Noses turned up at manna made God burning mad. But, Moses prayed and the fire went out. Like Moses, true leaders pray for their people. Remember Daniel in chapter nine of his book? He repented on behalf of his people and asked God to deliver them because of his mercy, not because of any goodness on their part. We even have a record of Jesus praying for us here in the 21st Century in John 17. He was praying for the disciples and then shifted to those who would believe because of their efforts—that’s us. What did he pray for? Unity. At one point, he even said the world would believe in him because of our love for each other.
But, back to that manna. I cannot imagine complaining about food sent from Heaven, can you. It just about had to be the perfect food, with all the ingredients to nourish people in a top notch fashion. But they were tired of it. The word “manna” is the equivalent of the Hebrew “what’s this stuff?” (I heard that on television from a Catholic priest). In the Book of Numbers we read that the travelling horde of Hebrews following Moses to the promised land got to thinking back about those good fish they used to eat. They were so readily available in the Nile and the stock ponds. They also longed for cucumbers, melons, onions, leeks and garlic. None of these delicacies were available out there in the wilderness. Manna was not enough for them—they wanted meat.
In effect, God said, “They want meat? I will give them meat to eat until it comes out their nostrils.” He sent an overabundance of quail, blown in from the sea. There were so many! They were lying three feet deep all around the camp and a day’s walk in every direction. Each man gathered close to two tons of quail. So, they had a quail feast and their complaint and gluttony was so displeasing to the Lord that many got sick and died.
There was other complaining going on, too. Even Moses complained to God that he was not able to lead those folks all by himself. But that kind of prayer did not bother God at all. He simply had Moses name 70 elders of the people as helpers and placed an anointing to prophesy upon them. The end of that story is that the people complained about a couple of Elders—Eldad and Medad—who were not selected as part of the 70 and yet were prophesying. Moses’ response was cool. He said, let them prophesy. I wish all of you would do so.
I conclude that the God of the Bible hated complaint and we see later that he loves gratitude that results in contentment. In effect, gratitude is riches and complaint is poverty. When God told Adam he could have all the fruit of the garden except that from one tree, he should have been grateful and content. Moderation would have saved a world of trouble.