June 25, 2019

Manna or Meat—What Will You Choose?

Numbers 11:16–35

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Elders Appointed to Aid Moses

16 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Gather for me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them, and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. 17 And I will come down and talk with you there. And I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone. 18 And say to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat, for you have wept in the hearing of the LORD, saying, “Who will give us meat to eat? For it was better for us in Egypt.” Therefore the LORD will give you meat, and you shall eat. 19 You shall not eat just one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, 20 but a whole month, until it comes out at your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have rejected the LORD who is among you and have wept before him, saying, “Why did we come out of Egypt?”’” 21 But Moses said, “The people among whom I am number six hundred thousand on foot, and you have said, ‘I will give them meat, that they may eat a whole month!’ 22 Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, and be enough for them? Or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, and be enough for them?” 23 And the LORD said to Moses, “Is the LORD's hand shortened? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not.”

24 So Moses went out and told the people the words of the LORD. And he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people and placed them around the tent. 25 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. And as soon as the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied. But they did not continue doing it.

26 Now two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the Spirit rested on them. They were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. 27 And a young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” 28 And Joshua the son of Nun, the assistant of Moses from his youth, said, “My lord Moses, stop them.” 29 But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD's people were prophets, that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!” 30 And Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.

Quail and a Plague

31 Then a wind from the LORD sprang up, and it brought quail from the sea and let them fall beside the camp, about a day's journey on this side and a day's journey on the other side, around the camp, and about two cubits1 above the ground. 32 And the people rose all that day and all night and all the next day, and gathered the quail. Those who gathered least gathered ten homers.2 And they spread them out for themselves all around the camp. 33 While the meat was yet between their teeth, before it was consumed, the anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD struck down the people with a very great plague. 34 Therefore the name of that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah,3 because there they buried the people who had the craving. 35 From Kibroth-hattaavah the people journeyed to Hazeroth, and they remained at Hazeroth.


[1] 11:31 A cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters
[2] 11:32 A homer was about 6 bushels or 220 liters
[3] 11:34 Kibroth-hattaavah means graves of craving

Manna or Meat—What Will You Choose?

Key Verse | Numbers 11:19-20

"You shall not eat just one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, but for a whole month, until it comes out at your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have rejected the LORD who is among you and have wept before him, saying, 'Why did we come out of Egypt?'"

Bio | Kari Harris

Hey, y'all, I'm Kari! I've attended Watermark for seven years and currently serve in Watermark's Equipped Disciple ministry, which strengthens Christ followers through discipleship centered on time with God and small group interaction. Please join us for all three Equipped Disciple courses! 

Fun facts about me: I grew up in a Chicago suburb and moved to Texas to attend college at TCU (Go Frogs!). I met my husband, Peyton, at Watermark's Launch 2015 retreat for young singles. In an amazing story of answered prayer and God's faithfulness, we married two years later. I love coffee, Pilates, and reading a good book!

Central Truth

Today, make it a point to trust God in your current season and circumstances with the provision He has given you (Psalm 73:25). God's way is always the best way.

Devotional | Numbers 11:16–35

Are you discontent with a season, a circumstance, or something that God has given you? Maybe it is singleness, an unpleasant job, or a trying family situation. It may not be something...

Are you discontent with a season, a circumstance, or something that God has given you? Maybe it is singleness, an unpleasant job, or a trying family situation. It may not be something "bad." Instead, it may merely be that your circumstances are different than you expected.

In today's passage, God responds to the Israelites' discontentment by reminding them of the provision He gave them—their deliverance from Egypt, including manna provided daily in the desert. Instead of being grateful for the manna, the Israelites wanted something different; something better in their eyes—meat.

In Numbers 11:18-20, God responds by warning Moses that He will give the Israelites abundant meat for 30 consecutive days, to the point that it will come out of their noses. (And you thought Numbers was boring!?) God says the Israelites will loathe and despise the very thing they wanted, because they rejected God and glorified their slavery in Egypt through discontentment.

At first glance, this can seem like a cruel punishment and brings me flashbacks of Matilda (chocolate cake scene, anyone?). However, this was not a cruel punishment, but a disciplinary one designed to teach the Israelites to trust that God's plan and gifts are best for them (Proverbs 3:11-12). God gave them what they wanted, but that very thing ended up causing them to get sick (Numbers 11:33). 

Isn't this true for us today? The sinful things we want end up being the very things that make us spiritually sick (1 Peter 2:11). God wants better things for us, but we are often too shortsighted to see them (Isaiah 55:8-9). Maybe it is not even sinful things that we desire. So often, we do not trust that what God has given us, "our manna," is better than our desires (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Today, make it a point to trust God in your current season and circumstances with the provision He has given you (Psalm 73:25). God's way is always the best way.

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Discussion Questions

1. What is an example of God giving you something that you wanted that was different than what you expected?

2. What is an example of God's plan being better than you expected?

3. What is your manna—what situation or circumstance are you discontent with?

4. What are some ways you remind yourself of God's faithfulness when in a season of discontentment? For example, I love to look back through my prayer journals and remind myself of answered prayers!

13 Comments available

Jay Caruso 11 months ago

Great devo Kari. My Hometown as well. Elmhurst ILL. The Bears!!! I need trust God in my current season and circumstances with the provision He has given me. God’s way is always the best way. What a great perspective for me to end this week so far

Bobby Crotty 12 months ago
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Finally, we have resisted calls to take down your comments because we do not view The Journey platform as either ours or a place only for “comfortable” comments. It is the Lord’s platform to call people to build a daily habit of reading and interacting with His Word. Yet, we still call our readers to interact with each other in the comments with kindness and gentleness. And we encourage all of our readers to follow Ephesians 4:15 in speaking the truth to each other in love.

If you wish to talk further, email me at bcrotty@watermark.org.

Bobby Crotty Watermark Journey team

Bobby Crotty 12 months ago
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1 Peter 3:15 counsels us: “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” I hope you will reread your posts to see if you can see why a number of Journey readers think your responses lacked gentleness, especially with respect to a sister in Christ whom you have never met.

Frederick Faber famously noted in a different context that “[k]indness has converted more sinners than zeal, eloquence, or learning.” Learning how to temper your zeal with kindness will be a huge asset to you as a pastor.

Bobby Crotty 12 months ago
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@Jonas Scott

Jonas, thanks for your reply. We are glad to know we have Journey readers in Illinois! Sorry that we will not have a chance to visit face-to-face, but we welcome you to join us for worship at Watermark if you are ever in Dallas for a weekend.

I posted your comment that I am responding to, but will not be posting any other comments on this topic. I hope that you will follow though on your desire to serve God as a pastor one day. The Church needs more pastors who love Jesus and will teach the truth of Scripture even when our culture finds it intolerant. But our dedication to His truth must be presented in a kind and winsome way that draws our culture to engage with this truth.

Jonas Scott 12 months ago

@Mr Crotty yesterday.

I do not attend Watermark or a campus. If I lived in Dallas I would probably attend a sister church, First Baptist, in order to sit under the teaching of Dr Jeffress. I live in Effingham (closest large city) Illinois, currently I homeschool and my goal is to attend seminary and pastor a large church someday.

I found Watermark researching the “Equality Act” H.R.5. I came across ‘An Open Letter from Evangelical and Christian Leaders on HR5 The Equality Act’. I had not heard of one of the signers, Todd Wagner, pastor of Watermark church, hence, Join the Journey.

Mr Crotty I’m not sure if you understand the power of your platform and how it can be used concerning the state of our culture. Please do not settle for comfortable comments only allowed.

Michael Scaman 12 months ago

I think the spirit and wind are similar words. I think I see eye to eye with Sue Bowlin on this. (BTW I also moved from Illinois long ago and also went to Champaign Urbana )

Interesting that first God causes the 70 elders to prophesy, the spirit somehow coming on them. Even 2 of the people were prophesying in the camp in the presence of witnesses apparently so everyone could see and hear for themselves what was happening to the other 68 elders.

Then after that God sends wind bringing a months worth of birds to eat and way more than anyone will eventually want.

The one two punch was a big statement showing God moving and responding

Michael Scaman 12 months ago

Seems even in this ‘time of abundance’ where people gathered food for about 36 hours nonstop, there was some lack of thankfulness, a lack of sorrow over not trusting God and bad generally response since some of the people who craved wrongly died as they bit into the birds.

greg jones 12 months ago

Love this devotional.

God, how can this be right? In any circumstance that can be the start of a beautiful prayer.

God, how can this be right? In any circumstance that can be a bad statement to justify a solution.

God show me the difference between the punctuation of my sentences and the punctuation of my heart. Give us a spirit that forms our questions of others through your eyes. Lead us away from a spirit that defines you from our questions of others. Thank you for showing me far I can desire to live from that place. Help me move.

Don Freeman 12 months ago


Sue Bohlin 12 months ago

Hi Kari! Another Chicago suburban (Highland Park) girl here. God was gracious to allow me to escape the winters by coming in Dallas in 1975. I’m still giving thanks for that!

I learned that Jewish writers commenting on this chapter suggested that when the Lord bestowed the Spirit on the 70 elders, it was like Moses was the always-burning lamp on the lampstand in the tabernacle from which the other lamps would be lit without losing any of its light. That’s one image of the Spirit in this chapter. Then, as Hugh pointed out, Spirit = ruach in Hebrew which means breath or wind, and the Lord sent a wind to bring the quail to discipline His people.

I love the images of Spirit as light and wind because both are ways God moves in a way that invites us, rather than forcing us, to respond to Him.

Hope Harris 12 months ago

Great Devo today Kari! Love the closing two paragraphs. As I shared yesterday some of transitions happening in my life right now caused me to not trust God or wait patiently. This led to ingratitude and complaining on my part.

I am thankful for a CG sister who stepped in and helped me work through what was really happening. It basically boiled down to lack of trust in the Lord and needing to let go of a couple things that were beyond my control to change or deal with.

Lots of deep breathing and reminding myself Gods got this no matter what. I know and serve a Good father who I can put my trust in.

Hugh Stephenson 12 months ago

(Part 2)

I see this paradigm in the discipleship ministries. The Holy Spirit, the breath of God, fills up our leaders. Those that repent and want a new life join us in pursuit of intimacy with Jesus. The remainder are granted their wishes. Nonetheless, we pray that all will come to repentance, (2 Peter 3:9).

Hugh Stephenson 12 months ago

(Part 1)

GM Kari. Super devo.

Love this, “…they rejected God and glorified their slavery in Egypt through discontentment.” There is a lot packed into that one phrase. I really love naming the place “Graves of Craving”. That’s the place where my sin lives.

Over and over I read these passages and silently criticize the ungrateful Israelites. The Holy Spirit quickly convicts me.

Wiersbe edifies -

“When God really wants to judge people, He lets them have their own way (Romans 1:24, 26, 28). “So he gave them what they asked for, but he sent a plague along with it” (Psalm. 106:15 NLT).

Spirit in this passage is rûaḥ; (wind; by resemblance breath, (Strongs)). This is the same word used in Genesis 1:2.

Constable notes that leaders empowered by the Holy Spirit is God’s design in the New Covenant.

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