Never Enough (Part 3)
By bro Alvin Lin
God was leading the Israelites to the Promised Land but it was never enough for them.
And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD! And why have ye brought up the congregation of the LORD into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there? And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink. (Num 20:3-5)
God took very good care of the Israelites in their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness such that “they lacked nothing; their clothes waxed not old, and their feet swelled not” (Neh 9:21), and He was bringing them to “a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not” and “vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not” (Jos 24:13), but they rebelled against Him (Num 20:10). Rebelliousness is a powerful deterrent to contentment because we want things our way and in our own time. Their rebellion caused Moses to miss out on entering Canaan. Likewise, a rebellious spirit brings “grief” to those who rule and watch over us (Heb 13:17).
God was training the Israelites through their wandering but it was never enough for them.
And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. (Num 21:5)
God allowed the Israelites to suffer hunger to teach them that “man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live” (Deu 8:3). God fed them with manna, but their discouragement clouded them to the teachings and they considered the bread worthless (Num 21:4-5). Discouragement is a powerful deterrent to contentment because we become pessimistic and react negatively to adverse situations. Our Lord is the antitype to the manna as the “bread of life” (Joh 6:35) and the “living bread” (Joh 6:51) who gives eternal life to all men. Likewise, those who learn from the “things were written aforetime” receive hope “through patience and comfort of the scriptures” (Rom 15:4).
From the life of the Israelites, we have seen how seeds of discontentment can be sowed through fear, impatience, forgetfulness, taking God for granted, lust, rebelliousness, and discouragement. Are we like the Israelites where God’s blessings are never enough for us, or do we realize that our cup “runneth over” (Psa 23:5)? Benjamin Franklin once said, “Contentment makes poor men rich; discontentment makes rich men poor.” Let us learn “in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Php 4:11), for “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1Ti 6:6).