Numbers 11:4, “Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving.” verse 19, “You shall not eat just one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, but a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you.”
“Eat your food Tina, eat you FOOD!” This is of course a classic line from that movie you either love or hate, Napoleon Dynamite. Since that movie came out, I always though of Moses saying it in that tone to the people of Israel. But…there’s something darker going on in this narrative. In it, we see the cycle of idolatry. In it, we see what happens when we crave after our God-replacements.
Notice the people craved. They really wanted it! It would make things right in their universes. It was a strong craving. Notice too, that
God gave it to them God gave them over to it. It’s been said that when God wants to play a cruel joke on you, He gives you what you want most in the universe. Why is this a cruel joke? Because, in getting it-you realize how all-satisfying it isn’t. It can’t hold your eternal desires, it was designed to. So to the Israelites, food? Y’all thought food would do it? You thought food would fit that spot in your heart that was missing something?
God gave it to them, and in abundance! Boy Howdy, they had it all over the place! They got full on it and it came out their nostrils and they hated it. Sound weird? It’s really not. I see this happen
sometimes, all the time with boy/girl relationships. The one, the girl/boy who would make the other person happy arrives on the scene and actually fulfills the person’s life for a season. And-you know the drill-they’re connected at the hip. They can’t get enough of each other. In a word, they are smitten.
But then, it’s too much. It starts to come out of the nostrils. One can’t handle the heaviness, or-they just “want space” or maybe they “need a break”. In these moments, 99% of the time, the person has realized how the heart craving was stuffed with the wrong object. (pssst….humans make REALLY crummy gods)
What I’m talking about is the cycle of addiction, which the people of Israel went through here. The thing they loved and craved brought happiness. But-as continued usage increased, the happiness decreased. Ask anyone who has fought drug addiction. This is how it goes-it’s totally spiritual in nature. The people of Israel would have identified well with an episode of Intervention. Rock bottom for the addict occurs when the object they placed all their eggs in, they now turn out to hate.
So, let me bring this to you and me. What do you and I crave? The child of God will have competing things in their heart. It shouldn’t be that way-but it is. My point here is short and to the point: make sure it’s Christ’s righteousness! Make sure, you crave Jesus (and by the way, this implies that the Holy Spirit is alive and working in your heart). For He alone can handle your cravings. Do the things that spur this craving; go join a body of believers, listen to podcasts, READ YOUR BIBLE…a LOT! And pray- but not TO GET God’s acceptance-but because of His acceptance! And along with this, realize the inability of creation to ultimately fulfill. (Then you can really enjoy creation)