It’s the little things.
The people of Israel watched God answer their prayers in mighty ways. They witnessed Egypt’s routing and Pharaoh’s humiliation. They left captivity with wealth and entered the wilderness under the protection of the Almighty. They then stood and beheld their God descend upon the mountain to meet them in smoke and thunder. God demonstrated his power and glory in many ways before the eyes of his people, teaching them to trust him and inviting them to know him.
In spite of all this, Israel rejected the LORD (Numbers 11:20). After all the people witnessed, they doubted God’s goodness and complained about their situation after he delivered them from slavery. And what was the reason for their complaint?
Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”
The people’s dissatisfaction stemmed not from a theological concern but from a matter of preference. Although God was meeting their needs by providing manna from heaven, they weren’t content. They missed the broader menu of their time in slavery. In the wilderness, they longed for the comforts they possessed in Egypt, prizing a variety of food options over the promised land ahead of them.
I think many of us can relate. My bad attitudes don’t often stem from questions regarding the longer ending of Mark or from contemplation of the nature of the Trinity; my bad attitudes usually stem from impatience with people or from frustrated plans or from exhaustion or stress. Often, theology isn’t even a contributing factor. Discomfort narrows my perspective to the details, eclipsing the wider context of theology that can situate my experience. In short, I forget who God is (and who I am) when I focus solely on my comfort (or lack thereof).
What comfort do you seek today? What discomfort rules your heart and mind this week? What is your complaint in this season? Learn from Israel’s mistake and place your trust in the LORD. He is good, he is faithful, and he is worthy of our trust regardless of whether we have little or much, need or abundance. Look to Christ in the midst of your situation, and find your contentment in him (Philippians 4:11-13).