Numbers 11:Now when the people complained in the hearing of the LORD about their misfortunes, the LORD heard it and his anger was kindled. Then the fire of the LORD burned against them, and consumed some outlying parts of the camp. 2 But the people cried out to Moses; and Moses prayed to the LORD, and the fire abated. 3 So that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the LORD burned against them. 4 The rabble among them had a strong craving; and the Israelites also wept again, and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; 6 but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”
After God freed the Israelites from slavery in Egypt they spent 40 years wandering in the desert before arriving to the land God had promised them. There’s no question it was hard traveling long distances on foot in the middle of a desert. Food and water were scarce. The heat was intolerable at times. Hot, hungry, tired people started to do what hot, hungry, tired people do – complain. They have selective memories related to their days in Egypt. They forget the oppressive hardships of slavery and recall the fish and other fresh foods they ate.
I’m drawn to the word in v.4 describing the”rabble”. These are complainers, sowers of discontent. Most communities have them. They focus on the faults/problems/challenges present and enjoy getting others stirred up as well. But the truth is I’m often the one complaining, at least complaining to God if not to other people.
I’ve been blessed in more ways than I can count, but it’s easy to get into a “glass half empty” mindset. I can tend to see the few things that are wrong rather than the many things that are right. The fundamental problem is a lack of gratitude or, as in the case of the rabble in our passage, selective memory. I’ll think back on the “good ol’ days” when things were better, but most things seem better in the rearview mirror don’t they?
So today I’m wondering where I’m missing my blessings because I’m focused on my problems. Where am I allowing a spirit of ingratitude to get the best of me? How can I intentionally focus on what’s right rather than what’s wrong?
Heavenly Father, remake me from the inside out. Give me grace to overflow with gratitude for your abundant mercies. Amen.