And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlicks… Numbers 11:5-6
I'd say their perception was off just a bit, wouldn't you? Do you really think they ate freely as slaves in the house of bondage? Freely is defined as…
- At liberty; without vassalage, slavery or dependence
- Without restraint, constraint or compulsion; voluntarily
- Plentifully; in abundance; as, to eat or drink freely
- Without impediment or hinderance
So all the rigorous labor they sought deliverance from was voluntary? So they had all the fish and cucumbers and melons and leeks and onion and garlick they wanted? So they were at liberty to eat what they wanted when they wanted? Don't think so. But don't we all have this tendency from time to time to consider walking after the lusts of the flesh freedom?
Let's take 2 lessons from this section of the book of Numbers.
1. The life lived in the pursuit of the lusts of the flesh is one of bondage, not freedom.
Romans 6 (read vv. 12-23 when you get a chance) teaches that we will always be in service to someone or something. We can serve sin or we can serve God. The logical decision would be to choose the one that pays better. And so verse 23 says, The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. You can be free from God but a servant to sin or you can be free from sin and a servant to God. There's an element of freedom and an element of bondage to both. It is obvious which is a better choice.
2. The influence of the mixt multitude.
It was when this group fell a lusting that Israel began to weep for the freedom of Egypt. 2 Peter 2 (vv. 18-22) warns of those who will allure through the lusts of the flesh and promise liberty, but themselves are the servants of corruption. And their latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
Turn a deaf ear to those who would tell you that a Christian is free to live after the lusts of the flesh. Turn a deaf ear to those who would categorize what you know to be true, biblical Christianity as legalism. Beware of the mixt multitude.
Numbers 11 ends in Kibrothhattavah: because there they buried the people that lusted. Don't let your love and zeal for the Lord die out because you want to pursue a freedom that doesn't exist.