Murmur: to make a low or indistinct sound, especially continuously.
A story is told about a people, called the Israelites, who left Egypt in search of a new promised land. Led by a man named Moses, they wandered in the wilderness and God gave them food to eat which they called “… manna. It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey.” (Exodus 16:31)
But they weren’t happy with what God had given them. Their memory went back to the land where they came from and they complained and murmured.
“Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic.” Numbers 11:5
This wasn’t the first time they complained and it wouldn’t be the last and God was not pleased with them. After all, He promised to take care of them and He was — just not the way they thought He should be.
We all can relate to what’s happening here. When my boys were little I would make decisions for them which sometimes they didn’t like. So they complained and sometimes murmured. “What’s that you say?” I would ask them. “Nothing.” Murmuring didn’t usually get them what they wanted.
Because the Israelites didn’t think God was listening they took their complaints to Moses and Moses took their complaints to God as they continued to murmur.
Sometimes we give in to our children or other people and this is what God did. The people wanted flesh to eat — none of this bread-like food that appeared that they had to go out and gather. So, God gave them quail.
(I don’t know what quail, back in the day, looked like. The picture above is of a quail I took while visiting Seattle recently.)
“And there went forth a wind from the LORD and brought quails from the sea …” Numbers 11:31
“And the people stood up all that day and all that night and all the next day and they gathered the quails …” Numbers 11:32
They ate and ate and ate until death for some of them.
There are so many lessons we can glean from this story but today while reading this story my mind thought about one word: lusting. God was providing everything they needed and they were lusting for something else. Their complaint was “… there is nothing at all besides this manna before our eyes.” Numbers 11:6
Do I lust for what I don’t have? We normally think of the word lust in sexual terms but it has other meanings such as: desire, inclination or wish.
It’s so easy to look back on life and think that 20 years ago life was easier, more comfortable, less stressful. But that’s only because my memory has forgotten what reality was like back then. Were there melons, cucumbers, onions and garlic (speaking metaphorically) back in the day? Absolutely! But I have new experiences now.
I need to live in this moment — not yesterday, not desiring tomorrow. I may be dead tomorrow!
God knows what’s best for me. And when I crave something else in life I need to listen to Him and “eat” what He supplies.
After all, He’s the Creator so shouldn’t He know what’s best?
(To read the full chapter click here)