October 17, 2016
Numbers 11:4-6; Psalm 106:13-15
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
It had been 13 months and three days since the Israelites had departed from Egypt (see Exodus 12:2, 6, 37; Numbers 10:11, 12;10:33). In that time they had seen many miracles:
• Exodus 13:21; 14:19 and 20; Numbers 9:15 and 16 – The guiding, illuminating, and protecting pillar of cloud and fire!
• Exodus 14:21 through 28 – The Israelites’ crossing of the Red Sea and the drowning of the Egyptian army!
• Exodus 15:22 through 26 – The healing of the bitter water at Marah!
• Exodus 16:13 through 15 – The provision of quails and manna!
• Exodus 17:7 – Water brought forth from the stricken rock!
• Exodus 17:8 through 13 – The defeat of the Amalekites!
• Exodus 19:16 through 31:8 – The miracles surrounding the giving of the Ten Commandments!
• Exodus 34:29 – The glowing face of Moses from being in God’s presence!
• Exodus 40:34 through 38 – The glory of God manifested at the tabernacle’s dedication!
• Leviticus 9:22 through 10:2 – The fire of the LORD devouring offerings and the two rebellious priests!
But they soon forgot all the miraculous events, and fell to complaining and lusting!
It was at Kibroth Hattaavah (Numbers 11:34) – the name meaning “graves of lust” (Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Definitions) – that the Israelites started complaining about manna, the God-given bread from heaven! Here is the record from Numbers 11:4-6:
Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense
craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said, “Who will
give us meat to eat? We remember the fish, we ate freely in Egypt, the
cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now
our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna
before our eyes.”
Centuries later, an unknown psalmist wrote a commentary on the incident in Psalm 106:13 through 15:
They soon forgot His works; they did not wait for His counsel, but lusted
exceedingly in the wilderness, and tested God in the desert. And He gave
them their request, but sent leanness into their soul.
Notice some things that happened at Kibroth Hattaavah:
• It was the mixed multitude that started it! I did a study on the mixed multitude in From Egypt to Canaan – IX (Sept. 14, 2016). This mixed multitude was made up of other nationalities – most likely Egyptians – who, when they saw how the Israelites were delivered from the effects of the ten plagues, decided to cast their lot in with the favored people, even if they did not have faith in Israel’s God! Much like those who today in our churches call themselves Christians but have not been born again (see John 3:3, 5), they can be the cause of much grumbling and dissension!
In our modern times, churches, as well as individual believers need to be careful concerning whom they allow to influence them! As Paul wrote in I Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits.”
• But – and we experience this also in our churches today – whoever might start the complaining, a number of true believers are likely to join in! This is what happened at Kibroth Hattaavah! The Israelites, influenced by the mixed multitude, jumped into the rebellion!
• Solomon warns us in Ecclesiastes 7:10: “Do not say, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For you do not inquire wisely concerning this.” Human beings seem to have this tendency – they remember the good things of the past, but not the bad as readily!
The children of Israel thought about the abundance and variety of food available in Egypt, but they were forgetting the harsh slavery! (See Exodus 1:14). Also, one wonders how much food was available to such an oppressed people!
• Finally, we can get so accustomed to God’s blessings we begin to take them for granted! That’s what the Israelites were doing in our featured Scripture. And don’t we forget how blessed we are in America and in other civilized nations? The poorest of us in America are extremely wealthy compared to much of those living in the third world! And our liberties are seen as abundant in oppressive societies!
We need to keep in mind what David wrote in Psalm 23:5 (King James Version): “…my cup runneth over.” And we need to praise and thank Him for all His provision! (See Psalm 34:8-10; 116:12).
So heed Psalm 103:1 through 5, and do it regularly:
Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives
all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from
destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, who
satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like