And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.
Friend to Friend
Recently my teenage daughter asked me for something new. I told her we wouldn’t be purchasing it, and she needed to be content with what she had. Her response was, “I am content… but I just want more.” I laughed with her and told her she needed to revisit the definition of contentment. The Hebrew word male’ in the Old Testament is sometimes translated “satisfied, fulfilled, or complete.” It means “to fill, be full.” In essence it means enough!
When we are satisfied, we aren’t longing for more. Instead we are content with what we have. Take a moment and consider how you would fill in this blank today:
“I wish I had just a little more ________________________.”
While we may not be whining for it, we often find ourselves wishing for just a little more money, time, friends, encouragement, or something else. Marketing targets us and our families attempting to create felt needs. As consumers, the messages we receive can foster dissatisfaction with our homes, bodies, or relationships. Someone wants to sell us something that will give us more.
In Numbers 11, the Israelites whined to the Lord for more meat. They stood in the doorways of their homes complaining. This made the Lord angry. God said He would give them meat for a month and that eventually they would be so sick of it, they would gag on it. Can you think of a time when you really wanted something, but when you got it, didn’t live up to your expectations?
God did exactly what He said He would do. “Now the Lord sent a wind that brought quail from the sea and let them fall all around the camp. For miles in every direction there were quail flying about three feet above the ground” (Numbers 11:31). A few verses later the Scripture says that while the people gorged themselves on the meat, God struck them with a plague. The Psalmist referred to it as leanness in their souls (Psalm 106:15).
The Lord wanted the people to realize that His provision was best. He was more than enough for them, and He is more than enough for us as well. We can also desire to be fulfilled by things that will ultimately destroy our body or soul. Perhaps we want a relationship so badly that we whine for it until God gives us over to it. We have freedom, but not everything is beneficial for our spiritual walk. Other times our cravings for more food than our bodies need causes the plague of health problems. The desire for bigger and better can lead us to spend more money than our budget allows, leaving us with debt that feels like a weight hanging over our head.
Others of us may gorge in different areas – binge television watching, social media addictions, over-shopping, or even things like obsessive cleaning. We must be careful what we wish for because if we whine and complain about it, we just might get it. And it may turn out to be more of a curse than a blessing.
God knows that we won’t find ultimate fulfillment in comfort, food, entertainment, shopping, or over-working. He allowed the Israelites to experience that truth first hand. Let’s remember these things were written to warn us so that we would not experience the same plagues that can accompany any kind of gluttony. We need God to realign us to what really satisfies, and that is a relationship with Him.
Dear Lord, help me not to beg you for nonessentials. Instead, teach me to be content with Your provision in my life. I want to embrace the word enough. You are more than enough for me Jesus. Help me to see that clearly while living in a culture obsessed with more time, more stuff, and more likes on social media. I want more of you instead!
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
How did you fill in the blank above regarding your current longings for more? Take some time today to make a list of all God’s blessings in your life and express your deep satisfaction with God’s gifts and His character. Take stock of how God is enough in your life today. Join Melissa this September for a 7-day contentment project. Sign up and get the details at http://melissaspoelstra.com/contentment-project/.”
More from the Girlfriends
Melissa Spoelstra is a women’s conference speaker, Bible teacher, and writer who is madly in love with Jesus and passionate about helping women of all ages know Christ more intimately through serious Bible study. She is the author of Mom’s Choice Award-winning Total Family Makeover as well as three women’s Bible studies including First Corinthians, Joseph, and Jeremiah. She lives in Dublin, Ohio, with her pastor husband and four kids. Find her online at www.melissaspoelstra.com.