A Craving for Fish Bring Death

From Numbers 11

In this chapter, God’s People, traveling through the wilderness en route to the Promised Land after having been delivered from bondage in Egypt, find themselves craving (lusting) for the fish they ate in Egypt.

They are complaining; they are sick of the “manna” God has been providing and express their sentiments to Moses to the point that Moses, the leader, can’t take it anymore and goes to God for some relief.

God provides help and explains to Moses that He will provide the meat for the Israelites to eat.

Moses then seems to have a momentary lack of faith as he begins to wonder how God will provide enough meat for 600,000 bodies to eat to the point that figuratively (we presume) it is coming out of their nostrils.

God asks this great question: “Moses, has my hand grown short?” Almost like maybe Moses knows something God doesn’t know. Almost reminiscent of the idea of: has my hand grown shorter since the last time I demonstrated my awesome, unbelievable, magnificent power?

And then the answer: I am going to do this. I am going to bring meat enough to feed all the Israelites so that you will know that my hand is all powerful, all capable, and sufficient to do as I please, when I please, for my glory.

So quail become the instruments of God’s glory as His hand sweeps them toward the Israelites in an overwhelming abundance that can’t be described as anything other than the “hand of the Lord.” Again and again God demonstrates His power for His Glory.

But the story isn’t over. After the Israelites get their fill of meat and more meat and they eat it until they are sick, God kills them.

Yep, that’s what the Bible says. He used the quail to demonstrate His power, and then He used the Israelites to eat what he brought from the sea, and then as judgment for their sin He killed them. His righteous indignation had enough.

What was their sin that deserved judgment? It was a craving (or a lusting). A craving? Yes, a craving for meat—but that can’t be it.

Certainly, that isn’t the real issue. Look closer into the chapter—study it a bit more and you see that what they were really craving was life back in Egypt.

They had forgotten the bondage and the days when they were begging God to deliver them from slavery. It taintedtheir sin-corrupted memories so that all that was remembered was the good.

With eyes toward the past, they were not interested in the future Promised Land from God and therefore were not fit for the Kingdom that God would establish first through the prophets and then through kings like David and Solomon and ultimately His Son.

I don’t believe God eternally separated those who died in the wilderness from His covenantal promise established with Abraham, but they forfeited rewards beyond belief through their failure to cut themselves off from Egypt and enter the Promised Land.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, we are in the world but we are NOT of the world. Come out from among them and be separate says the LORD.

As we live in the culture, we are to tenaciously guard against embracing the culture to the point of losing our distinct identity in Christ.

Don’t forfeit reward for a perceived better life of the past—move forward for our King and Savior and be thankful the power of the gospel has delivered you from the wrath of God.

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