Numbers 11:4–6 (ESV)
4 Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. 6 But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”
I, like probably a lot of people I know, wish I had listened to some of the really good advice my parents had given me when I was young! One of the things they tried to drill into my head was that if I hung around with the wrong people I would be influenced in the wrong direction.
The Apostle Paul in the New Testament pointed out the very same principle:
1 Corinthians 15:33 (ESV)
33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
The Israelites found out the very same truth after they had been delivered from Egyptian bondage through the miraculous power of God. Among those who left Egypt with them were some non-Israelite people who wanted to get out of Egypt, in our passage in Numbers they are called ‘rabble’. Rabble as we find here are people who want the blessings of the Lord without walking in ‘covenant relationship’ with the Lord.
We find this ‘rabble’ influencing God’s people to complain about the Lord’s gracious provision of manna (daily bread from heaven to eat). This ‘rabble’ were people who lived by the cravings of their sinful nature and let those cravings be the driving force for their attitudes and their behavior. This bad influence from the ‘rabble’ caused the Israelites to even long for ‘the way things used to be’ when they were in bondage in Egypt.
The problem for the Israelites was that instead of being the influencers, they became the influenced! God has called you and I to be a people who influence others for Christ, so don’t let yourself be swayed by any ‘rabble’ but walk in covenant with Christ and watch how God uses you to impact lives for him!