Wednesday in the Fourth Week of Lent

Numbers 11:1-35

Passion – But Not Our Lord’s

Passion.  Desire.  Craving.  We all know it.  We’ve all felt it.  Indeed, the very consumer-driven culture in which we live plays on it.  It is our desire to have, and have more of it, that advertisers must exploit.  “You deserve it.”  “You’re entitled to it.”  Or just plain, “You know you want it.”  These are the messages we constantly receive, and these are the urges to which we invariably succumb.

The children of Israel were growing tired of manna.  Manna-this, manna-that, ba-manna bread – it was undoubtedly enough to dull the palate.  They began to remember (fantasize, is more like it) how wonderful things were in Egypt: cucumbers, melons, leaks, onions, and garlic.  Like most, they had very selective memories.  They conveniently forgot slavery, torture, and infanticide.  It’s amazing how when we feel the slightest irritation in the present we can make a forest out of a desert in the past.  All we know is that we’re uncomfortable, or that there is something we want that we can’t have.  And we resent it.

The sin is envy.  You don’t have to see someone else have what you want, you merely have to want what you don’t have.  That’s what the Israelites were doing.  One might say they were envying their past, a romanticized past to say the least, but envying it nonetheless.  And envy is rooted in a thankless heart that knows no gratitude, which is ungrateful for the things God has provided for it.  Manna was not enough.  Indeed, it had become too much.  They wanted meat.  So God gave them meat to eat.  But once again, with the answer came the judgment.  (Did someone say, “Be careful what you wish for?”)

Ours is such a world, and we are such a people.  We have become so impulsive that we are quite unaware how demanding we are.  If we want it, we get it, simply because we can have it.  And now that we’ve had it so many times, we find ourselves unable to not keep getting it.  The world told us that this was freedom, that this was progress.  But now we find that our impulses now dominate us, and we are less free than we ever were, slaves to our appetites, servants to our desires, minions to our passions.  The world has made shells of what Christ would make of us.

The Church needs freemen and freewomen of God.  Christ died to set us free.  And through him, we can be free indeed (John 8:31-36; Romans 6-8).

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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