A Sin by any Other Name Would Smell Just as Bad.

As I was reading about the national sins of Israel in the wilderness, I was interested in what the Word of God had to say concerning His chosen, their rebellion and how God dealt with it all. For more information on this read Psalms 105-107. It is Psalm 106 that relates to what I’m about to write.

Verse 14 reads “But craved intensely in the wilderness, And tempted God in the desert.” The words “craved intensely,” in other words they “lusted a lust,” is closely associated with (Num 11:4) and refers to their repeated murmurings for gratification, it reads “The rabble who were among them had greedy desires; and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, “Who will give us meat to eat?” Ever found yourself complaining about where your next meal is coming from? Not to be satisfied with what the Lord was already supplying this nation not only murmured or complained but demanded meat.

By way of reminder to us and the church at Corinth, Paul said in (1 Cor 10:6) “Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.” These are the things that unhappy or doubtful Christians say. Craving or coveting which plainly is a desire to satisfy our carnal appetites is nothing short of tempting God in their hearts or ours. (Ps 78:17-18) tells us “Yet they still continued to sin against Him, To rebel against the Most High in the desert. And in their heart they put God to the test By asking food according to their desire.”

If you read between the lines, it kind of makes you think that their hearts were set on immediate gratification rather that the Promised Land. This reminds me of what Paul said in (Phil 3:13-14) “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Ever taken your eye off the ball? it hurts! And all you end up with is a bleeding nose, a bad bruise, embarrassment and a whole lot of hurt!

Now, we aren’t in the wilderness and an eleven day journey should never take us forty years. However, if you could consider or for argument sake that we, as God’s chosen, are travelling through the wilderness of this world. We have been emancipated from our Egypt experience and looking forward to our Promised Land the “New Jerusalem.”

There’s very little difference between what the children of Israel went through to what we are going through. Remembering that as far as the wilderness goes we are only to pass through it and be satisfied with God’s provisions along the way.

Pray that it is not with us as it was with the Israelites and think so little of God’s plan and purpose that we forever complain and murmur because we can’t have the same as what was on tap for them back in Egypt. (Num 20:4-5) is a sober reminder that God never intended the Israelites to settle in the wilderness nor for us to become comfortable in this age “Why then have you brought the Lord’s assembly into this wilderness, for us and our beasts to die here? “Why have you made us come up from Egypt, to bring us in to this wretched place? It is not a place of grain or figs or vines or pomegranates, nor is there water to drink.”

You see, it’s only from wilderness trials that we grow and become more dependant on God. He doesn’t provide good things for us to learn by, He delivers the best. The Lord God knows better than we do as to what is for our best and that includes things that are painful.

So, because of their “lusting after lust” and continual complaining God gave them what they asked for. But beware brethren, according to verse 15 of Psalm 106, “God sent a wasting disease among them” in other words “a leanness/consumption into their souls.” It’s a bit like tuberculosis in the spiritual sense.

It’s interesting though, that God even gives the wicked their desires. However, the very things they desire may ultimately become their punishment.

Let’s face it, it isn’t easy to want things we cannot have, but ultimately God will hold us accountable for our unwise decisions or conversely reward us for responsible ones.

Read (Ps 78:30) and you’ll see the result of unrighteousness. Then for comfort read (Mal 3:10).

We should never point the finger at the Jews or anyone else for that matter or offer up a callous opinion of their wickedness and punishment. If we do we’ve missed the point entirely. The whole account of the Nations’ sins in the wilderness is intended to be a mirror by which we see ourselves and take note of our own wicked hearts and corrupt minds.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to seek God’s favour than to provoke Him to anger. Do we learn by our mistakes or do we keep on repeating history.

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
    For his mercy endures forever.

2 Give thanks to the God of Gods.
    For his mercy endures forever.

3 Give thanks to the Lord of Lords.
    For his mercy endures forever.

Psalm 136:1-3

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