Leave My Goat Alone

Title: Leave My Goat Alone
Category: Devotion
Subject: Thanklessness; Gratitude; Commitment

Leave My Goat Alone

Dr. Vince Hefner, pastor

First Baptist Church, Cherryville, NC


​Numbers 11:5-6 says, “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, but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna.” (NAS) This passage of Scripture records part of a complaint to Moses from the certain people who had been slaves (the children of Israel) in Egypt and were on their way to the Promised Land. These people (and their ancestors) had prayed for over 400 years for God to deliver them from slavery and take them to the home that had been promised to them. In God’s perfect time He answered their prayers by sending Moses and crushing the Egyptian rulers.  These people (nation of Israel) had seen God work wonderful signs (the Egyptians called them plagues) culminating with the splitting of the Red Sea so that they could walk across on dry ground. Now God miraculously fed these same people with manna from heaven. Are you with me so far? These people were the object of God’s affection, they had seen miracle after miracle, they were freed as slaves, God fought their battles for them, and all they had to do was pick up the food that God was supplying forthem. However, after a few days they decided that they did not like God’s cooking! 

​What was it that made these people so ungrateful to God? They had seen God’s hand move time and time again in their lives; they had the greatest leader in the Old Testament (Moses); but the first time they didn’t get what they wanted they started to complain. What really “gets my goat” is that they compared the present to the past, and told God that they had it better as slaves! What did you say? Yes, God, we had it better in Egypt, the food back “home” was assorted and free!  It was their ability to change their perception of the past that made them able to forget the bad times, like slavery and injustice. However, to the Egyptians credit, they gave them a choice on what to eat!

​I am amused by people’s perception of the past. We don’t know the future, we haven’t figured out the present, but the past, well, we can change the past in our minds till it suits us just fine. The Israelites were looking into the past and had a higher view of how the world treated them than how God delivered them. I don’t believe that the Israelites are alone in this shortcoming. I see people talk about their past before they believed in Christ with a gleam in their eyes, and then say they had to quit all the fun stuff to follow Him. Fun stuff? Slavery to sin is fun? I don’t think so. 

​I believe we should be honest with our past, good or bad. We should be grateful for our past, because God has allowed us to live through the past to the present. The Israelites were allowing their perception of the past to affect their relationship with God and others during the present. The way they figured it, they were better off without God than with Him. They believed the world treated them better than God did. They were wrong.

​Make sure that your perception of the past hasn’t messed up your relationship with God or others in the present. Honor God in the present, and before you know it the present will become the past and you will be able to look back and say with all honesty, “It is good to serve the Lord!” Remember that life is more than cucumbers and garlic. Think about it!