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?
Numbers 11:4 (KJV)
Fell a lusting – The translations of this verse vary from lusting, to cravings, to desires, and even more specific, craving other food. But the Hebrew here says something rather different.
הִתְאַוּוּ תַּאֲוָה (ethauu thaue) isn’t just about some sort of desire, or some craving for food. It literally means desiring desire. When you have it all what more is there to want? The Israelites, and those among them, are the example. When you have it all, you desire the state of desiring. God had provided everything they needed in the wilderness through His love and grace. There was no need or want. But they craved that human characteristic of desiring something they didn’t have.
In Egypt they would go through a long process to prepare bread to eat. First they would cultivate the land, plant the seeds, grow the wheat or barley, and finally they would harvest it. From here they would grind it down into flour, mix it with water, and then bake it. And by the labor of their own hands, they ate bread.
In the wilderness they had manna from Heaven. It was bread already made, fit for immediate consumption. There was no need for them to do anything – just gather and eat. But instead, they would gather the manna and grind it, boil it, and make cakes with it (Numbers 11:8). The manna was already bread, but they wanted to process it. They wanted to work it with their own hands to enjoy it. It was about control.
The Israelites wanted control. God had brought them into the wilderness, and if they relied on Him alone they would have received everything. But this meant giving up their own control, their own power, and turning completely to their Creator. They didn’t want that. They desired to desire, and they wanted that control back in their own hands. This is where it all begins to fall apart in the wilderness.
Do you find yourself in this process? It’s a very Greek worldview struggle – to control things. Are you trying to control the situation, the outcome, or the process? Let it go. God will provide that which you need. But you must walk with Him, you must rely on Him.