The grumblers are saying that Moses didn’t take them into a land flowing with milk and honey; he took them out of a land flowing with milk and honey. The land flowing with milk and honey is the description of the Promised Land. The complainers among the Israelites are saying that Egypt was their land of promise. They were just like Lot’s wife looking back.
If Lot’s wife had been thinking of saving her physical life, she would have fled without looking back. That wasn’t the life that held her attention at that moment. It was the life she was leaving behind in the wealthy city of Sodom. They lived within the gates. They must have had pretty good lives to stay there when Lot was so troubled by the sin of the city. His wife must have had something to do with them not leaving all those years while Lot lived with his soul tormented by their sin. She looked back, longing for her old life.
The Israelites are looking back. They aren’t remembering how the Egyptians tried to kill them. They are remembering the food. Their flesh is longing after things. They want to follow their lusts back into captivity.
Why? They are giving it the same attributes as God’s good promise by calling it a land flowing with milk and honey. Their single focus on fulfilling their lust is blinding them to the enslavement that would follow.
Jesus came to set us free. He came to bring us into His kingdom, the land of flowing milk and honey. When we look back with our flesh, with our senses, with our lusts, we are fooling ourselves into thinking we had it good before God came into our lives. Apart from Christ there is only darkness and death. Anything beyond that is an illusion. Seeking after any type of fulfillment outside of Christ is an illusion. It’s a temporary, fleeting moment of good feeling, which can leave devastation in its wake. It doesn’t just have to be the “big” sins that this is referring to.
Why do we love Hallmark Christmas movies and romantic comedies? It’s that feeling at the end of the movie. We want them to get together at the end because we love that feeling. Why? Because we’re really longing after God’s love. Why are people into mindfulness and meditation? They feel the need for peace. What they are really longing after is God’s peace.
We grab at ways to try to get what God offers us freely and fully. We were created to need Him. Trying to get our needs met through other people, or any of the thousands of ways people do it, is all a mirage. It will never do the trick. All God is and has to offer is all ours for the taking. It’s our job to walk with Him into His land of promise and never look back.