Tuesday, February 19, 2013

flesh pots or bread from heaven?

The children of Israel were, at times, complainers. As they traversed the wilderness between Egypt and the Promised Land of Canaan they griped and grumbled while asking why Moses brought them out to this barren place to die. In the eleventh chapter of Numbers we read of their tiring of manna and an intense craving for meat. Once again they cried out against God, complaining about the food He faithfully provided them in the barren wasteland. They began to focus on the menu that was available to them back in Egypt, showing contempt for God's provision.

Moses grew angry with them and ultimately asked the Lord to kill him rather than burden him with this people any longer. God's response was to send to Moses seventy men anointed by the Spirit to assist him in bearing the burden of this troublesome and whiny people. He also sent quail, lots and lots of quail, to the discontented people of Israel.  There were so many that they stacked up three feet deep a days journey in any direction from the camp. 

The people worked quickly to gather up as many quail as they could. It would seem that they tore into the uncooked flesh of the quail in order to satiate their ravenous lust for meat. In doing so they brought the anger of the Lord upon themselves in the form of a plague that destroyed a great number of them.

Ultimately the failure of the Israelites was their failure to trust God. Their complaints were a symptom of faithlessness. They did not trust God which led to an inability to appreciate God and be thankful for what He had already given them. In their lust for the things of Egypt they neglected to honor the One who brought them out of bondage.

As a child of God I have been delivered from the chains the world held me in for the first twenty years of my life. The Lord's faithfulness to me has been nothing short of amazing as He provides for me physically, materially, spiritually, and in every other way. However, He doesn't simply provide for me. That is not His intent. Instead He is the provision.

There are seasons in my life when I find myself in the wilderness. The temptation I face most often while there is that of the Israelites...to complain because of fleshly desires. I take for granted the provision of the Lord, rejecting what He has given in my unthankfulness and hungering for the "flesh pots of Egypt". In reality I am rejecting Him.

Guard your heart against the lusts of the flesh. Trust the Lord and be thankful for His provision - Him - in wilderness journeys and every other season of life.

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