My life is full. I have more than I need. I have more clothes than I can wear in a couple months, and yet most of the time, I wear the same clothes time and again. I often waste food because I do not eat the leftovers from a meal. That in and of itself is amazing, that I have leftovers. I live in a home that offers shelter. I have many conveniences and nice things that help make my life extremely satisfying. In fact, many people around the world would love to have my life. Often, I do not think in this manner. Many times I allow myself to have pity parties because I might not have something that someone else does and it leaves me desiring it. But the simple fact is, no matter how hard your life might appear, I can guarantee you there is someone in the world right now, who if they knew you, would rather have your life than the one they are living. Why are we so easily dissatisfied? Why do we find ourselves wanting more than we need? Why am I so selfish?
This morning, I was reading through my Bible reading plan on YouVersion and read through Numbers 11. I see I am not alone in my desire for more. The Israelites have been led out of Egypt by Moses and they are now free from the slavery they had been in for many, many years. God had provided everything they needed. The Israelites had seen firsthand the miracles God performed before even coming out of Egypt. They had seen the Red Sea parted and they walked on dry land between two walls of water, nothing holding them up. Sometimes I wonder if they could actually see fish or other animals swimming around in the water. Or maybe someone tried to dive in to the wall of water. Either way, this is pretty amazing; nothing like this had been done before. God was physically present every day: in the form of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. They could physically see that God was with them. I can look at my life and take notice of the same thing, not so much in a cloud or pillar of fire, but God gives evidence that He is with us. I can often overlook it but the signs are there.
However, when we read in Numbers 11, we see the people complaining. How could someone complain when they have already been through all they have been through? Not only did they begin complaining, they began to long for Egypt. Remember what Egypt was for the Israelites? It had become slavery. They were not free people. They were enslaved. The first verse of Numbers 11 says this: “And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes.” What misfortunes did they have? They had everything they needed. God had provided time and again what they needed. And the most important thing they needed was His presence, but they missed it. But, it continues. Look ahead to verses 4-6:
Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now, our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.
Read those verses a couple times and let the irony sink in. Then think about your life. We have strong cravings too don’t we? I know I do. It is amazing how our tastes or desires for stuff can be affected by the world around us without us even noticing it. God wants to bring us all to a place where we come to understand we have ALL WE NEED IN HIM. The Israelites did not need the food of Egypt to be content. God had provided what they needed, which most importantly, was His presence, yet they missed it. I miss it every day. They had the food they needed to remain strong. God was providing for them each and every day. Had they forgotten the hardship of their lives in Egypt? Had they forgotten their misery of being driven day after day to work for Pharaoh, to do his bidding?
This happens to me quite often. I see something I want so I find a way to get it, though I had no need for it, whatever IT is. IT is different for each of us. However, God was trying to help the Israelites see that ALL THEY NEEDED was HIM. They did not need all the extra luxuries of Egypt because all it did was distract them from being the people God had called the Israelites to be. And they were comfortable in their slavery. If the Israelites had taken a minute to look at God and check their hearts, they would have seen this. Yet they missed it.
When I take a minute to check my heart, it helps me curb my desires for more stuff, more of the things of this world that do not truly matter. Will my life be any less exciting if I do not get the latest model of something? Am I experiencing a life less satisfying due simply to the fact I do not have _____? If so, then my heart is in the wrong place because all I need is God and when I seek Him first, He has promise to provide everything I need. My problem is too often my wants go further than my needs. God has me right now in a place where I am learning to curb my desires for wants by helping me focus on how He has provided my needs. This is not an easy place to be because of everything around me screaming for my attention and that I pay it some of my mind. However, when I get to a place where I can quiet those screams, it is there God reveals to me I have so much. My life is full. And my life is full so I can use it to impact those around me with the Gospel of God’s grace. My life is not full simply for my pleasure. My life is full to bring glory to God. I find myself praying that God will keep me in this place and that I will continue to curb my desires for more in this life because all it does is drown out the voice of God. I want God’s voice to be the loudest I hear, not the cries for more stuff.
What about you? Are you in a place like this? I would love to hear your story. I pray this encouraged you in some way and feel free to share this with others. Thank you for taking the time to read this post.