“Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!” Numbers 11v4-6 NKJV
This is the hardest post I have written, from the point of view of being the most challenging to myself.
I have often tried to fathom what is involved in “loving the world” that John clearly warns against (1 John 2v15). Perhaps this post might help me to become less entangled with the world and more enraptured with the Lord.
The journeys of the Children of Israel leave lessons on the page of scripture for us to take note of. There is a clear indication of this in 1 Cor 10v11, NKJV “Now all these things happened to them as examples (types), and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”
Egypt, with its evil tyrant Pharoah, is a picture of the world ruled by Satan. Israel, the earthly people of God had been redeemed by blood (Exodus 12) and power (Exodus 14). They were now on a journey through the wilderness, sustained by God, towards future blessings promised to them by the LORD their God. God had blessed them abundantly. We to have been redeemed, by the blood of Christ and the power of God and we are strangers and pilgrims moving on to eternal blessing (Peter writes about this).
There came a time in that journey when Israel no longer wanted the provision of God to sustain them, the Manna. If fact, as they thought back on Egypt they FORGOT that it was a house of bondage, they FORGOT the sighs and groans of slavery and they only remembered that they had fed on “melons, leeks, onions, and garlics”. They then yielded to “intense craving”. They lusted after the appetites that had governed them when they were in Egypt and rejected the Manna.
Paul, it would appear, is writing about this very incident in 1 Corinthians 10v10 NKJV and he says “that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.” But, you say, there is nothing evil in melons, leeks, onions and garlics! That is true of course. However, they became evil when they replaced God’s provision! Rather than manna from the hand of God they wanted the food of Egypt.
There were appetites that governed us when we were in the world. They were not necessarily evil. For myself, I spent much time, trying to satisfy myself following sport – football, cricket, athletics, boxing etc. I lived for this. I could have spoken about these things all day. But now I am a Christian, I have new attitudes and desires. God has provided for my satisfaction a wonderful diet in the Word of God and especially Christ in the Word. The danger with me is that I can fall back into old habits. I can seek my satisfaction in the world again! I can allow the appetites of Egypt to stop me enjoying the Manna.
No matter how clean they seem, don’t let appetites of the world spoil your enjoyment of Christ in the Word. It’s not worth it. Don’t lust after evil things. One thing is for sure “melons, leeks, onions and garlics” wouldn’t have sustained the Israelites across the desert. They might tantilize the tastebuds but they wouldn’t sustain for the journey. Bread from heaven was absolutely essential.
It wasn’t to novices that John wrote “Do not love the world..” (1 John 2v15, NKJV) it was to young men, who knew the word of God and who had overcome the wicked one. I find this very challenging…