“And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting (had a strong craving): and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh (meat) to eat? We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.”Number 11:4-6
I was a child who was brought up in church, and we never missed. Even in times of snow in Chicago, we slid our way a few miles to the church house. My parents took the biblical commandment to heart and obeyed and honored God in this way. As I got older, I still attended church, and I must say I was not always thrilled to go. I was over 18 at the time, but the rule of the house was if you lived in the house, you were required to go to church. I never questioned the rule because I knew there was no arguing with it. I knew if I wanted to live in the house, then I must go to church. I did not always mind going, but there were times I wished I could have stayed home.
I think back to the times when my beloved Cowboys were playing or when the Suns were going through their championship run. I envied those who were able to stay home and watch the game. I missed out on the Super Bowls and often had to hear about how great they were the next day at school. Some of my classmates would discuss how funny the commercials were, and at the time, I grumbled under my breath about the preaching I had to listen to. I was envious of those who did not have to go to church, and I wished I could be the one at home cheering on my favorite team. I failed to realized the treasure of hearing God’s Word and the impact it would have on my life for all of eternity.
I looked at the temporary things of the world, and I held them in great respect. I did not realize at the time that my life would never be changed by the outcome of a football or basketball game, but I have experienced life-changing things in a church service. I have heard about the goodness of my God, and I have been convicted of sin in my life that required immediate change. I did not realize the privilege of having parents who cared enough about their relationship with God that they would fully obey Him in not forsaking the assembling of God’s people. I was given something far greater than the temporal enjoyment of sports, and yet I longed for that which held no eternal value.
I was much like the children of Israel as I sought the things of the world over that which God had provided for me. The children of Israel were given manna (miraculous bread from heaven) as they journeyed to the Promised Land, but yet they longed for the food that had filled their bellies in Egypt. They chose to omit from their memory the fact that they were slaves to the Egyptians, and they forgot about all their hardships. They chose to remember the fish they had eaten and all the ingredients that had accompanied it. They did not want the manna much like I did not want to hear the preaching of the Word. They forgot about God’s deliverance and they were not content with what God had provided. They longed for the days of enslavement over the path that God was leading them on. I feel foolish now for how I thought in these days, but I sometimes still need a reminder of what is eternal over what is temporal.
Where are you today? Do you long for the things of the world over the things of God? Do you long for the days when you were enslaved to sin over the days of freedom in Christ? Are you thankful for God’s deliverance or do you long for your days in “Egypt”? May we cherish that which is eternal, and may we not look back to that which will soon pass away.