More Than a Noseful

Bill Brinkworth

The people of Israel had just been taught a terrible lesson about their complaining (Numbers 11). God was angered and sent a fire to consume many because of their squawking. Many perished until Moses’ prayers stopped God’s wrath, that had killed many.

Did they learn from this lesson? No! It was not long after, that again they grumbled about what they used to have. Some non-Jews may have started the complaining about what they used to eat. Soon all were lusting for the good old days when they had eaten differently; when they had eaten cucumbers, melons, onions, and garlic. “Now,” they bemoaned, “all we have to eat is this manna!”

Manna was the food of angels that God daily rained down on the earth to feed over a million of the Jewish travelers, as they were led by God through the wilderness. It meant nothing to them that just enough appeared in the morning for everyone. They had to trust God every day for His “daily bread”. If they tried to save some for the next day (in case God forgot about them and failed to remember to feed them, perhaps) it would stink and be covered with worms. On Friday, however, they could save two days worth of the food; so they would not have to work on the Sabbath. It was evident that this daily food was a miracle from God; yet they still muttered against it and were not content.

Their fussing twisted their memories to remember only the good from which God delivered them. They forgot about their bondage, lack of religious freedom, pain, suffering, and death they had suffered for many years before God freed them from Egypt. Even Moses may have been caught up in the discontentment that spread through the camp like a plague. No one was happy. They were not content with what God had done for them, and God was angered.

Again, their gracious Heavenly Father had to teach them a lesson. After their cries and complaints, he gave them different food for which they had lusted. In from the seas, (which is one place a hunter knows never to look for “chicken- dinners”) flew in enough quail to last them a month. Then all the flying-meals dropped dead; so the complainers could pick their fill of meat suppers. God said they would have enough for a whole month; “… until it came out at your nostrils…” So they ate and ate, and then God killed them. While the flesh was still between their teeth, the Lord smote them with a very great plague. Their dissatisfaction, complaining, and lust killed them. They did not get away with their sin, and their obtaining what they had wanted did not quench their discontentment, nor change the fact that they had sinned.

Today, the sin of uncontentment with what God has allowed us to have still looms over many lives. Although it may not directly result in death as it did to those that lusted at Kibroth-hattaavah (“Graves of the Longing”), it still does much damage.

Folks that are never satisfied with what God has given them or allowed them to experience are never fulfilled. They are always wanting more. They never find peace or happiness. Many times they go from job to job, spouse to spouse, or friend to friend. They spend their whole life trying to fill the emptiness that their lust has created, and they are never fulfilled.

Often, they become so busy searching for something “more”, that they miss their purpose in life. Instead of using the gifts and abilities God has blessed them with, they waste their time looking for something else, or trying to obtain what God has given to others.

As God was angry with the uncontentment of those of Israel; so too, He can be angry with those of today for the same sin. Be grateful for what God has given you, and be happy with who you are. God has created each of us differently to accomplish the different tasks that He wants accomplished during our lifetime. Do not complain. It may anger God, and you may get exactly what you requested. You may get so much that you get sick of it. You may get more than a nose full!

 “Fault-finding is easy. No talent, no self-denial, no brains, nor is character required to grumble and criticize.”


This article ws featured in The Bible View #195.

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