Can flavorless food be eaten without salt?
Or is there any taste in the white of an egg?
Now a wind went out from the LORD and drove quail in from the sea. It brought them down all around the camp to about three feet above the ground, as far as a day's walk in any direction. All that day and night and all the next day the people went out and gathered quail. No one gathered less than ten homers. Then they spread them out all around the camp. But while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger of the LORD burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague. Therefore the place was named Kibroth Hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had craved other food. Numbers 11:31-34
10 homers is estimated at approximately 60 bushels.
Kibroth Hattaavah means graves of craving.
This is a pretty sad commentary on the human condition. God led the Israelites out of the bondage of slavery. He showed power, deliverance, and holiness though the miracles he performed as witnessed by the entire nation. But once they passed through the Red Sea, they found plenty of time to complain. They complained about the lack of water, they complained about raiding bands of Amalekites, they complained against Moses. It went on and on. Every time they complained, God met their needs. He provided manna, gave them fresh water, and stood behind Moses as the leader of his people. God, ever faithful, was always there for them as he is for us. The manna was a gift from God. They did nothing to deserve it and it required no effort to gather it. It also cost them nothing....in the truest sense, it was a gift from heaven. It descended with the evening dew and all they had to do was go out each morning and pick it up. It was obviously sufficient to meet their nutritional needs and the bible says it could be prepared in different ways so that the people wouldn't get bored with it....and yet they did. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!" Numbers 11:6. When they complained about this wonderful blessing, God promised them quail - a 30-day supply of it! Moses was struck with awe and proclaimed the following:
"Here I am among six hundred thousand men on foot, and you say, 'I will give them meat to eat for a whole month!' Would they have enough if flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? Would they have enough if all the fish in the sea were caught for them?" Numbers 11:21, 22
He was naturally skeptical of such a promise. When he said there were six hundred thousand men, he was proclaiming no more than a third of the message. There were women and children too - entire families to feed. But our God is a God of miracles - Creator of all, wonderful and marvelous. He provided enough manna everyday for them and Moses had grown used to it. In reality, this would have taken many, many train cars of food each day for such a large called-out assembly. In his distress, Moses had forgotten God's awesome deeds - the mighty deliverance, pure water which gushed from the Rock, and the awesome sight on Mount Sinai. Moses had become so fed up with his many responsibilities that all this was pushed from his memory. This is a practical lesson for each and every one of us. God's abilities and splendor have been evident throughout our lives, and yet in times of frustration, we tend to forget his ability to get us through them. We really are pitiful! But God is ever-patient. Here was the response he gave to Moses:
...."Is the LORD's arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you." Numbers 11:23.
And sure enough, it came about just as he promised. The big question is this why did God provide them with the food as promised and then strike them with a plague when they ate it? Let's see the spiritual application:
In John 6, Jesus had just completed one of his 7 signs to the nation of Israel before they crucified him. He turned five small barley loaves and two small fish into a meal which fed five thousand men. After everyone had their fill, the leftovers were picked up. So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. John 6:13. Later that night, Jesus traveled to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, to Capernaum, without the crowds knowing it. The next day, the crowds went looking for him. When they found and queried him, he responded:
...."I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval." Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." So they asked him, "What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." "Sir," they said, "from now on give us this bread." Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:26-35.
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The manna in the desert was only a picture of the finished work of Christ. He is our Bread of Life. He is all we need to sustain us. The quail is a picture of false religion, lustful desires, idolatry - basically, putting our faith in anything except Christ and his work which provides our righteousness. Here in America, the boastfulness of saying "Look at what I've earned with my own two hands." has become a stumbling block for us. On our own, although we may feel differently, we are incapable of anything good, decent, or of lasting value. Everything we've accomplished or possess has resulted from the blessings of God. Our inability to clearly see this and acknowledge it is quail. Once we bite into it and turn to such idolatry and boastfulness we can fully expect God's righteous judgment. He provides us with the free will to make all such choices, just as he provided the Israelites with the quail. It became their prerogative to decide what course they would take. And so it is with us. I personally believe the natural disasters which are so widespread in America (and the world at large) and the terrorism which is becoming such a thorn is a result of this judgment. Future generations will read the stories of our own Kibroth Hataavah and remember how we craved the meat of boastfulness and idolatry. I wonder what it's going to take to get the people of this country to wake up and acknowledge the God on whose name this nation was established.
Here's an interesting occurrence in the Holy Bible. It concerns the cessation of the manna they received. It happened at the time of the first Passover Feast after entering the Promised Land. On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, while camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, the Israelites celebrated the Passover. The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain. The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate of the produce of Canaan. Joshua 5:10-12. The spiritual application of this can be seen as God's provision for his people as we travel through life. No matter how difficult the times seem, God is always providing for our basic needs. However, for those who call on the name of Jesus, there will be a time when this provision will no longer be needed. When Christ secretly returns for his people we will dine with him in the heavenly Promised Land:
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. At this point there will no longer be a need to walk with uncertainty - there will also no longer be the desire for quail. We will eat of the produce of the Promised Land the day we cross Jordan! Here is confirmation of this, provided in the words of our Lord, Jesus Christ: He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it. Revelation 2:17
What a wonderful promise! We'll receive God's provision - the "hidden" manna, which can only be obtained through total faith and commitment to Christ. An extra bonus on that day will be a white stone with a new name written on it. I can't say for sure what that stone is, but I would like to assume it's a diamond - a ring given to a member in the body of the Bride of Christ. Also, I've given a lot of thought to why we would be given a new name. The only conclusion I can make is that many of our names come from pagan origins - that wouldn't be appropriate in the hear-after! Further, a name in the Hebrew tradition reflected ones essential nature. Our present nature is that of sin, upon our glorification, this will no longer be the case. These are the reasons I believe we will need - and be given - a new name.
Ultimately, our purpose in life is to glorify our Creator. By relying on Him for our daily manna, we are acknowledging his provision for us in all ways. I'd like to end this sermon with three of the many thousands of governmental quotes concerning America and its Christian heritage. We were established with a purpose and a mission which we need to return to:
"It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible." George Washington.
"We have no government capable of dealing with an irreligiouspeople." John Adams
"Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of The Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian. This is a religious people. This is historically true. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation...we find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth...these, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation." Supreme Court ruling 1892, Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States.
Today, let us dine on the Bread of Life. Let us eat of the Manna which comes down from heaven and gives us eternal life. My heart's prayer for you is that you will accept Christ as your Savior. Why not start now?
A reader emailed me with his own story of desiring quail in his life rather than finding satisfaction in the Lord's provision. He gratefully acknowledged that instead of receiving a "grave of craving" he instead found life anew in the Precious Blood of Christ. He felt moved enough to write his thoughts in poetry. With his permission, here is what he was led to pen:
A new beginning with a broken foot
Alcoholic walking water
With a name as black as soot
Dysfunction to the bone
Kids with mirror minds
And a more than broken home
To Show me where I've been
God threw me off a scaffold
To let all this be seen
A product of confusion
A victim Of the fall?
Life's Molotov of mental nukes
The apple did it all
An Intravenous pantomime
Enrolment by surprise
An odyssey of twisted spears
The harlot was disguised
One Cuckoo in the cradle
another failed the womb
In the name of love and Heaven above
Should judgement be my doom?
The promised land will Hold my hand
I may have eaten quail.
Sure, Moses was a man of God
But Jesus tore the veil
The journey nearly over
A vision he's confirming
I thank you for your patience lord
and all my years of burning.
If you would like to contact me, I would love to hear from you.... NoQuailForMe@Wonderful1.com.
May you be greatly blessed as you let Jesus fill your heart with his Holy Spirit. Come and drink freely of the Water of Life!
I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
Quail photos: www.animalpicturesociety.com. Wheat photo: www.freestockphoto.com.