In Numbers 11, the Israelites start to complain again.

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.

Numbers 11:1 (NIV)

If that incident weren’t enough, the complaining continues.

The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat!” (emphasis added)

Numbers 11:4 (NIV)

The “rabble” were those who weren’t Israelites. This group would have been people where only one parent was an Israelite, and the other was not like the son of the Israelite woman in Leviticus 24:10 who blasphemed against the Lord and was stoned to death. Likely, there also were people who had no blood ties to Israel but had been slaves with them in Egypt, and when the Israelites left, they left with them (cf. Exodus 12:38). Although the Israelites were prone to complaining, they didn’t start it this time. Still, they were encouraged to complain by those traveling with them. I’m reminded of something Paul wrote to the Corinthians.

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV)

Again, the Israelites seemed to complain a lot, but I don’t think we’re any better. One thing we can learn here is that we should be mindful of who we hang around and what we listen to since there’s a lot we could be complaining about. Just listen or read the news. 

This situation in Numbers 11 is familiar. You might remember that, in Exodus 16, the Israelites complained about a lack of food.

The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”

Exodus 16:3 (NIV)

Yet, the outcome of these complaints in Exodus and Number is very different. In Exodus, the Lord sent manna each day, and for the first evening, the people ate quail. However, Numbers 11:33 has a decidedly different ending.

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.

Numbers 11:33 (NIV)

One might wonder why the Lord blessed the Israelites in Exodus with food but served them a severe plague as a side dish to their meat in Numbers. The difference between the two incidents is revealed by this verse.

“But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”

Numbers 11:6 (NIV)

In Exodus 16, the people were starving. The food they brought out of Egypt was likely gone or on the way to being completely gone, and it looked like they would die. While I don’t see the Lord blessing the Israelites because they complained in Exodus, I see him providing for them as his children. Much like how we feed a baby when it cries and wants food. Furthermore, the Israelites weren’t well acquainted with God in Exodus 16. However, in Numbers 11, they’ve had ample time to learn that the Lord will provide for them. In contrast to Exodus, the Israelites are complaining about the blessing in Numbers 11. They are tired of eating manna, and it doesn’t matter how miraculous it is so they complain.

My pastor used to say, “However you bless me, Lord, I’ll be satisfied.” Such an attitude of thanksgiving is one we must cultivate. If you’re reading this, God blessed you today by waking you up and giving you everything you need to get onto the Internet and read this. Those are blessings of life, time, technology, money, education, etc. You might not realize it, but those are blessings. 

However, we quickly forget and take the “simplest” of blessings for granted. At least, I know I am guilty of taking my blessings for granted. Even if you are not. 

Therefore, because the Israelites and the rabble with them complained about the manna, God struck them with a plague. 

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.