Thursday, September 30, 2010

Other Meat

"The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, "If only we had meat to eat!"  Numbers 11:4

I got to this verse yesterday in my Bible reading, and it made me pause.  It made me reflect on it and read it again a few times. At this point in the Bible, the Israelites are wandering.  God has been miraculously feeding them through His supply of manna.  But look at what happens here. My Bible uses these words "the rabble with them began to crave other food."  It doesn't say specifically that the Israelites, God's chosen children began to crave other food.  It says the rabble began to crave other food.  The troublemakers, the lowest class of people among them became discontent with the manna.  So those people started complaining.  The Israelites are such followers though (remember that golden calf?) that they hear the noise this rabble is making and decide that the rabble is indeed correct.  Who wants to eat manna day in and day out?  The thought of eating meat sounds really good after they think on it some more, so they start complaining as well.

Well, as the story goes, God gives them their meat, but it has a price.

"But while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger of the LORD burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague. 34 Therefore the place was named Kibroth Hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had craved other food."  Numbers 11:33-34

There are two lessons here that really stick out for me.  The first one is that we need to watch out and be mindful of these people known as the rabble.  There will always be rabble- people who want to stir up trouble by planting thoughts and suggestions where there were none before. 

The second lesson comes right at the end of verse 34 there, the buried the people who had craved other food.  Ah, there is the problem.  These people decided that God's provision simply wasn't enough for them.  There is a real lesson there for us, because the world wants us, who have faith in God alone, to want to crave other food.  The world wants us to believe that God isn't enough for us.  But look at what I found nestled deep in the Psalms.

"I am the LORD your God,
       who brought you up out of Egypt.
       Open wide your mouth and I will fill it."  Psalm 81:10

"for he satisfies the thirsty
       and fills the hungry with good things." Psalm 107:9

And then there's this verse from Philippians:

"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:19

God satisfies, and that's one of the biggest things we can learn from the Israelite people.  Time and time again, God showed them His glory, and not long afterwards, it's like they completely forgot about what He did for them.  He parted the sea so they could cross, and then they started complaining about not having food.  Then after a while they start complaining that they don't have meat.  Later on they complain about not having water- twice, actually.  Yet every time they start grumbling, God comes through for them...and yet they still continue to complain and grumble when the mood strikes them.  It's unbelievable sometimes!  But look, look what the Psalms say,

"For he satisfies the hungry and fills the hungry with good things."  

You know those feelings you have in the bottom of your stomach that there has to be more to life?  That's what it is looking for.  It's looking for more of God to fill that void.  That's it.  Just God.  Just Jesus and all His abounding love.  The world will tell us that it is a space that desires to be filled by the latest self-help book, or the newest program designed to change the way you think.  That's all "other food", and we should stay away from it.  God satisfies our every need- and He satisfies that hunger we have that seems it cannot be satisfied no matter how hard we work, how much money we make, and how much we give or do.   God simply wants permission from us to fill that void.  He wants us to surrender to Him, put down the self-help and smile at Him and say that Okay, God, let's do this.  Fill me, satisfy me, and keep me from turning aside again.

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
      for they will be filled."  Matthew 5:6

Blessed are the hungry.  Jesus said that Himself, and I believe Him.  Let us  not be like the Israelites, so easily swayed by the rabble around us.  Let us stand firm and say that God is more than enough.  He is our supply and is all that we need.  Each and every day.  God is enough. 

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