Numbers 11:4-6, “Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense cravings; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: ‘Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which 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!”
What many fail to understand concerning this particular time in human history is that Egypt was the most powerful nation on the face of the earth. Egypt’s slaves were not exclusively Jewish, but an amalgam, or a mixed multitude from all the nations they had conquered and overtaken.
When Pharaoh finally relented and released Israel from its captivity and bondage, there were some from other nations and peoples that saw their opportunity to flee the shackles of slavery. As the great exodus took place, there were some not of the people of Israel, who fled with them.
These selfsame individuals that the Bible classifies as them mixed multitudes that were among them, yielded to intense cravings, so much so that they conveniently forgot the shackles and the whips, the labors and the degradation, and only remembered the leeks, the onions the meat, and the cucumbers they had access to while under bondage.
As never having known the God of Israel, they did not understand the miracle that was taking place before their very eyes every morning, as God provided manna for their sustenance.
Rather than rebuking them and showing them how wondrous the manna that appeared for them before they awoke every morning truly was, the children of Israel also began to murmur, as they too gave in to their cravings. They became as nothing more than spoiled children, dissatisfied with what their Father gave them, rejecting their provision and lamenting their fate.
Today there are those within the house of God, that are not of God! Today, a mixed multitude has invaded what ought to be the fellowship of the brethren, and giving in to their intense cravings attempt to pervert the gospel, and minimize God’s providence toward His children. Such men are dissatisfied with God’s standard, such men are dissatisfied with God’s Word, and rather than being confronted and rebuked, those who ought to know better begin to act accordingly and murmur against God. Rather than seeing God in the beauty of His holiness, and acknowledging all the wondrous blessings He bestows upon His children every day, the mixed multitude has convinced God’s children that He is indeed a cruel taskmaster, and as though the kingdom of God were some great democracy, if enough believers disagree with Him, God will change His mind and bend the rules, lower the standard, and be more tolerant.
Call me old fashioned, call me a stickler for reason and common sense, but before one can call themselves a Christian, there are certain truths they must confess and adhere to. If you cannot unequivocally say that Jesus is Savior and Lord, if you cannot unequivocally say that He is the only way to the kingdom of God, the only truth that sets us free, and the only life that is eternal, then perhaps you shouldn’t call yourself a Christian.
It takes a spark to start a forest fire, and today this destructive fire is spreading throughout the houses of worship in America. Biblical relativism is spiritual death!
“We don’t like this manna, it’s too bland, there’s no kick. Remember the robust flavors of Egypt? Remember the melons, and the onions, and the garlic? If God really did love us, he’d make this supernatural provision taste better, maybe even throw in some meat. Remember the fish in Egypt? Those were the days!”
Remember also that you were slaves! Remember also that you were subject to the whims of those who kept you in shackles and made you labor until you passed out, and whipped you mercilessly to within an inch of your life!
Why is it that so many look back to their lives in the mire with such fondness? Why is it that they only remember a romanticized version of the bitter fruit that sin produced in their lives?
Today men are attempting to offer the ‘spiritual experience’ without all those pesky requirements like repentance and righteousness. As such they have erected idols, just as Israel erected the golden calf, and they have an experience. They dance around their idols, they bark, they cluck, they feel euphoric, but in the end it’s just a dead thing with no permanent or lasting effects. The only thing that an idol can offer is a passing feeling of elation and excitement that wanes and dissipates altogether with the passage of time. Even so, men still flock to idols, because idols permit them to manifest their lusts, desires and cravings, without being convicted of their wrongdoing.
One of the greatest fallacies being taught by the proponents of unrestrained liberty is that there are no consequences to rebellion, there are no consequences to sin, and there are no consequences to disobedience.
One thing we must keep in mind is that God had already established how He was going to provide for the children of Israel throughout their journey through the desert. When the dew fell on the camp in the night, the manna fell on it as well, and the manna was to be their provision. This will become an important aspect of this teaching shortly.
After Israel’s incessant complaining, sparked by the mixed multitudes that were among them, and after Moses’ complaints about the people before God, God tells Moses to inform the people that they would have meat to eat for a whole month, until it comes out of their nostrils, and becomes loathsome to them, because they have despised the Lord who is among them.
Now Israel should have had a clue that this wasn’t going to end well by the words which God spoke through Moses, but all they heard is that they were going to be eating meat for a month. Nothing registered after that initial declaration, not even the harsh rebuke by God that they had despised the Lord.
We could go into Moses doubting God’s ability to provide meat for six hundred thousand people, even after seeing all that God had done, but it would make this teaching far too long. In the end, after God opened Moses’ eyes by saying, ‘has the Lord’s arm been shortened? Now you shall see whether My word will before you or not”, Moses went out and did as instructed, declaring to the people that they would have meat to eat for an entire month.
Numbers 11:31-32, “Now a wind went out from the Lord, and it brought quail from the sea and left them fluttering near the camp about a day’s journey on this side and about a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp, and about two cubits above the surface of the ground. And the people stayed up all that day, all that night, and all the next day and gathered the quail (he who gathered least gathered ten homers); and they spread them out for themselves all around the camp.”
Just to get an idea how much quail there really was, they extended for about twenty miles in every direction from where the Israelites camped, and were about three feet high. It takes a man much wiser than I to extrapolate and crunch the numbers, but needless to say, that was allot of quail.
Although there is no specific unit of measurement concerning the homer, the most widely accepted definition is the amount a donkey could carry. So the person who gathered the least quail among the people gathered enough for ten donkeys to carry. Taking a conservative estimate of one hundred pounds per donkey, the least among the people gathered roughly one thousand pounds of quail.
It is painfully obvious that even a large family couldn’t devour one thousand pounds of quail within a thirty day period, but such is human nature, that when that which it craves is placed before it, common sense takes a holiday.
At this point some of you may be wondering what the point of all this is, and why I would go into such a lengthy discussion about quail. The short answer is because of what happened next, and the spiritual implications and lessons we must glean from this chapter in Israel’s history.
Numbers 11:33-34, “But while the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was aroused against the people, and the Lord struck the people with a very great plague. So he called the name of that place Kibroth Hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had yielded to craving.”
Translated from the Hebrew, Kibroth Hattaavah means the graves of lust, or the graves of the longing. Seeing as all those who yielded to craving were buried there, Moses picked an apt name. The first thing that struck me about this passage should be obvious to us all, and that is, not all of Israel yielded to their cravings. There were those among the people of Israel who were satisfied with the manna from heaven, who were satisfied with the sustenance their God provided, and so did not go about gathering quail. As such, there were those who survived, whom God did not strike with a plague.
The second thing that must be pointed out is that what the flesh desires, is contrary to the will of God, and if we give in to the desires and the cravings of the old nature, they will lead to our death.
Third, God will not force you into obedience. He has made it abundantly clear in His Word what is acceptable unto Him, and what is not, what is right in His sight and what is evil. He is faithful, and has therefore made provision for His children throughout their journey through the desert, and the wise among His children are satisfied with His provision, desiring no other.
Deuteronomy 30:19-20, “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”
If God has led you out of Egypt by the power of His might, look back on it with the disgust that it should rightly provoke in your heart. Do not glamorize your time of ignorance, but rather remember that you were a slave, born into slavery, and destined to die a slave if not for the grace and mercy of God. You were bought with a price, and you belong to another now.
Do not lend your ear to the mixed multitudes in the camp who insist that unrestrained liberty is an acceptable practice in the eyes of God, for you know full well that you cannot serve two masters. Heaven and earth stand as witnesses against mankind, and testify that truly God is good; truly He has set before us life and death; truly He continues to nourish those who follow after Him, and blesses those who do not murmur, but are thankful for all that He does in them, through them and for them.
You were dead in your trespasses and Jesus gave you life! You were imprisoned by your sin, and Jesus set you free! Wonder of wonders, the Son of God came in the flesh and hung on a cross for a wretched soul such as yours and mine! Be satisfied in Him!
1 Corinthians 10:12-13, “Therefore let him who things he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
No man can flirt with sin indefinitely and not be adversely affected. No man can trust in his own strength, and not be proven impotent.
If we run the race keeping our eyes firmly affixed on the finish line, we will not run the risk of tripping over our own feet, or running into an obstacle. Always look at the path that is before you! Do not look to the left or the right of you, do not look behind you, always look ahead, for Jesus is there lighting the way.
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man. Whatever it may be, know that others have gone through the same, if not worse, yet overcame.
“But brother you don’t know what I’ve been going through.”
What part of ‘common to man’ didn’t we understand? No man is unique when it comes to temptation, no man is tempted beyond what he is able to endure, and the Word tells us this. With every temptation, the way of escape has already been prepared, that we may be able to bear it. It is when we allow seeds of doubt concerning God’s standard, or His ability to make a way of escape, to worm their way into our hearts, that we become indifferent, or stop resisting the enemy altogether.
James 4:7, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.