2001-12-26 - Shumim

Numbers 11:5 We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic.

Shumim is mentioned only once in the Bible. It is the Hebrew word for garlic. It is mentioned as the people of Israel complain to Moses about how good they had it in Egypt and right after God had judged them with fire and consumed some who were on the outskirts of the camp, Numbers 11:1. The people were not satisfied with the manna God sent them every day. They wanted meat to eat.

It is interesting that garlic is mentioned with onions, leeks, and cucumbers. Garlic is mentioned by Lucan in volume 7, page 407 as that which was "long condemned in their calendars." The odor of garlic made it less than desirable as a basic food group. But here we see the people of Israel complaining that they have no garlic to eat. A true representation of a grumbling and stubborn people. There is a mild form of garlic which is largely found in Sweden, Norway, and Holland, but it is unlikely that this is the garlic that the Israelites were clamoring for. They lusted for Allium Ascalonicum, which is a Gallic native to Palestine and much stronger than mild garlic.

Are we not like the Israelites? Do we not all lust after things that, in the end, will do us little good and maybe even result in bitterness when we have what we seek? I don't think there is any doubt to this fact. I guess I have been asking myself why, when I have manna from heaven, do I lust after garlic? I am guessing I am not alone in this. I confess I have no answer to this question, but I am clearly aware of the implications of the question. The grass is always greener, so they say, but the struggle of the Christian life seems to be contentedness with what God brings us. Contentment is no easy thing. I thought I had it down a few years ago, and now I know that I have far to go before that is really true.

"Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, 'I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.'" Hebrews 13:5. Now money is certainly not my issue. When you have none, it is easy to be content, but being content in what I have, in all areas of life is quite a challenge. Every area of my life is a hard task to be content in. Yet when I was younger, I lived by the motto, "never be content with where you are at in the Christian life." So there is a balance here that must be observed. Always growing, always moving forward in Christ, but content with what Christ gives, is the challenge. I'm not quite there yet. I want more and while this is both good and bad, it is an opportunity to grow in grace, and for that I praise God. Let us be uncontented with our contenedness.

Soli Deo Gloria,

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