Kibroth-hattaavah means “graves of gluttony.” It was given this name because of all of the people who were buried there that craved the meat that was served in Egypt. After God led His people out of the bondage of the Egyptians, the Israelites grumbled. They complained and said, “Oh, for some meat.” God’s provision was not enough. The people were rejecting the Lord. They even said that they “were better off in Egypt.”
As a result of their rejection of the Lord and His provisions, they received what was on their hearts. They received meat, more meat than they probably imagined. So much meat was provided that it was promised: “You will eat it for a whole month until you gag and are sick of it.” When the meat was delivered, they did not humble themselves, repent for their sin, and thank the Lord. Instead, they gorged themselves on the meat. The anger of the LORD “blazed against the people, and He struck them with a severe plague.”
The people were so fixated on the provisions and promises of God, rather than God Himself. It was more about what they could get, than Who they could be involved with in a relationship. Rather than accepting the God of the Universe, they wanted meat that provided temporary satisfaction. Today, consider what you want. Are you desiring something temporary, or something eternal? Are you focused on God or on the provisions of God? Are you trying to fill yourself up with God or with something else?
“But while they were gorging themselves on the meat–while it was still in their mouths–the anger of the LORD blazed against the people, and He struck them with a severe plague. – So that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah (which means ‘graves of gluttony’) because there they buried the people who had craved meat from Egypt.” – Numbers 11:33-34 [NLT]
Moses appointed seventy leaders and they were recognized as elders and leaders of Israel. These people were going to receive the Spirit of the Lord, and they would help to bear the burden. Later we read of Eldad and Medad prophesying. After it was witnessed, word was brought to Moses. Joshua even told Moses to “make them stop.” People seemed bothered by these others doing something Moses did.
When Moses was approached, I love his response. He said, “I wish that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them all.” Though the people were upset that others would share this gift, Moses had hoped all of God’s people had this gift. He understood that God could work in mighty ways through these people, that it wasn’t the Moses show, but rather, all about God.
What’s really awesome is that the wish of Moses is true! It became a reality when the Holy Spirit was poured out to all believers. Jesus asked the Father to give us the Advocate (see John 14:16). Today, anyone who invites Jesus Christ into their heart will receive the Spirit of God. There should never be a reason to be upset that another has received the Spirit. We, too, should have the same desire of Moses – that all would have His Spirit. Heaven rejoices at each soul saved. We should as well.
“But Moses replied, ‘Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit upon them all!’” – Numbers 11:29 [NLT]
We cannot do everything but too often we try to do everything anyway. We find ourselves helping out others and before we know it, we have a filled plate. We volunteer for the PTO, start coaching soccer, sign up for the church bake sale, teach Sunday School, and take on a second job. We sign up for overtime at work, agree to organize the family picnic, mow the neighbor’s lawn, and handle most of the chores in the house. We find ourselves swamped with stuff to do and our shoulders are not able to support everything. If there is too much – if the load is far too heavy—something will break.
In today’s passage, Moses was faced with the complaints of the people among other things. He was getting overwhelmed. He admitted to God that he couldn’t do it alone. That is one of the first things we each must do—admit that we cannot do everything alone. Then God shared with Moses His plan to assist so Moses would not have to carry the load alone. God was going to give the Spirit to a group of people to help Moses. All Moses did was tell God His problem—his need – and the need was met.
Moses was in a leadership position and we likewise have leadership positions, whether we are parents, teachers, bosses, or simply a person trying to do it all. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed because the load is far too heavy, simply take it to God and watch as He helps you carry the load. As well, do not try to take on too many things. When the Spirit of God was given to this group of men, there was delegation. You were not meant to do it all.
“I can’t carry all these people by myself! The load is far too heavy! … I will come down and talk to you there. I will take some of the Spirit that is upon you, and I will put the Spirit upon them also. They will bear the burden of the people along with you, so you will not have to carry it alone.” Numbers 11:14, 17 [NLT]
When the Israelites were in the wilderness, there came a time when they wanted some meat. The Bible says that the people who were with them traveling “began to crave the good things of Egypt” and they joined in with this desire. They were slaves in Egypt. They were treated harshly in Egypt. Yet they shifted their focus from what they now had to what they lacked.
When you focus on what you do not have, you will find that you act very differently than you would with your focus aligned on God and His blessings. These “good things of Egypt” included nice food, but it also came with poor treatment in slavery. It also included living in a sinful area surrounded by people who did not follow God. The Israelites focused on what they lost—the little good that they had in Egypt—instead of looking at what they now had thanks to God.
We do this as well. Next time you find yourself complaining—next time you are grumbling in the wilderness—shift your focus. Remember what you have thanks to God.
“Then the foreign rabble who were traveling with the Israelites began to crave the good things of Egypt. And the people of Israel also began to complain. “Oh, for some meat!” they exclaimed.” – Numbers 11:4 [NLT]