20190622 Parsha Beha’alotcha – Grumbling is for the Birds
Israel was still wandering through the wilderness of Sin. They had been delivered from the taskmasters in Egypt, freed from the bondage of slavery and now they were nearing their destination of a Promised Land. But, the problems of a sinful heart and nature remain with us no matter where we go. We may be able to free ourselves from the bondages of man and mind, but we cannot free the spirit until Yeshua pays the price for us and we accept Him.
Those who are a part of the Body of Messiah have been delivered from the bondage of sin. We have been set free to serve the Lord and to travel through this life as a pilgrim and a stranger while we are looking for the same city that Abraham sought after whose builder and maker is God.
Numbers 11:4-6 The grumblers among them began to have cravings, so Bnei-Yisrael began to wail repeatedly, saying, “If we could just eat some meat! (5) We remember the fish that we used to eat in Egypt, for free—the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic! (6) But now we have no appetite. We never see anything but this manna.”
It doesn’t take very long until Satan begins to bring to our remembrance the “good times” of our life of sin. He has the ability to make the things of this world look so brilliant and so desirable. At the same time, God brings us through the trials to test and build our faith in Him. The combination of seeing the world through rosy glasses and having the Devil jump on your shoulder with accusations against you as a result of your testing is often persuasive enough to cause a Believer to murmur and complain.
“We had more fun when we were sinners. We had more good times with our worldly friends that in the family of God.” We remember the fun times, but we forget the bad times. The only way to overcome these thoughts of going back is to fill our heart and mind with the things of God. If we dwell on them long enough, Satan will surely convince us to return to Egypt and the bondage of sin once again.
This is a constant battle inside the heart of most people and their spiritual walk is like a roller coaster ride that is up and down, in and out, upside down and right side up. The big problem is that we never know which way they are going to be when we meet them. We may come together and hear them praising God and portraying the life of a sold-out, born-again, washed in the Blood, Believer who is on their way to Heaven, or we may see them down in the mouth, disheartened, distressed and discouraged. I know that we all have times when we aren’t on the mountaintop, but I find that too many Believers live in the depths of the valley because they are constantly murmuring about their lot in life and living as though God had forgotten them.
The Israelites were like that. They were never thankful for very long. It only took them a few days of hardship to forget that God had performed great miracles of deliverance and provision for them in their wilderness journey. They were sick of the bread from Heaven and wanted more. They were sick of the manna, sick of the journey and they wanted to go “bird hunting” to get some meat to eat.
How many of you like a good steak from time to time? Is there anyone here who is a vegetarian? Most of us like a good steak once in a while! So it was with Israel! They had eaten nothing but manna for a long while and were tired of it and wanted some variety in their diet.
I dare say that this same desire for something different, for a change of pace, for a variety and for the spice of life, is the same desire that causes so many people to fall into sin. It is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life that says that I will have what I want whatever the cost!
We human beings become so easily bored with life, especially in the fast-paced world that we live in! If there isn’t a “new” thing in our lives on a regular basis we will get bored and start searching for something new and better. People are constantly changing homes, changing spouses, changing friends, changing churches, changing everything. Why, because they are bored and want something different.
There is nothing wrong with the house, after all there isn’t one of us who lives in a house that is the envy of 95% of the world’s people whether it’s an apartment, a mobile home, a condo or a single-family home. Most of the world would be so grateful for what we Americans have. But we get tired of the same 4 walls and want to get 4 new walls. Often this leads to financial disaster and we finally come to the realization that it isn’t the home that needs changing, it’s the heart of the owner.
I see couples all the time who fell in love and were married, only to come to believe that they are incompatible. I want you to know that God hates divorce and He expects you to work out your incompatibility problems. Most of the time, the problems in our marriages are not problems of incompatibility. They are problems of noncommittal hearts and forgotten marriage vows that say we will stay together through every trial and test until death do us part. It’s not your spouse’s job to make you happy. It’s your job. If you put your life and trust in Yeshua then hold on for the ride because He knows how to make life great. That being said, I don’t believe that a woman needs to stay with a man who is a physical danger to her and her children.
There’s nothing wrong the congregation most of the time. The problem lies in our relationship to the kehilah and to Yeshua. I know that Messianic synagogues have personalities based upon the people that attend but you get out what you put into it. If you get bored with Tree of Life Congregation, just come sit and tell me that and I’ll see to it that you never get “bored” again. You will praying for a day of rest, for there is always much to be done.
The problem with the body of Messiah is the same as with Israel in the wilderness – we have too much free time on our hands! Israel didn’t have to work for their food, they just walked around and picked up the manna. They didn’t have to plow, plant, water and work the ground. God just dropped the blessing into their camp and all they had to do was bend over and pick it up as they needed it on a daily basis.
I know that most American’s, including those Messianic congregations and churches, dream of the day when they will be able to walk away from work, go home and sit and enjoy not having to work anymore. I can take you to people right now who wish they could go back to work. They have discovered that without work, without something to do and something to accomplish, life loses its zest. That’s why the national statistics say that 90% of retirees are able to enjoy their retirement for only about 18 months before their health fails and life comes to a standstill or to an end.
God promised us that because of the fall, we would have earn our bread by the sweat of the brow. That means that no job, no business, no manner of earning your living will be perfect! There are problems everywhere, and if there are no problems now, there will be when you arrive tomorrow because you have problems that you carry around with you everywhere you go.
We are like Israel; we don’t want to take what God gives and be thankful. Our attitude reminds me of the cartoon I once saw that depicted two old vultures sitting on a dead limb out in the middle of the hot, burning desert. There isn’t a living thing for many miles around except the two vultures. One looks at the other and says, “the heck with waiting on something to die, let’s go kill something.”
That’s the attitude that Israel had and that’s the attitude that we get too. God, I’m tired of eating what you give, let me go “bird hunting” and get some flesh to eat!
Numbers 11:18-20 “Now to the people say: Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because you will eat meat, for you wailed in Adonai’s ears saying, ‘If only we could eat meat! It was better for us in Egypt!’ Now Adonai will give you meat and you will eat! (19) You will eat—not for one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, (20) but for an entire month—until it is coming out of your nostrils and it becomes loathsome to you! For you rejected Adonai who is among you, and you wailed to His face saying, ‘Why did we ever leave Egypt?”
God wants you to feel good. He wants you to be blessed. But, He will not tolerate grumbling and complaining about the blessings that He gives.
He supplies our need and we complain about what He gives. He gives us air to breathe and we complain because it’s too hot or too cold. He gives us food to eat and we complain because it doesn’t match our taste buds. He gives us His only Son as our Savior and we complain because we don’t like the way of salvation that Yeshua has provided! It is no wonder that God gets enough of our complaints and decides to give us just what we want – only more than what we want.
God told Israel and still is saying the same thing to us today. So you want birds, right?
Well, I’ll give you your wish and you will have so much of what you want that you will be sick of it very quickly.
You want free time and complain because God’s work keeps you busy? God might just let you lose your ministry or lose your job and allow you to sit with nothing to do for a long time.
You don’t like your food that He provides, then He may just allow you to walk in the dry and thirsty land for a while until you are glad for what He gives.
Israel could only remember the great salads, “leeks & vegetables” of Egypt. They could only remember the nearly limitless supply of fish from the lakes and rivers of Egypt. They could only remember that they could eat of these things freely, without money, without growing them, but they forgot that they were slaves to Egypt and paid a terrible price in the mud pits. Satan blinded them, and us, to the real price of the things of this world that we desire.
Numbers 11:31-33 Now a wind went out from Adonai and drove quails from the sea. He brought them into the camp to about a day’s journey in any direction, about two cubits above the ground all around the camp. (32) The people went out all that night and all the following day and collected quail. No one gathered less than ten omers. They spread them out all around the camp. (33) Yet while the meat was between their teeth, before it was swallowed, Adonai’s anger burned against the people. So Adonai struck the people with a severe plague.
God performed his promise to the people, in giving them flesh. How much more quickly do we run to collect the meat that perishes, than we labor for meat which endures to everlasting life!
We are quick sighted in the affairs of time; but stupidity blinds us as to the concerns of eternity. To pursue worldly advantages, we need no arguments; but when we are to secure the true riches, then we are all forgetful. God often grants the desires of sinners in wrath, while he denies the desires of his own people in love.
How long does it take meat to spoil in the hot burning sun of the desert? Since we live in Texas, we know that no food can be left in the hot sun more than just a few minutes because it spoils so very quickly.
The Israelites were greedy. They didn’t just pick up enough quails to eat for one day, they tried to stock up for many days. They picked up huge quantities of dead quails and laid the meat out in the sun to cure. What they didn’t realize is that bread, left in the hot sun, doesn’t spoil like meat.
The manna, the bread from Heaven, could stand the test of time and the heat of the day and still be sufficient for their needs. The meat of this world begins to spoil as quickly as it is obtained.
It seems that the quails had died before they could be gathered and lay in the sun too long and before the people could even eat them, they were getting a plague, perhaps food poisoning, and dying all over the camp.
They got what they wanted but they didn’t want what they got! They went “bird hunting” but God’s anger against them was kindled and brought judgment through the very thing that they desired.
We had best be very careful of what we ask for and what we seek after. I hope and pray that I never desire anything that God doesn’t desire for me to have. Those things that we obtain that are not in God’s will can be very destructive to our walk with the Lord!
We might seek a new job only to find that it keeps us from the House of God!
We might seek some of the pleasures of this life, only to discover that they are empty and unfulfilling!
We might desire the easy life, only to find that the easy life isn’t worth living.
We might desire the wealth of this world, only to find that the wealth controls us!
We might seek popularity or fame only to find that our privacy has been lost!
I believe that the best thing we can do is be thankful and grateful for the Bread of Life that God gives and stay close to Yeshua. Let Him be your provision. Let Him give you what He wants you to have. Allow Yeshua to use you in His kingdom.
If we get too caught up in the desires of this life, God just may have to do a little “bird hunting” to wake us up and get us back on the right track.
Yeshua is the Bread of Life and we should be satisfied with Him! The provision that He gives for us is sufficient and our needs are always met according to necessity and the will of God for our lives! Let’s learn to be thankful in all things!