But it wasn’t just the food they despised— the Israelites complained about the leadership and land God provided for them also. Their desires caused them to look back fondly on Egypt as their source of provision, until they craved Egypt itself...forgetting they were slavesthere.
The craving for “other food” wasn’t just the whining of spoiled children. It was the all out rejection of the Provider Himself, and led straight to death. In their flesh they craved flesh. And God answered their gluttonous complaints by providing so much quail they could swim in it. But with their indulgence came a deadly plague, followed by a burial ground they named “graves of craving.”
It isn’t wrong to crave good things, we were created to do that. The trouble is that apart from God, our taste buds completely misidentify what good even tastes like. The manna God blessed Israel with was intended to nourish and create an appetite for the One who gave it. Instead, their cravings were skewed, and they mistakenly identified slavery in Egypt as something to be desired, and loathed dependence on God’s faithful daily provision.
You and I? We’re not that different. I hate that the longings of my flesh have the potential to cloud my judgement until a life of oppression sounds delicious.
Like Eve reaching for the wrong tree, Israel begging for the wrong menu, and the crowd shouting “Barabbas,” in my flesh I’m prone to reject divine goodness. When our perspective has gotten that far off, and our taste that bad, only God himself can realign our appetites and remind us that He alone is good.
Thank God He has given us Himself, through Jesus, and offered freedom from our own “graves of cravings.” Through His power, we can choose to set our minds on what the Spirit desires, gaining victory over the rotten cravings of our flesh.
Every longing presents an opportunity to draw near to God and welcome His transforming work. We can’t desire God apart from the help of the Holy Spirit, but we can ask Him (daily and even hourly!) to give us an appetite for Him and for His Word.
He is the Bread of Life and the Living Water, and He promises not only to satisfy, but to accomplish in us the transformation necessary to savor Him above all else.
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