“4 Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. 6 But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”
Numbers 11 begins with the words, “And the people complained…” About what were they complaining? Well, they didn’t like how God was miraculously providing a food for them that no other person had tasted and none have tasted since. They didn’t like it, because it was all they had to eat all of the time. They wanted to eat meat, which I understand. They wanted different fruits, vegetables, and spices, because they had had their fill of manna and coriander. They longed for better days, like when they were in Egypt. Food was free there, apparently, and there was great variety. But in their ungratefulness, they forgot that nothing was free in Egypt, and nothing was better. They forgot about oppression, slavery, beatings, and even some being killed. Because they missed something as insignificant as this food or that food, they forgot the hell in which they lived and from which had been supernaturally set free by a God that loved them. It’s striking to read and consider, and it seems they were so dumb for missing God’s obvious goodness.
I’ve missed Egypt before, though. I haven’t missed the country, because I’ve never been there, but I’ve missed times, places, and people from which God has delivered me. I guess I forget exactly what I’m supposed to be grateful for sometimes, and I miss other times. I see other speaking in the same way. Maybe you miss having that boyfriend or girlfriend who was not good for you and overall made you miserable. God set you free, but you long to go back. Maybe you miss a job that made better money, but you never saw your family or church. God set you free, but you long to go back. You miss your buddies, but with them you only ever acted foolishly and sinfully. God set you free, but you long to go back. Some just flat out miss their sins, which were destroying them and pulling them further and further from God. God set you free, but you long to go back. We’ve all been set free from something if we are in Christ, but some cannot be content with their freedom.
Do not long for Egypt. We romanticize the good old days. They’re probably not as good as you remembered. What may seem free and pleasant now was torturous and terrible for you back then and would be again today. Live in the freedom God has given. Live where you are now. Stop looking backwards and plow forward for God, for you family, for your church, and for yourself.