God fed the children of Israel with a miracle food called manna. For 40 long years they traveled the extremities of the barren Saudi Desert where food does not grow. God supplied them with this sweet wafer of heavenly food until they came to the crossing of the Jordan River.
John 6:31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
In Psalm 78 God calls it “corn of heaven”, and also “angel’s food”. In John 6 God called it “bread from heaven”. Jesus said He is the “bread from heaven”.
Some of Israel wept in the ears of the Lord about their nourishment. They complained, becoming disgusted with God’s heavenly manna and revolted against Moses. So God caused a wind to blow from the sea and a massive quantity of quail covered the entire perimeter of the place where they dwelt. Everyone had opportunity to eat, but not all did. God made those that murmured to eat the quail.
Numbers 11:20 and it be loathsome unto you: because that ye have despised the Lord which is among you, and have wept before him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt?
They questioned why they ever left Egypt and murmured before God. They despised the Lord who was among them. They perceived only what their appetite understood.
The only sea that was close to Israel in the desert was the very one they crossed over, the Red Sea. When they ate the quail from the sea, was this their way of crossing back to Egypt where they came from in God’s eyes?
Israel now had the food they wanted but they had to eat it till it came out of their noses! While the food was still between their teeth, the wrath of God fell upon the consumed quail and a large multitude were left behind and buried in a huge grave.
The place where this incident happened was called Kibroth-hattaavah, meaning “graves of the longing”. This is a place that people enter into when they murmur against heavenly food. The people who ate the quail were now buried in a grave of longings. They could not go forward nor could they eat anymore manna. They were left behind in a grave of longings and longings and longings.
These longings are now within people who long for things to be better in their own lives, but can never get there. It is a grave that is filled with deathly longings. They long for different nourishment. They long to go back to a different place. They long for victory they have not had in years or perhaps never had. God called it a lust. They lusted in the wilderness. Some in this grave will long for the Holy Spirit but have murmured against the food that is needed to get them there.
It will affect the generation after them as well. When the parents are in the graves of longings, the children are like the anesthetized. They have also no sense of the presence of God. There is a despising that raises up when heavenly manna is present. The heart longs for God, but not manna God’s way. It is very noteworthy to understand that not all did eat the quail, only the ones that complained about God’s daily provision.
There is a time when God says: “Then have it your way.” He gave them their own desire but it was death as flesh in their mouth. The continual complaining that Israel had for Moses was not actually against Moses, but against God. It appeared like complaining against Moses, but God’s interpretation was quite different. God called it unbelief and it was directly against Himself. This simply suggests that Israel was not seeing where God was trying to lead them.
God gave spiritual food to Israel called manna and it was designed to sustain them up to the Jordan crossing before they reached The Land of Promise. The sin that Israel committed which kept them from entering the promises of God is defined in two ways:
1. Murmurings in the ears of man.
2. Unbelief in the ears of God. It was all one and the same and God called it unbelief.
I will give one more example from the New Testament of God’s understanding versus man’s.
When we read the account of the centurion describing his positional perception of how the kingdom works, Jesus said, “I have not found so great a faith, no not in Israel”. The word that Jesus used to describe this understanding was a word that most religious people have no revelation of. This word from the centurion was the understanding of kingdom authority.
Jesus called this “great faith”! Jesus did not call it authority, He called it faith!