The Mixed Multitude

Samuel Smith


Assessing the ardent and passionate statement of God on Human formation in Genesis 2:18, it becomes axiomatic that humans by nature are social beings. We were made with the instinctive characteristic of relating with others. In the state where individualism and singularity are heralded, people lose the opportunity of enjoying human love and affection. In such a case, friendship and socialization become needful. A friend is seen as a person with whom one is vaguely or indirectly acquainted. A friend is also someone whose company one enjoys, and towards whom one feels affection.

Due to the enormous benefits and supports humans derived from each other, associating with others always become natural immediately people get to know each other. But, in all things, we should not forget that, associating with people can also demoralize our spirituality. There are negative effects also in relating with others. Whiles some people relate with others and impact their lives positively, other people form associations, and they impact negatively on them. After forming new associations, some people realise that their way of dressing, speaking, thinking and even their stand on faith issues become affected negatively. This experience is analogous to the life of the ancient Israelites.

Among the many theological insights we derive from Numbers 11 is the influence of a wrong company on the people of God, and the need to be sober minded when associating with others. Because of the miracles that God wrought within the Israelites and the benevolence He showed them, many of the heathen in the land of Egypt joined the Israelites and became their allies. In this sense, they became the mixed multitude who were not Israelites but has naturalized to be Israelites. In other words, their friends or associates. These allies though experienced the acceptance and goodness of God, they were oblivious to the explicit commandments of God.

As these people came and lived with the Israelites, both parties influenced each other in one way or the other. This validates the meaning of the African proverb; "show me your friend and I tell you your character". In their journey through the wilderness and their stay in the Promised Land, this mixed multitude, since they were idolaters and worldly, thirsted for their past life and meals. These people could not train their taste, and lusted for the Egyptian meat and idolatry at the expense of the heavenly manna and the worship of Jehovah. In their quest for these past life, the Israelites also got influenced and cried out for things which have no power to save. Thus, the influence of the mixed multitude made the Israelites to sin against God. The holy people of God got their morals corrupted and their conscience defiled by the life of the mixed multitude.

Living in this sin-sick world, we also face the temptation of yielding to the influence of the mixed multitude among us. It could be a corrupt friend or fiancé, an evil environment or a negative business venture you are engaged in. The life of these associates (mixed multitude) may have great influence on your salvation. Be sober minded, and do not sell your birthright for a pot of lintel as Esau did. The admonitions do not mean you must associate only with the 'righteous'. However, in your associations with people who do not keep the law of God be very intentional about being a reformer to them instead of them swaying you from the path of righteousness. To be able to stand, remember to keep the whole armour of God. Moreover, do not follow the multitude to pursue evils and always be circumspect about whom you associate with so that you will flee the temptation of the mixed multitude.

(Numbers 11:1-10; Ephesians 6:11; Exodus 23:2; 2 Corinthians 6:14)

Pr. Nicholas Obeng Agyekum