Thursday, February 21. Numbers 10-12

What did “manna” taste like? There are two references in the Bible to its taste. It tasted like wafers made with honey (Exodus 16:31) and like something made with olive oil (Numbers 11:8).

There are three issues in chapter 11.

First is the matter of Moses’ struggle to deal with all the complaints of the people. With several million of them under his care (600,000 men alone old enough to serve in the army), there had to be a lot of complaints. Moses needed help, and God gave it to him by placing His Spirit on the seventy Elders of Israel, dividing up the work load. Joshua saw this as a diluting of Moses’ power and authority, but Moses wisely saw the value of delegation. Leaders who, in an effort to preserve power, fail to share it, most often lose it – or die and leave good works in the hands of incapable people who never learned the value or the way of the effort at hand.

Second was the matter of the complaint of Israel. Had Israel gone to God and asked for meat rather than manna, there would have been no problem. But their complaining implied that they had it better in Egypt, and that they did not wish to be under the care of God. This is really what angered the Lord, and why He killed the complainers.

But third, and most important, is “why” the people complained. It wasn’t really that they had grown tired of manna. It was that they listened to the “rabble” with them, non Israelites who had come with them from Egypt (11:4), “tag-alongs” who had no allegiance to the God of Israel and whose dis-satisfaction infected the people of God. The world will always find fault with God, and Christians must be careful that their dis-satisfaction does not invade our lives and foolishly make us unhappy to be in His care.