligently for God; 35 And they remembered that God was their rock, And the Most High God their Redeemer. 36 But they deceived Him with their mouth And lied to Him with their tongue. 37 For their heart was not steadfast toward Him, Nor were they faithful in His covenant. 38 But He, being compassionate, forgave their iniquity and did not destroy them; And often He restrained His anger And did not arouse all His wrath. 39 Thus He remembered that they were but flesh, A wind that passes and does not return.

40 How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness And grieved Him in the desert! 41 Again and again they tempted God, And pained the Holy One of Israel.

When we read scripture, there’s typically two things that should always become very, very clear to us. The first is that God has revealed Himself to us as being holy and just and sovereign. The second is that we are not any of those things. Men are fallen, and stubborn, and cruel, and whinny. Once we know that, we can understand the gospel. God has given it to us as good news. A foreign concept to complainers. Thank God for His mercy towards us.



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