The sin of the golden calf has not been an incident. The rebelliousness of Israel is a characteristic that has repeatedly manifested itself. As long as Moses knows them, they are so. The Lord Jesus also knows us as an ever-wandering people who are led by their own willfulness and are not willing to be led by Him.
1. At Taberah, the people were influenced by the rabble that went with Israel out of Egypt (Num 11:1-101Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the LORD; and when the LORD heard [it], His anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed [some] of the outskirts of the camp.2The people therefore cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the LORD and the fire died out.3So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the LORD burned among them.4The rabble who were among them had greedy desires; and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, “Who will give us meat to eat?5We 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,6but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna.”7Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its appearance like that of bdellium.8The people would go about and gather [it] and grind [it] between two millstones or beat [it] in the mortar, and boil [it] in the pot and make cakes with it; and its taste was as the taste of cakes baked with oil.9When the dew fell on the camp at night, the manna would fall with it.10Now Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, each man at the doorway of his tent; and the anger of the LORD was kindled greatly, and Moses was displeased.). They have become dissatisfied and have grumbled upon God.
2. At Massah they have asked the LORD whether He is in their midst (Exo 17:77He named the place Massah and Meribah because of the quarrel of the sons of Israel, and because they tested the LORD, saying, “Is the LORD among us, or not?”). As if He has never cared about them before, while the evidence is so abundantly present in their redemption from Egypt.
3. At Kibroth-hattaavah they were carried away by their desire for meat (Num 11:31-3431Now there went forth a wind from the LORD and it brought quail from the sea, and let [them] fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp and about two cubits [deep] on the surface of the ground.32The people spent all day and all night and all the next day, and gathered the quail (he who gathered least gathered ten homers) and they spread [them] out for themselves all around the camp.33While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD struck the people with a very severe plague.34So the name of that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had been greedy.; Psa 78:2929So they ate and were well filled,
And their desire He gave to them.
4. Kadesh-barnea speaks of unbelief. From there the spies were sent to the land because the people are not content with the promise of the LORD (Num 32:8-138This is what your fathers did when I sent them from Kadesh-barnea to see the land.9For when they went up to the valley of Eshcol and saw the land, they discouraged the sons of Israel so that they did not go into the land which the LORD had given them.10So the LORD’s anger burned in that day, and He swore, saying,11‘None of the men who came up from Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob; for they did not follow Me fully,12except Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have followed the LORD fully.’13So the LORD’s anger burned against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until the entire generation of those who had done evil in the sight of the LORD was destroyed.).