Against God and against Moses, the people said, “There is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.” The Book of Numbers
Those words are the likely source of an the old joke about the woman who complains in a restaurant to a friend. This food is awful, she says, and her friend answers, Worst thing I ever put in my mouth, and the portions are so small. In the Book of Numbers, the people tell Moses they have no food, or at least nothing they care to eat. In search of new life in a promised land, they are busy complaining. Their complaint is familiar to us, the sort of words any of us might say on a long roadtrip in a car full of candy and crackers and empty cans of Coke. Absent snakebite, the only cure for backseat whining is turning the radio up loud.
Apparently, you can have too much or not enough, and all of it can prove miserable.
The “miserable food” the Israelites are tired of eating — the food they no longer recognize as nourishment — is manna from heaven. They’re tired of the holy provision of God to be had in their very midst. In their impatience, they fail to see what’s there to feed them. It’s an old story. Chronic complaint spoils a life. As symptoms go, it tells you your soul is unhappy, tells you your life is crying out for change. Read more