But they continued to sin against him, rebelling in the wilderness against the Most High. They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved. They spoke against God; they said, “Can God really spread a table in the wilderness? True, he struck the rock, and water gushed out, streams flowed abundantly, but can he also give us bread? Can he supply meat for his people?” When the Lord heard them, he was furious; his fire broke out against Jacob, and his wrath rose against Israel, for they did not believe in God or trust in his deliverance. Yet he gave a command to the skies above and opened the doors of the heavens; he rained down manna for the people to eat, he gave them the grain of heaven. Human beings ate the bread of angels; he sent them all the food they could eat. He let loose the east wind from the heavens and by his power made the south wind blow. He rained meat down on them like dust, birds like sand on the seashore. He made them come down inside their camp, all around their tents. They ate till they were gorged— he had given them what they craved. But before they turned from what they craved, even while the food was still in their mouths, God’s anger rose against them; he put to death the sturdiest among them, cutting down the young men of Israel. – Psalm 78:17-31
This passage is a bookend to yesterday’s post. The issue in this passage is God providing what the Israelites crave. Unfortunately they were craving earthly food and water rather than God.
I wish I could say that I have never craved earthly “food” over spiritual sustenance but alas it would not be true. Our earthly bodies are needy. They require constant care and feeding. Our spirits do too but our spiritual hunger is often superseded by our bodily hungers. God fed the earthly bodies of the Israelites so that they would not crave and they could focus on Him. It did not work.
I tend to associate craving with habits like smoking or eating. Things we crave have a hold on us. God wants us to crave Him. He wants the only thing the “have a hold on us” to be Him. That is why He was disappointed and angry when the Israelites for choosing earthly sustenance over the spiritual nourishment.
God gave the Israelites both bread from heaven and water from rock — both miraculous provisions intended to demonstrate His love. They were received as an end in themselves rather than a means to a greater relationship with the provider of those things — God. I think I am guilty of the same myopic view of the things of this world. I tend to see only what is right in front of me and present in the moment to meet my immediate needs. It takes a significant act of the will to see the deeper spiritual provision that God is giving me every day.
Prayer: God help me to see the spiritual food your provide for me every day. Help me be satisfied and seek the One who provided it.