Hunger Pains

Last Sunday, I was spending time with Jesus while eating breakfast. As I was resting with Him, enjoying my everything, Asiago bagel, I began to think about Heaven and what the food is like there. I am a huge foodie so naturally when I think of what Heaven will be like food often comes to mind. As I was seeking God, He gave me a word about worship:

In Exodus 16, the Israelites were saved from slavery and brought into the wilderness. There was no food in sight and they began to complain about how they had food when they were enslaved. In Exodus 16:2-3, it says,

“And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and the people of Israel said to them, ‘Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.'”

The Israelites wanted to go back to slavery because there was food. They believed that God set them free just to kill them. When you think about it that doesn’t make much sense at all. Surely, God had a purpose for rescuing them. God wanted to show the Isrealites that He was God and that He freed them from slavery so He provided manna (bread) from Heaven to test their obedience. This wasn’t just any bread, this was bread from Heaven. The Bible describes it as a honey wafer – and everyone with a sweet tooth said, “Amen!” God is so good that He provided food each day to sustain them. The Bible says that they ate manna for 40 years.

Later, in Numbers 11, the Israelites were complaining about the manna. The Bible goes on to say that they were tired of it. They wanted meat, fish and cakes. What once was a need, was now a complaint. What once was a blessing, was now a curse to them. When we read this passage it’s easy to skim over the 40 years part and think to ourselves how ungrateful the Israelites were, that they should have been happy and content with that manna. I can barely eat leftovers, so I can’t imagine having to eat manna every day for 40 years. That is a long time.

But aren’t we just like the Israelites? Complaining about the things that we don’t have. What we once cried out to God for we now reject. What we once praised God for: Our spouse, our home, our career, etc., we now curse with complaining. Let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with seeking a new career or upgrading your home. I’m also not saying that you should get a new spouse. What I am saying is that it’s easier to complain about our lack then it is to rejoice in our abundance. It’s also easy to focus on the things that we don’t have instead of focusing on Jesus, the giver of all things.

Jesus owes us nothing, yet He gave us everything by His death and resurrection on the cross. Jesus set us free from eternal hell and has given us access to the Father. What more could we possible need? I know that we have basic needs and God wants to provide for us because that’s who He is, but if God never gave us another thing we should be content with the manna from Heaven (Jesus).

What is the manna in your life? What are you complaining to God about? If we are being honest, we know in our hearts that we are mad at God. We think He is keeping something good from us. Maybe you’ve been waiting a long time, maybe longer than 40 years. Maybe you think that God is withholding a blessing a to punish you. Whatever the case may be, it’s difficult to enjoy our relationship with God when we have a grievance against Him. The Israelites complaint was not toward a person, but towards God. In Exodus 16:6-8, it says,

“So Moses and Aaron said to all the people of Israel, ‘At evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against the Lord. For what are we, that you grumble against us?’ And Moses said, ‘When the Lord gives you in the evening meat to eat and in the morning bread to the full, because the Lord has heard your grumbling that you grumble against him—what are we? Your grumbling is not against us but against the Lord.'”

If you’ve been complaining to God that’s not going to get you what you want. God doesn’t respond to complaints. He responds to praise. God didn’t respond to the Israelites when they complained about food. He responded to their need for God so He used the manna to test them. God didn’t give the Israelites what they wanted, He gave them what they needed and they needed to learn how to worship God. In Exodus 16:12, God says,

“I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.'”

Whatever it is that you are desiring in this season, it may be that God is making you wait for it because He wants you to worship Him. Let us make no mistake, God is our Father and our provider. He promises to take care of all of our needs, but not if we are worshiping the provision instead of the Provider. It’s in our nature to have desires and some desires are Godly desires, but if we desire anything more than we desire God, it is an idol. We were made for worship. Who or what we worship is the big life question.

Maybe God isn’t giving you what you want right now, but He promises that if we seek God first, all other things will be given to us. In Matthew 6:33, it says,

“Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

God is a good God and everything He does is with a purpose. God is always after our heart. We are His desire.


 

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