“But now our appetite; there’s nothing to look at but this manna!” Numbers 11:6.
The Israelites of the Exodus generation had short memories. Not very long before this passage in Numbers, they had been freed from slavery Egypt, seen Moses part the Red Sea, and seen Pharaoh and his army swept under the waves. They’d seen God descend upon Mount Sinai when Moses was given the Law, and they’d seen God lead them day and night through the wilderness. But now, once again, they begin to complain.
They’re complaining because they’re hungry, which sounds understandable. They remember that in Egypt, though they were slaves, they had food. They had meat, fish, cucumbers, and everything else they could desire. In the wilderness, they did not. Food is scarce in the desert. Why, then, is it wrong that the Israelites complain about their hunger?
What’s wrong is this: for the entire time that they’d been wandering in the desert, God had provided food to the Israelites. He provided them with manna, this bread-like substance that appeared every morning, and tasted like “pastry cakes with the finest oil.” In other words, the Israelites were turning their noses up at the food God was giving them because they wanted something else.
In our spiritual lives, we often do the same thing. We demand a miracle or ask for some sign of God’s presence with us, and we ignore the innumerable small things that God does for us. We forget that God will meet our each and every need and we demand Him to perform large, grand acts to keep us satisfied. The sin of ingratitude is one that we must daily work to avoid.