Read Numbers 11
Theirs was an unquenchable craving. One million people in the middle of a desert, and all they wanted was what they did not have.
Asaph called them “a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God” (Psalm 78:8). “They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved” (v. 18).
How quickly the children of Israel forgot the oppression they had escaped. So easily swayed by the here and now. God had provided everything these people could have possibly needed. Still, there were some who wanted more. They were tired of what God had chosen to provide.
More than discontentment. More than just a hankering for some good old-fashioned meat and potatoes, these people straight up rejected God’s hand in their lives.
Several different translations call it a craving. But the original Hebrew word means more than that. It means greed. God had provided all His people needed. But they got greedy and wanted more. They wanted more than what God had chosen to give.
It’s not just that they wanted what they did not have. The children of God did not want what they did have. It was a direct affront to Almighty God whose hand had carved the way out of Egypt and into this place that would take them into the good life. The Land of Promise.
Funny how their greed changed their memories of the time they spent as slaves back in Egypt. It made them see what they did not have now rather than what they did have. Funny because back in Egypt all they could see was the freedom they did not yet have.
The only gift these people were ever able to see was the one they did not have.
We humans are like that, aren’t we? When we fail to focus on the gifts God has actually given us, all we can see are the ones we don’t have. We get so enamored with our lack and our greed that we can’t see what’s right before us — the freedom to really live, an intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ, purpose and reason to get out of bed every day.
And isn’t that really the root of all grumbling? We fail to see God’s hand in what He’s granted because we’re too busy looking at what He hasn’t.