Remember that Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The Israelites are descendants of Shem. Ham became the father of Canaan and his descendants were called the “Canaanites.” The Canaanites are composed of the following groups: Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites. Abraham is a descendant of Shem, but so also is Lot, Abraham’s Nephew. Lot has two sons: Moab and Ammon. Abraham’s son, Isaac, is the father of Esau, whose other name is Edom. His descendants are known as the Edomites.
I’ve bolded these names because we meet all these people here in Numbers as the enemies of Israel. It doesn’t take too much thought to figure out why they are Israel’s enemies. They are all relatives, but Israel is God’s chosen people. Jealousy is a powerful and insidious thing.
In these chapters, Israel’s distant relatives take up arms against her despite the fact that Israel has not threatened any of them in any way. All her enemies are defeated. You would think that Israel would be jumping for joy at their success, confident in the God who had given them victory. But no, just as after their defeat of Pharaoh, they grumbled. Not that they had no food this time, but simply that they didn’t like the food they had!
Discontent is a debilitating disease. It blinds robs your memory of God’s past care, blinds you to present blessings, and keeps you from seeking help. You spend your days unhappy, and without hope. Think how grand life could have been for Israel had she not been afflicted with this horrible disease! Remember that the next time you find yourself slogging through a winter of discontent.