Numbers 11:4,5,6 “The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, ‘If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!'”
We love it when God comes through for us. But as time goes by our eyes wander and we begin to want different things. Not only that, we like the Israelites are susceptible to the disbelieving and ungrateful attitudes of those around us. We like the Israelites are susceptible to the disbelieving and ungrateful attitudes of our own hearts! We become the rabble!
The Forerunner Commentary states; Whoever they were, the peoples of the mixed multitude were much more than just witnesses of God’s strength. Even the unbelieving Egyptians witnessed that! The mixed multitude partook of God’s grace, experienced it with the children of Israel. Whoever they were, these people were fellow-travellers with Israel for a time, experiencing with them the power of God as He pulled them ‘out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt'”
How quickly we forget God’s provisioning when we travel in mixed company. People who don’t really believe God’s word yet have a shallow fellowship with His body – the church, can often set the entire congregation ‘wailing’. It is then when the grass gets greener on the other side of the fence and past pleasures are so fondly remembered. Among recovering addicts this is called ‘euphoric recall’ and it is deadly. Jesus plainly told the devil that; “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)
In our daily Christian walk if we take God at His Word then our reality is of another kingdom than this world’s. Healing, miracles, provisioning and mercy would be an integral part of our lives. This was the reality of the early church; “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” (Acts 2:46,47) Unity of belief and the Joy of the Lord blessed the early church and God did the multiplying. What has happened?
Unbelief, partial belief and falling away has happened. Partial belief is worse than unbelief because it sneaks up on a person. It may not be intentional but its influence is insidious and corrodes the walk of faith. Unbelief is simply the culmination of partial belief. How easily and reasonably we can fall into it. We go so far in our journey then fall back remembering what we thought we were rather than what we really were. And then we begin speaking with the ‘rabble’ that John Wesley called ‘almost Christians’ urging our fellows into a desire for other food rather than the Word of God.
Scientism, new age superstition, post modern gospels, and secular humanism all become appealing because they don’t require faith just a deceived heart. Paul told Timothy about this; “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:3,4) How easily we can turn away from His Word and long for a different gospel – one that is less demanding, less commanding and more accommodating.
Watchman Nee writes; “Faith is always meeting a mountain, a mountain of evidence that seems to contradict God’s Word, . . . failures in deed, as well as in the realm of feeling and suggestion – and either the faith or the mountain has to go. They both cannot stand. But the trouble is that many a time the mountain stays and faith goes.” (The Normal Christian Life p. 38) Even after we have been healed and delivered our human nature ever inclines to its own sensuality rather than the Glory of the Gospel.
Watchman Nee continues; “If we resort to our senses to discover the truth, we shall find Satan’s lies are often enough true to our experience; but if we refuse to accept as binding anything that contradicts God’s Word and maintain an attitude of faith in Him alone, we shall find instead that Satan’s lies begin to dissolve and that our experience is progressively to tally with that Word.” (Ibid p. 38) Although we crave other food, we desire explanations tailored to what we want to believe – what we think we know. There is a way to resist. We can refuse our nature, and insist on God’s Word as our only sustenance.
The Israelites and those that walked with them were on the road to freedom. They lost their appetite for their travelling rations. They fell in the desert. We too are on the road to freedom. The devil is right there trying to trip us up using our own nature against us. Jesus tells us; ” . . ., If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Our manna is His Word. To give it up, to water it down, to add to it or subtract from it will rob us of our strength to make the journey. Let us not become a ‘mixed multitude’ they never made it into the promised land.
“For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.” (Isaiah 50:7)
Praise the Lord!