Today in the Old Testament we start to read about some of the problems that come with life wandering in the desert. It’s been just over one year since the Exodus and the Jewish people are starting the journey the Promised Land. God has made his presence known to the Jewish people. The things they will need for worship – the Ark of the Covenant, the altar, the tabernacle, the tent, the vestments, and the priesthood all have been established. God had provided for them, sending them Manna from heaven. These people are free and all their basic needs are provided for yet they grow unhappy and long for “the good old days” of slavery in Egypt.
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.”
Send me back into slavery, if only I could have leeks and onions!
There is an important lesson in this episode. We are strongly influenced by our most basic desires. Often we can forget about what is important because of some craving for food or sleep or whatever. This is the person who has a bowl of ice cream when they are trying to lose weight, or who buys new shoes when they are supposed to saving for something, or who sleeps in instead of going to Church. God forgives us these failings – the Jews eventually make it to the promised land – but the road will be longer and harder.