-The people look back at the nice things they were afforded in Egypt with nostalgia as the saga continues in the wilderness. They had somehow forgotten their slavery and mistreatment, which had lead them to cry out to God for deliverance in desperation (Exodus 2:23-24). They were stuck in the pit of complaint, and begged with weeping for something other than the blessed manna that the LORD had been providing day in and day out miraculously. The LORD demonstrated His anger with their immaturity initially by sending fire, which consumed some of the outside of the camp in the place thereafter called Taberah (burning). The Scriptures clearly say that this rabble of greedy folks with desire for luxury was the cause (Numbers 11:1-9).
-At that point God and Moses had a hash out session where we find that the LORD’s anger “was kindled greatly, and Moses was displeased.” Moses blamed God for being hard on His servant by not giving him favor and laying this heavy burden of leadership on him over the people. He further pointed out that it was not him that conceived all this people and brought them forth. Moses felt like a mother of a nursing infant that was helpless and lacked any ability to care for itself. He acknowledged that the LORD was fulfilling His promise, but he pined that he was not capable of providing for them in this situation. The conflict ended up with Moses beseeching the LORD to kill him if God was dealing with him in wretchedness (Numbers 11:10-15).
-Then, the LORD instructed Moses to gather seventy of the elders and officers of Israel to the tent of meeting in order for them to take their stand there with the prophet. God promised to come down and speak with Moses there and cast His Spirit (wind, breath) upon them all so that they could bear the burden of the people along with Moses so that he would no longer have to bear the burden alone. He was told to tell them to consecrate themselves, for tomorrow they would have meat to eat for they had wept in the ears of the LORD. God was providing, even in their complaint and immaturity, and He was attempting to teach them a lesson. He promised them a full month’s worth of meat to the point that they would be sick of it too. His reasoning in His omniscience? “Because you have rejected the LORD who is among you and have wept before Him, saying, ‘Why did we ever leave Egypt (Numbers 11:16-20)?’” Moses had a hard time fathoming this supply due to the sheer numbers of people and what it would take to feed them this amount of meat, even though he had witnessed God’s provision of manna up until that point. He offered to slaughter the flocks and the herd for this even though he knew realistically that would never complete the need for what God promised. He also reasoned away an attempt to get fish gathered up for this, but this too was insufficient. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Is the LORD’s power limited? Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not (Numbers 11:21-23).” Moses told all the people the word of the LORD and gathered the seventy men stationing them around the tent. “Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him; and He took of the Spirit who was upon him and placed Him upon the seventy elders. And when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do it again (Numbers 11:24-25).” Two men had remained in the camp rather than being at the tent of meeting as they were supposed to be. Their names were Eldad and Medad. The Spirit rested on them nonetheless and they prophesied where they were at in the camp. Here we see the omnipresence of Almighty God too. Joshua from the tribe of Ephraim (Numbers 13:8), who was the attendant of Moses from his youth, said, “Moses, my lord, restrain them.” Moses replied back wisely, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets, that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!” After this they returned to the camp (Numbers 11:26-30). An outpouring had occurred. God was giving prophesy to more than just the elite. He was spreading His power out to the leaders of the people. He was making a statement. This also pointed as a shadow to another dispensation when the Holy Spirit would be given to all believers in Jesus Christ (Acts 2).
-“Now there went forth a wind from the LORD and it brought quail from the sea, and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp and about two cubits (about 3 feet) deep on the surface of the ground.” The people scrambled to partake of the fresh meat, and they had plenty. The God-given birds were spread out all around the camp. But, while the meat was still between their teeth and chewed all the way up, the LORD’s anger was kindled against the people, and a very severe plague killed some of the Israelites. The place was thus named “Kibroth-hattaavah” meaning “the graves of greediness.” From that place they ventured out for Hazeroth and remained there (Numbers 11:31-35).
-*Application* God has provided all that we need and we should be ever thankful for His miraculous and supernatural gifts showered down upon us each and every day. We should never let ourselves get greedy or look back with nostalgia to a time or place that was not really as good as it may now seem. Go forward with God. Trust Him and seek His Spirit. He is readily available to all who seek Him (Matthew 7:7-8). Let us not grumble or complain, we know that God is never pleased with that.
Verse to Memorize: Numbers 11:23