It strikes me just how childish the Israelites were in this passage.
The Israelites wept again and said, “Who will feed us meat? We remember the free fish we ate in Egypt, along with the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic. But now our appetite is gone; there’s nothing to look at but this manna!” (4-6)
“Free fish.” Yeah, I suppose if you consider working as slaves, and being beaten down physically and mentally every day no problem, the fish in Egypt was free.
Here God provides for their needs daily, and all they can do is cry like babies.
That’s certainly how Moses saw them as he started his own whining.
“Why have you brought such trouble on your servant? Why are you angry with me, and why do you burden me with all these people? Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth so you should tell me, ‘Carry them at your breast, as a nanny carries a baby,’ to the land that you swore to give their fathers? Where can I get meat to give all these people? For they are weeping to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ I can’t carry all these people by myself. They are too much for me. If you are going to treat me like this, please kill me right now if I have found favor with you, and don’t let me see my misery anymore.” (11-15)
And when God promises meat for a month for the Israelites, Moses, despite seeing manna drop out of the sky day by day, whines about the impossibility of it all. To which God replies,
Is the LORD’s arm weak? Now you will see whether or not what I have promised will happen to you. (23)
And he does exactly as he promised.
I wonder: How often do we members of the church act like spiritual babies, making our pastors and leaders act like baby sitters? How much of a burden do we put on them by our selfish attitudes?
And how often do we as pastors and leaders get frustrated because we are trying to carry the burden of leadership by ourselves. All we can see is the immaturity of our people, and we start acting childish ourselves by wasting our time complaining to God about them.
What does the church need? We don’t need people acting like spiritual babies. We need people filled with God’s Spirit.
We need Spirit-filled leaders who do not simply complain about the lack of maturity on the part of their people (spiritual babies though they may be), but leaders who pray that God would fill their people too. Leaders who train the people in their care to use the gifts God has given them.
And we need people who don’t burden the leadership through their constant complaints, but who through God’s Spirit support the leadership by doing their part in ministry.
The body of Christ is not, or at least should not be top heavy with the leaders doing all the work and all the rest just taking in food like a baby. Rather each person, filled with the Spirit, should be fulfilling the roles and tasks that God has given them. In that way, we will
all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into him who is the head—Christ. From him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part. (4:13-16)