"If Only We Had…"
Lord, give me eyes to see Your lavish goodness and a heart that is ever grateful.
Read Numbers 11:1-15
 Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.  When the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the LORD and the fire died down.  So that place was called Taberah, because fire from the LORD had burned among them.  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!”  The manna was like coriander seed and looked like resin.  The people went around gathering it, and then ground it in a hand mill or crushed it in a mortar. They cooked it in a pot or made it into loaves. And it tasted like something made with olive oil.  When the dew settled on the camp at night, the manna also came down.  Moses heard the people of every family wailing at the entrance to their tents. The LORD became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled.  He asked the LORD, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me?  Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors?  Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’  I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me.  If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me-if I have found favor in your eyes-and do not let me face my own ruin.” Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat was at the heart of the people's complaint?
The Israelites have been camped, celebrating the Lord’s presence. They have received laws. They have built the tabernacle. They have had the camp organized for worship and for transit. In chapter 10 they set off. What will be the first glorious incident along the way? The first thing to happen is complaint. Verses 1 to 3 are like a blueprint for the stories to come: the people complain; God responds in anger; Moses intercedes on their behalf; an uneasy truce is called. What follows is a longer version of the same story. They complain about their diet: “If only we had meat.” Moses is reduced to asking, “Where can I get meat for all these people?” (13). He seems to end up even preferring death over leadership (15). How has it all gone so wrong so soon? Numbers doesn’t focus on specific complaints, but it does emphasize how God’s people overlook God’s care for them, thinking they could do a better job of organizing their life than God can. To which God might say: “If only…”
When facing circumstances that are difficult or hard to understand, offer thanks to a good God who does good.
Jesus, thank You that You suffered without complaint. Thank You that You intercede for me when I do otherwise.