THEY BURIED THE PEOPLE THAT HAD A CRAVING…3500 years ago, during May 2-5 on our 2021 Gregorian calendar, God sent a plague upon a nation who claimed to worship Him but were never satisfied with His direction and provision. God's Word records many of them complained to death, literally. “Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving...They buried the people who had the craving.” Numbers 11:4,34.
The Hebrew phrase “strong craving” is translated “lusted a lust”. Of course, we Christians will protest that we don’t lust. But that isn't true, and we all know it. Even if we don’t get mired knee-deep in sexual desires, we salivate over a mouth-watering steak or make the statement that a favored object is “to die for”. Nowadays, we also lust for our lost lives and freedoms, and want them back, without considering that it may cost us more than we think.
Without realizing it, restoring our former lifestyle and worship can quickly become our main focus, and effectively, our idols. We need to proceed cautiously. We need God's Word to remind us that the Israelites' craving could have seemed as innocent and justified, too. But in the end many of God’s chosen people were severely chastised to the point of death and buried in unmarked graves in the Wilderness. They never made it to the Promised Land.
The Almighty has appointed this specific scripture for our review during the next few days. In fact, everything that has ever happened and will happen is designated on His calendar for the world He created. According to His appointment, May 2 on our 2021 Gregorian calendar is the 20th day of the second month on God's calendar. It marked the beginning of the Israelites journey to Paran, where many died because of their cravings and complaints about what they had to give up to follow God's direction.
“On the twentieth day of the second month of the second year, the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle of the covenant law. Then the Israelites set out from the Desert of Sinai and traveled from place to place until the cloud came to rest in the Desert of Paran..." Numbers 10:11-13
The Hebrew word “Numbers” actually means “in the Wilderness”. Even as God led them by the movement of His mighty presence in the Cloud of Glory, His people grumbled and doubted Him. Just one year earlier, God had provided manna and water to sustain and nourish their physical lives. https://www.facebook.com/fontanacommunitychurch/posts/3924275867652573
Not long after, He set up the Tabernacle of Testimony, the very picture of the death of His Own Son as sacrifice for their sins, to meet their spiritual needs. But their hunger for the ways of the world was seldom satiated by God’s provision.
Remember that the Israelites set out on the 20th day of the second month, May 2 on our 2021 calendar. They traveled 3 days following the Ark of the Covenant and the Cloud of the Lord, probably arriving in Paran on the 22nd or 23rd day of the second month on God’s calendar, May 4 or 5 on ours.
It wasn’t long before God’s chosen people started murmuring and complaining, even though He had delivered them from bondage to a corrupt government, just as they had asked. "Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when He heard them, His anger was aroused. Then fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp." Numbers 11:1.
The murmuring didn’t stop. Read these excerpts from the rest of the chapter: "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.' "
"Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its appearance like that of bdellium. The people went about and gathered it and ground it in handmills or beat it in mortars and boiled it in pots and made cakes of it. And the taste of it was like the taste of cakes baked with oil. When the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell with it."
"Moses heard the people weeping throughout their clans, everyone at the door of his tent. And the anger of the Lord blazed hotly, and Moses was displeased. Moses said to the Lord...'Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me and say, “Give us meat, that we may eat…”
"…Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘…say to the people, “Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat...You shall not eat just one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, but a whole month, until it comes out at your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have rejected the Lord who is among you and have wept before him, saying, ‘Why did we come out of Egypt?’ ”
"But Moses said, ‘The people among whom I am number six hundred thousand on foot, and you have said, “I will give them meat, that they may eat a whole month!” Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, and be enough for them? Or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, and be enough for them?’ ”
“And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Is the Lord's hand shortened? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not.’ ”
"...Then a wind from the Lord sprang up, and it brought quail from the sea and let them fall beside the camp, about a day's journey on this side and a day's journey on the other side, around the camp, and about two cubits above the ground. And the people rose all that day and all night and all the next day, and gathered the quail…While the meat was yet between their teeth, before it was consumed, the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord struck down the people with a very great plague. Therefore the name of that place was called Kibroth-Hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had the craving."
Be careful what you ask for, and what you think you absolutely must have. God may give it to you by the bucketloads to the point where you will literally gag to death from what you prayed for.
If we have joined the majority of "God's chosen" still fixated on what WE want, instead of what GOD wants for us, even in simple basics like food and lifestyle, we are part of what His Word identifies as “the rabble”. The Hebrew transliteration used here is “asaphsuph" and it is the only place it is used in the entire Bible. It's a a word specifically used to identify the unfaithful “rift-raft” whose cravings for the things of this world spread like wildfire through the congregation of God’s chosen people.
Cravings come in all shapes and sizes, but they always reflect our deceitful hearts. Nowadays, it seems our inner craving is to pursue the freedoms that we deem are rightfully due us as citizens of this country. Many are justifying this by asserting that our worship of the Almighty is hampered and lacking because these perceived freedoms have been taken away. If that is true, perhaps it’s time we see our buildings, programs, and worship grandeur as idols that God is revealing right now through the power of His Word.
Indeed, we Christians today stand squarely in an idolatry issue, just as God's chosen people of Israel did. They had prayed for God’s deliverance but were fearful and unwilling to have their lifestyle and destiny rearranged by God’s direction, just as we are. Perhaps during this time during our own COVID19 pandemic, God is using this memorial on His calendar to warn us that we need to bury our cravings before they bury us, just like they did many Israelites.
The harsh reality is we all deserve the same penalty the rabble of Israel received. But The Almighty has always had a plan in place. He loved us so much He sent His Only Begotten Son "..so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
So now, we won’t end up like the Israelites in the wilderness of Kibroth-Hattaavah, which literally means "Graves of Craving".
Or will we? The choice is ours.
“Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving...They buried the people who had the craving”