We remember all sorts of things. We
remember birthdays, anniversaries, and other
celebratory dates (at least many of us do). We
remember past events, sports triumphs and
failures, life triumphs and failures. We remember
kind words. We remember harsh treatment. We
remember significant news stories, natural
catastrophes, human-caused catastrophes. We
remember times of peace. We remember times of
war. We remember births and graduations (!). We
remember a wide assortment of life transitions.
We remember health crises and healing. We
remember deaths. We remember loved ones. We
remember random encounters, for good or for ill.
We remember passing from one season of life to
the next, also for good or for ill. We remember all
sorts of things.
Naturally, some of our remembrances are
happy, and some not so happy. Most of us
understand that this is not a recent phenomenon.
Numbers 11 is a fine example of this. In verse
one, “the people complained in the hearing of the
LORD about their misfortunes.” They tended to
remember all the bad stuff. If you keep reading,
you will note that God did not take too kindly in
this case to their criticism of his presence, so he
used a little holy fire to remind them of his power
and authority. The people responded by begging
Moses to intervene. Moses did, of course. That
was Moses’s schtick. But the people, now spared,
continued to complain. All they seemed to be able
to remember was the lack of meat in their diet.
God had provided for them plenty to eat; God had
provided sustenance. But in that moment, God’s
provision was not to their liking. The “rabble”
wanted more than simply veggies (“rabble” is the
ESV translation—which the Hebrew lexicon
further describes as “a bunch of vagabonds.” For
some reason I love that description.).

They wanted animal flesh. They were
remembering Egypt, and the fish they ate there.
Contrarily, “the cucumbers, the melons, the
leeks, the onions, and the garlic” (sounds great
to me!), were insufficient. They wanted a steak.
They wanted to be fat and happy.
Life often does not give steak. In fact, it
usually offers “only” cucumbers, melons, leeks,
onions, and garlic. But we are blessed to take
what God gives us. This is because God and
God alone knows what is best for us. In God’s
care we have exactly what we need. When we
remember God’s goodness, kindness,
faithfulness, and steadfastness in our lives, and
when we remember how far he has brought us
(literally from death to life!), we can do nothing
but praise and worship him as the one who
perfectly provides. When we acknowledge the
sustaining and saving power of the true God, we
can do nothing else but honor him.
We remember all sorts of things. May we
always remember what this great God does for
us. May we continually remember his ceaseless
love and care for us.

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