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Recently my teenage daughter asked me for something new. I told her we wouldn’t be purchasing it, and she needed to be content with what she had. Her response was, “I am content… but I just want more.” I laughed with her and told her she needed to revisit the definition of contentment. The Hebrew word male’ in the Old Testament is sometimes translated satisfied, fulfilled, or complete. It means “to fill, be full.” (http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/hebrew/nas/male.html) When we are satisfied, we aren’t longing for more. Instead we are content with what we have. Charles Spurgeon, a great English preacher in the 1800s, said this, “You say, ‘If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.’ You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.’”
Take a moment and consider how you would fill in this blank:
“I wish I had just a little more ________________________.”
While we may not be whining for it, we often find ourselves wishing for just a little more money, time, friends, encouragement, or something else. Marketing targets us and our families attempting to create felt needs. As consumers the messages we receive can foster disatisfaction our homes, bodies, or relationships. Someone wants to sell us something that will give us more.
In Numbers 11, the Israelites whined to the Lord for more meat. They stood in the doorways of their homes complaining. This made the Lord angry. God said He would give them meat for a month and that eventually they would be so sick of it, they would gag on it. Can you think of a time when you really wanted something, but when you got it, it didn’t live up to your expectations?
God did exactly what He said He would do. “Now the Lord sent a wind that brought quail from the sea and let them fall all around the camp. For miles in every direction there were quail flying about three feet above the ground.” (Numbers 11:31) Yet a few verses later the Scripture says that while the people gorged themselves on the meat, God struck them with a plague.
He wanted the people to realize that His provision was best. Their quest for more would not satisfy but would bring a curse along with it. They would learn this the hard way.
We can also desire to be fulfilled by things that will ultimately destroy our body or soul. Perhaps we want a relationship so bad that we whine for it until God gives us over to it. We have freedom, but not everything is beneficial for our spiritual walk. Other times our cravings for more food than our bodies need causes the plague of health problems. The desire for bigger and better can lead us to spend more money than our budget allows leaving us with debt that feels like a weight hanging over our head.
Others of us may gorge in different areas – binge television watching, social media addictions, over-shopping, or even things like obsessive cleaning. We must be careful what we wish for… because if we whine and complain about it, we just might get it. And it may turn out to be more of a curse than a blessing. “There are times when the Lord will give us exactly what we ask for, but at the same time He will send leanness into our souls.” (Macarthur 89)
It can be tough in the moment when we are craving something sweet or see the next episode pop up after the last has finished on our screens to say no to excess. The abundance all around us makes access to our vices especially tempting. However, we must reflect regularly on God’s provision in the past to help us accept His decisions in the present.
We must also remember that we are not helpless when it comes to bad habits and addictions that we may have battled for years. Just as God’s strong arm could provide meat with a strong wind, He is able to help us in our own battles against “more.”
God knows that we won’t find ultimate fulfillment in comfort, food, entertainment, shopping, or over-working. He allowed the Israelites to experience that truth first hand. Let’s remember these things were written to warn us so that we would not experience the same plagues that can accompany any kind of gluttony. We need God to realign us to what really satisfies, and that is a relationship with Him.
TALK WITH GOD
Spend some reflective minutes in prayer now. Ask God to show you any area of your life where you are not content with God’s provision. Lay it at His feet and wait in His presence asking Him to help you overcome any areas of spiritual, mental, emotional or physical gluttony that He reveals.