Rabble Rousing

“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

I’m a complainer.  There it is.  I said it.  And my friends and family members all just said, “Duh!”  I’d like to think I’m not alone though – so many of us are all too quick to complain, seeing the negative in things.  Of course, in those complaining moments we forget that just like the children of Israel, we are being led through life as the people of God, and that same God is as fond of complaining now as he was then.  He killed folks for complaining.  Alrighty then…

Well, what may seem extreme at first glance starts to make more sense when we think about it.  Aside from the fact that the Israelites wouldn’t have even been in that complaining situation if God hadn’t mercifully heard and responded to their cries, consider what they were whining about in this passage: manna.  So not only was God’s provision of freedom deemed unsatisfactory (remember that whole Red Sea thing?), his provision of sustenance in that new-found freedom was apparently inadequate as well!  Likewise, we have also been set free from our slavery to sin (see Romans 6.17) and God is providing everything we need pertaining to this new life, yet we complain.

But perhaps God’s wrath was so extreme because of whom the Israelites’ dissatisfaction was directed at.  That maligned manna was pointing to Christ, God the Son, the true bread of life (John 6.49-51).  So in reality then, complainers are complaining because Jesus alone isn’t good enough.  Think about it – whatever bad circumstance befalls us, we still have Jesus (Romans 8.31)!  God help me the next time my complaining mouth reveals a heart that is saying. “there is nothing at all but this Jesus to look at”…

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