Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Having your own way may make you sick!


Numbers 11:18-23 "Tell the people, Consecrate yourselves. Get ready for tomorrow when you're going to eat meat. You've been whining to GOD, 'We want meat; give us meat. We had a better life in Egypt.' GOD has heard your whining and he's going to give you meat. You're going to eat meat. (19) And it's not just for a day that you'll eat meat, and not two days, or five or ten or twenty, (20) but for a whole month. You're going to eat meat until its coming out your nostrils. You're going to be so sick of meat that you'll throw up at the mere mention of it. And here's why: Because you have rejected GOD who is right here among you, whining to his face, 'Oh, why did we ever have to leave Egypt?'"


n the wilderness, the Israelites were so intent on getting the food and water they wanted that they became blind to what God wanted. They were more concerned about immediate physical gratification than lasting spiritual satisfaction. They did not want what was best for them, and they refused to trust in God's care and provision (Numbers 11:18-33). If you complain enough, God may give you what you ask for, even if it is not the best for you. If you're not getting what you want, perhaps God knows it is not in your best interest. Trust in his care and provision.

God's stern dealing with the murmuring people makes grim reading. As the psalmist puts it, "He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul"(Psalm 106:15). The Message version of the same verse says, "He gave them exactly what they asked for-- but along with it they got an empty heart." He was as good as His word. The flesh they had cried for and coveted came, as you can see in Numbers 11:31, and it was the means of their destruction. While they were gorging themselves upon it, the plague came and devastated them.

How careful we should be! What He forbids, He forbids in His mercy, for our good. He knows how bad it would be for us to have it. But when men insist, He sometimes says, "Very well, have your fill of it, if you are so set on it; have your own way." This was an attitude that developed into a fixed and unalterable reality later, when at Kadesh Barnea the people hung back from entering the land and God finally said, "You have made your choice, and I will accept it. Back you go into the wilderness." They disqualified themselves, because they rendered themselves increasingly in capable of fulfilling their destiny. They got what they wanted, but it made them sick and purposeless.


How does this apply to me?

God gave the Israelites what they complained and griped about and it made them "lean in their soul" and "an empty heart." That is why Jesus taught us by His example how to pray:

Luke 22:42 Saying, Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but [always] Yours be done.

Jesus denied Himself by telling His Father that what He truly wanted was to do His will. There are so many times in my life that I truly believe I have it figured out what God wants to do in my life, especially in the area of blessings. It is easy for me to lay out the plan of how, when and where God can and will answer my prayers the way I want Him to.

However, there are times that God, as my Heavenly Father, tells me "no" or "wait." It is during the "no" or in the midst of the season of waiting that I grow and mature the most. If I always hear "yes", then I can become a spiritual "spoiled brat" who will become lean in my soul, and empty in my heart. My faith is truly tested when I pray for a certain answer, and that certain answer doesn't come like I think it should. Jesus asked the Father to remove the cup of suffering from Him, but immediately afterwards said, "nevertheless, not my will be done, but yours be done." Jesus reaffirmed His trust, confidence and faith in His Father's plan. When I pray, "Lord not my will, but yours be done" I am doing the same thing.

Down through the years I have heard people say that you shouldn't pray "not my will be done" but tell God exactly what you will except and expect. That sounds great, but it is so self-centered. If Jesus prayed "not my will be done, but yours be done" that is good enough for me.


"Lord, I never want leanness in my soul, or an empty heart because I become so selfish and self-centered in my prayer life. Please forgive me for the times that I have acted and talked like the Israelites. I can pray "not my will be done, but yours be done" because I trust you. I KNOW that you will never leave me or forsake me. I know that I am not talking to a God that is blind, or deaf or unfeeling. You are still on the throne of this universe, I want to make sure that I keep you on the throne of my heart. I do that by not allowing my "self" to take that position. I die to my self absorption today, and ask you to lead, guide and direct my paths. My hearts prayer is that I will truly be in the center of your will, and no where else. Forgive me for complaning and whining. I am so blessed and I am so sorry for the times I have taken my blessings for granted. Again, I trust you explicitly and declare in every area of my life, "not my will, but yours be done." In Jesus' name, amen!"


Pastor Rusty