This excerpt from “Beauty for Ashes Part 5” is written by George H. Warnock–a beloved brother in Christ. Exposing how self centeredness led to wrong expression of emotions which eventually led the children of God to idolatry (worship of things and the enemy of their God and their souls). This holds a lesson for us today, as we seek a simple and truthful walk with God.
Quail Instead of Manna
The people of God were on their way to Canaan. Even in their much murmuring and complaining God had been faithfully making every provision for them: manna from heaven that provided absolutely every nutrient that they needed for physical health and strength. Water out of the Rock… pure and fresh, and so mingled with the life of God that it was called “spiritual drink”. The Cloud of His presence overshadowed them by day and by night. Briefly stated, Moses declared:
“Thou hast lacked nothing”. But they got tired of it all. The vision of Canaan became something far-out and strange. This precious food God gave them became something they loathed. It didn’t satisfy their fleshly appetites anymore. It didn’t seem to fill them up. (We have dealt with all this at some length in the writing “Beauty For Ashes Part II – A Way Through The Wilderness“).
They complained to Moses, and Moses told God about it… and God said “I will send them flesh to satisfy the lusts of their hearts… I will send so much of it they will not know how to handle it”. What a strong warning to us in this day! If we forsake the vision of those “far-out” fruits of Canaan land, and continue crying out for temporal blessings… God might listen to our cries! God sent them so much fleshly blessing it seemed to fall like rain from the sky,–but it was a blessing that became a curse. The prophet Malachi said, “If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart… I will curse your blessings” (Mal. 2:2).
Even while God was blessing them and answering their prayers, they were “sinning against Him” “provoking Him”… “Tempting Him”… “Speaking against Him”… “Limiting Him”. (See Psa. 78). I know God is blessing His people today in copious showers everywhere. But in many cases there are resentments and murmurings against God and man, hard-feelings, unforgiving attitudes of the heart. And perhaps most of this stems from lack of vision for the true riches. The deeper life that comes in abiding union with Christ is set at naught for the enjoyment of temporary blessings that soon wither away.
In the morning God “rained” manna on them from heaven. And at eventide He “rained” flesh on them by an east wind, (In the scriptures the “east wind” speaks of blight, and drought, and judgment). And while He was answering their prayer His anger was kindled against them.
He “opened the doors of heaven, and had rained down manna upon them… He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowls as the sand of the sea” (Psa. 78:21-27). It wasn’t something the Devil sent. God sent it… because they insisted they were starving to death with that loathsome manna. Actually they were never so healthy in their lives. There was not one “feeble one among them” as they walked with God, and partook of His provision with thankful hearts. The leanness they thought they had, kept them in good health and strength. They thought they were too “lean” by eating the manna; but when they ate the quail, God “sent leanness into their soul” (Psa. 106:15).
Notice this very awesome fact: While they were chewing on the food that God sent them, “The wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them” (Psa. 78:31).
Now if all this sounds strange and perplexing it is because we do not understand Gods righteous judgments. We can see an enactment of this same story right in our midst today. Once again in the midst of the Church we have “a mixed multitude” who have “mixed desires” (See Num. 11:4). We better seek the Lord earnestly that He would purge from our hearts every desire that is not from Him. Because if we want God, but want carnal blessings along with it,–God may send the manna in the morning, and the quail in the evening. “Purge our hearts, Lord, from evil desire, that we might delight ourselves only in Thee.”
What did Moses the prophet of God mean by telling His people that they have “lacked nothing”!? Was He lying? Because, the people were still in the wilderness not in a posh neighborhood, didn’t have houses, their children were not in schools that will guarantee their earthly futures, didn’t own chariots (admirable cars), the girls available for the boys to marry and vice versa didn’t have bright future, their husbands and wives were not doing so well like those of other nations etc. These are the things that had the highest priority in their hearts and not having them, created excessive bother to them, made them hurt, sad, sorrowful, bitter and jealous and then, rebellious against God’s servants, murmur, and eventually lead them to idolatry.
If the same lust for things hidden in their hearts is in our own hearts, in the time of exposing what is in the heart (time of testing) why would we think it wouldn’t lead us to end the same way they ended except for the few who knew what the faith was really meant for. Which is, to worship, edify His people and teach pagans to accept the God of Israel and stop crisis crossing the earth for cucumber which lasts only for a season!
If we have Christ indeed, we lack nothing! All the blessings God can give to us to prove He loves us and that we belong to Him is Christ in our spirit and soul. Christians who realize this truth enjoy this present life while it lasts through every circumstance (rich or poor not withstanding). If you’re a minister of the gospel, don’t let the graveyard preach this truth more than you do! For it will be a shame to you! Selah!