7 May 2016

Numbers 11:4-15

"When the dew fell on the camp in the night, the manna fell with it." (v. 9)

Psalm: Psalm 87


Today we join the Israelites as they continue their journey through the wilderness to the Promised Land. They have left their life of slavery and harsh treatment at the hands of the Egyptians with the promise of a land flowing with milk and honey ahead of them. But that land is still a long way off. Three things stand out about the Israelites and their relationship with God:

  • The first thing is their selective memory. The Israelites have forgotten about their harsh treatment, their pains, their weeping and their desire to leave Egypt. They have also forgotten about their god, who delivered them from the hands of their oppressors. We see them longing for that which they had. But did they really have it all? Now that they have run out of food, they start to complain about their situation: "We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic". The Israelites have a very selected memory! Did they really eat this well as slaves in Egypt? Did they really eat 'freely'?
  • The second thing that stands out is their self-centredness. Their concern was about themselves rather than their relationship with, and dependence on, God. They have lost their reliance on God to provide; that sense that if God calls us then God will provide all that we need. This passage reminds us that God's concern is for our whole being. There is no separation between 'spiritual' wellbeing and 'physical' wellbeing. God's response is to provide physical food.
  • We also see a leader, Moses, who struggles with the burden of leadership. How can he provide what they are asking for? Where will he find meat for them? But with Moses, we see a leader who, in his struggle, goes straight to God. Moses is right. He is not able to carry these people alone. The burden is too heavy for him, but it is not his task alone. It is God's, and as we were reminded above - if God calls, God provides.

A lesson Moses had to learn, as well as the Israelites.

To Ponder

  • How selective is your memory? How do you remember God's goodness to you - especially when life is difficult?
  • In what ways do you separate your spiritual wellbeing from your physical wellbeing? How are the two related for you?
  • How is God teaching you to rely totally on God's provision?


Bible notes author

The Revd Sylvester Deigh

Sylvester is a Methodist minister in the Purley Circuit and is the circuit mission enabler. He has particular interests in mission and evangelism, the Wesleyan Holiness movement and tradition, and fresh ways of being Church..