Now the people complained about their hardships…We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic.
Numbers 11:1, 5 NIV
Some of us are harvesting garlic (although some of us are still waiting). How about an Amen! for the alliums—garlic and their sidekicks, leeks and onions, that add so much flavor, dimension, and delicious nutrition to our lives. This trio appears just once in God’s Word, yet impressed upon me as I was pulling fresh cloves from the soil last week, a sort of alliteration: Leeks, Onions, Garlic aligning with Lord Our God.
The complaints of the Israelites, the wail for scrumptious, comfort food, came in the context of wandering and bewilderment. They were on unfamiliar ground—inhospitable, unfruitful, showing no signs of the goodness they were promised. While we won’t likely roam homeless in a desert, we will probably find ourselves in situations alluding to such displacement, wondering at the difficulties, waiting desperately for their end.
To grow garlic means that you have to put your attention to something else much of the time. It follows that you ought not to grow garlic unless you are willing to let it make you as patient as it needs for its purposes…See garlic as a pretext for waiting.
—Stanley Crawford, A Garlic Testament, Seasons on a Small New Mexico Farm, 1992
May growing garlic and the other alliums, or shopping at the grocers and sauteeing their savor, distract us while we wait. May we transform the complaints to cries of worship; may we come to value patience. May we see our troubles as “pretext” to the blessing of the Lord Our God.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
Deuteronomy 6:4 NIV
Help us, Lord our God, for we rely on you
2 Chronicles 14:11 NIV
“Tomorrow,” Pharaoh said. Moses replied, “It will be as you say, so that you may know there is no one like the LORD our God.”
Exodus 8:10 NIV
we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever
Micah 4:5 NIV
The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving
Daniel 9:9 NIV
Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Revelation 19:6 NIV
For more devotions on leeks, onions, and garlic, see “No Crying Over Onions!” part of the Cultivating series, Garden Work section, in God’s Word for Gardener’s Bible, page 177
For more information on growing this trio from the Allium family, see our Plant Guide:
Photo Credits: ©2017 Shelley S. Cramm
Harvested garlic hangs to dry
Leeks cultivated at the Atlanta History Center in Atlanta, GA
Red onions piled high at Ralph’s grocery store in Newport Beach, CA
Tiny onion chives discovered as I was digging in our garden
Bunching onions ready for purchase at Ralph’s grocery store in Newport Beach, CA