Tonight I was working through the homework for the Bible study that I’m going through with my church, and I landed in Numbers 11:1-15. What a lesson. I met up with the Israelites after they’ve escaped horrendous slavery in Egypt; God’s been leading them in a meandering path through the wilderness, but he’s been providing food and guidance. The people start complaining; God’s been dropping manna to provide a steady flow of food, but all they can say is “now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna” (vs. 6). They even start to weep, begging for meat. They must have put up one heck of a hissyfit because Moses actually goes to God and says, “I alone am not able to carry all this people, because it is too burdensome for me. So if You are going to deal thus with me, please kill me at once” (vs 14-15).
Side note: This was a serious matter, but really, stop to picture this scene. It’s ridiculous. I actually laughed when I read verse 15. Can you just picture Moses slumping down on the nearest rock and crying out for death? I laugh but realize that I am a kindred spirit. I am a curious creature when I reach the end of my rope, capable of all sorts of theatrics.
What I realized most was that the Israelites were making themselves miserable because they refused to acknowledge the blessings of God literally raining down on them every day. I did a quick google search to see if I could find out anything more about manna, but alas, I was too worn out to find credible sources tonight. I did find a tongue in cheek video about the whole experience. I can see why the Israelites would get upset; they had to eat manna for 40 years. I had to eat lasagna for about 8 days one month, and it was enough to turn me off to lasagna for a good long while.
But, when it comes right down to it, the manna could be ground up or boiled, so it was versatile. It tasted a little like honey, so God gave them some flavor. God made sure there was plenty to go around, and whatever was left of it would even melt away in the noonday sun, so the people didn’t even have to clean up the mess. Plus, I’d have to imagine that this was the ideal meal for nomadic people; they weren’t going to stay put long enough to grow and harvest crops, and just picking up food each morning is definitely a good bit easier than hauling it around. I’ve been on overnight camping trips before, and when I think about the weight of the bag I had to carry, I sure wouldn’t be motivated to sign up to lug my daily portion of food around in the wilderness.
The bottom line was the people had good, steady blessing, but they got bored. And, I got convicted. I’ve got plenty of good steady blessings in my life, but I’ve also gotten into the habit of staying up late fretting about what I don’t have and what I don’t know. I let dissatisfaction be an emotion that overlaps pretty much all other emotions, and I’ve RSVPed way too many times to invites for pity parties. The blessings that I should see have been transformed into burdens. What should be full of wonder seems to have gotten old, and what I should be thankful for I rail against. It’s not an attitude that’s easily changed overnight, but remembering that ordinary means a steady shower of blessing is something I need to remember. The days might look the same, but no day should be perceived as a stale leftover of the day before.