THEY LUSTED AFTER FLESH
Leslie M. John
“But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes. And the manna was as coriander seed, and the colour thereof as the colour of bdellium. And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil. And when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it” (Numbers 11:6-9)
The children of Israel, and foreigners who accompanied them were disgusted of eating ‘manna’ even though it was heavenly food, and they lusted for meat as their food. God’s dealing with them would have been different if they prayed to Him and sought to have meat according to the will of God. Instead they preferred to complain against Him. They said to Moses and Aaron that they had food, namely, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic etc. when they were slaves in Egypt.
They were slaves in Egypt and Egyptians made their lives bitter by subjecting them to hard labor of all manner of service including making bricks without providing straw which was raw material needed to make bricks. (cf. Exo.1:14; 5:7). It is therefore, unbelievable that they had better food in Egypt than that of ‘manna’ which they had in wilderness. Contrary to what they claimed, and in fact, God heard their ardent cry, and redeemed from their bondage of slavery (cf. Exo.2:23; Exo.3:7-8; Exo.12:51)
God said to Moses to sanctify every one of them the next day to eat flesh inasmuch as they cried into the ears of the LORD saying “who shall give us flesh to eat?” Such cry went straight into the ears of God and it was very displeasing to the LORD.
Moses intervened this time not in a peace but with complaint against God for making him a leader over a rebellious people. Moses said to the children of Israel that the LORD will give them flesh and they will eat it.
In answer to Moses’s intervention God sent forth a wind that brought with it quails from the sea. Quails are migratory birds that appeared like pigeons. The powerful wind that God sent brought with it huge number of quails that filled the earth up to a height of three feet, and for about twenty miles in length, which is equivalent of one day’s journey. The people gathered quails in so much that the one who gathered least did gather a measure equivalent to 840 gallons.
God dealt with them over their lust for meat with much displeasure by sending so much of meat not for one day but for a whole month. Even as they were chewing flesh it came out from their teeth and nostrils not for a day or two or but for whole month. Even though they ate meat in abundance they did not gain health, but they became lean in their soul (cf. Number 11:31-32; Psalm 106:13-15).
“Ye shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days; But even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you: because that ye have despised the LORD which is among you, and have wept before him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt?” (Numbers 11:19-20)
“He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowls like as the sand of the sea: And he let it fall in the midst of their camp, round about their habitations. So they did eat, and were well filled: for he gave them their own desire; They were not estranged from their lust. But while their meat was yet in their mouths, The wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel” (Psalms 78:27-31)
They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel: But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul. (Psalms 106:13-15)
When we seek ungodly things from the Lord, He would leave us to have them which bring into our lives disaster; not happiness.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient (Romans 1:28).
God smote them with this great plague because they lusted after flesh provoking Him. The place was called “Kibroth hattaavah” which meant “Graves of craving” (cf. Numbers 11:33-35).