Led away by our own desires
An interesting study to do is to go back to the Torah (first 5 books of the bible) and notice how many times the children of Israel got side tracked because of their belly. Often times when we are in the wilderness, the boot camp of our faith walk, we forget we are on the path to our destination and our pit stop isn’t permanent. We get discouraged and begin to believe that the place God has for us is not as good as the place we left. Like the children of Israel we remember the leeks and melons, but forget the harsh bondage, and misery that came along with it. The fallacy is we think if only we have this or that we will be satisfied or happy, but lust knows no boundaries, when it finds one, it only pushes it out further.
Read Numbers 11:4-6,
Notice the order of events, first, the mixt multitude fell a lusting. How many of us as children murmured against our parents because of something we wanted that our friends or neighbors had that our parents didn’t give us? So often when we read the story of Adam and Eve, or the children of Israel we think to ourselves how could they do this or that. We think to ourselves if it were us we would never have done that. Yet, we like our forefather Adam, and like the children of Israel make the same choices they made every day, and it starts as that child who murmurs for that thing they want that the other kids have.
Be careful who you allow to speak into your ear. Often times the very thing that causes us to sin against God is not so much the voices from without as it was in this case, but also the voice from within the home. What magazines or books you read, what shows or movies you watch, what commercials catch your attention or what music is buzzing in your ear. As believers some of us know sexual immorality is wrong and therefore we tend to stay away from that arena of sin, but food is another challenge. As I consider the wilderness time of the children of Israel I don’t recall as many incidences with sexual sin recorded as I do this sin over complaining about food or water. A failure to understand that God is our Father leads us to not trust that He has a future for us. Addictions to the things of this world come as a result of not trusting that God has a promise land in our future. When we lose sight of the future even that which is essential to life can become an instrument that leads to our demise. So question number one to ask yourself is who are you listening to?
Question number two would be to what part of our past are we clinging too, and is our view of our past balanced? The next thing we see that got them in trouble is what they remembered at the exclusion of the cost. They remembered the substance of Egypt, but forgot the suffering that came with it. If you ever married a person who was once married before they married you, or even married someone who dated someone before you, consider this scenario, how would you feel if that person said things to you like, my Ex gave me this or that or did this or that for me when I was with them? You’d probably do whatever it was they asked you for, just as Yah provided for them, but you wouldn’t be happy about how they approached you to get it out of you. Remember the context here; God has just taken these people to be His, in Exodus 20 they come to the mount to take vows to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Before they even get to the mount they proclaim whatever He says they will do. He tells them if they will obey he will make them a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.1 When we marry someone we take vows and among them is ‘forsaking all others’ we vow to be true to that one individual. So for them to say what their other husband (Egypt) did for them would be equivalent to a bride telling her husband what her ex-boyfriend or ex-husband did for her. It is so easy to become discontent when we allow our temporary circumstances to become our permanent fixation. Losing focus of the goal can lead to a dismal view of our current circumstances. Discontentment can lead to making poor choices in life. Notice the statement made in v.6 by the children of Israel, they said their soul is dried away because of a substance (food). What we are truly living for and what we attribute to be life to us will come out when we are squeezed hard enough. When our contentment is not in Christ, it is very easy to develop substance abuse, and this is what we see taking place today within the Church.
The Christian Crack
It comes in two forms you can have it grainy or powdery, but the color is white. Its mind altering, mood changing, and addictive, I know to most people reading this you may think I am talking about cocaine or crack. But no, this substance is sugar and it comes in many forms and it is found in many foods and beverages. It is the underlying cause of diabetes, chronic debilitating diseases like arthritis, heart disease and its substance can lower the immune system for at least 15 minutes making you susceptible to airborne diseases. While many people in the Church are less likely to engage in alcohol abuse, illegal drug abuse, somehow food and especially sugar has this mind altering affect that leaves us prey for having to take legal drugs to control its damaging effects. Just like alcohol or any other substance abuse we can’t stop this substance cold turkey, but have to be weaned off. So much so that just like NA (narcotics anonymous), and AA (alcoholics anonymous), there is now a request for OA (Obesity Anonymous). We are quick to tell our children to beware of drugs, stay away from alcohol, don’t engage in premarital sex, yet we say nothing as it relates to this substance. We even associate this substance as if it is a good thing by using it as a reward for our kids doing that which is favorable. Teaching them by extension to associate such things as desirable indulges and then we wonder why they crave it. While sugar is the substance I am focusing on it applies to more than just that. We reward ourselves with other such addictive, life leaching substances as greasy foods like fried chicken, fish, burgers, pizza’s, and the like. Fulfilling the prophecy that says to us woe to those who call good evil, and evil good.2
Like our forefather’s in the wilderness complaining about the manna, Yah gave us what we wanted.
The outcome then, is the same as it is now, a premature death. Obesity is a problem that is associated with a lack of controlling what you eat, it has become the plague of the body of Christ today. Like the plague did back then obesity is taking us out slowly but surely. If it isn’t the direct cause for our illness it is a factor in causing infertility due to its affects on the reproductive organs. While statistics can be provided to prove this is indeed an issue within the Church it isn’t needed. Just go to any church and count, go randomly, go regularly, turn on any Christian television program and count. Please understand if you are reading this and you suffer from chronic health diseases associated with lack of being able to control your eating that I am not disparaging you. Hear me when I say I am bringing this to the table to set you free. I want to give you a wake up call, one that the children of Israel who died as a result of this plague in the wilderness didn’t take heed too. They were carried away by their lust, it is my prayer that as you read this you will see that the end of your dietary choices will lead to death if you don’t change and that death will not just stop at you. Think of this rather as the LOUDEST WAKEUP CALL of your life. Before you eat that donut, drink that diet coke, or consume that cheesecake, think about your future. Think about your kids, do you really want to leave this earth because you couldn’t control what you eat? The greatest challenge you face is the greatest challenge the children of Israel faced in the wilderness, can I trust Yah that His plans are greater for me then the challenges I face right now. The wilderness was their challenge, because they had to trust God, someone they never saw to take them some where they never been, and they had to let go of everything they ever knew to trust that where they were headed was better than what they had. Many will die never trusting God to do that for them, and what will take them out won’t be drugs, alcohol, or sex, just as the majority in the wilderness weren’t taken out for that. What will take them out is their distrust of God, because rather than holding on to His promises they preferred to trust in their lusts, and they weren’t willing to give up what they had in their hand to apprehend their future. If you are reading this and you have a problem with food, then I am telling you as Joshua and Caleb tried to tell the children of Israel, what Yah has for you is much greater than your addiction.3 I know the addiction seems stronger than your ability to take the land ahead of you, but its not. You can possess the land of promise. I know the enemies that you face seem too big to conquer but remember, if God be for you who can be against you.4 Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.5
Food does have some differences from drugs in that it is a basic need of life which is what makes it a giant of an enemy to conquer. But as we just saw it’s not an enemy foreign to us that our forefather’s didn’t have to face. We all have giants to conquer, my giant might be a different one from yours, but ultimately anything that seems too big for you to conquer is your giant and is no less of one then the Anakites that Israel had to face in the wilderness. Yet, not facing the giant can cost you the promise land. The bible tells us the first group of people who will be in the lake that burns with fire are those who are fearful. Someone might say, why would those who are fearful end up in the lake of fire, surely the fearful shouldn’t be in the midst of murderers, whoremongers, idolaters, and the like. Yet, history teaches us that the final straw which cost those who came out of Egypt not to enter the promise land was their fear to fight the Anakites. On the surface it was fear, but on a Spiritual level it was a lack of trust in God. See, God was the one who said He would give them the land, so as Joshua and Caleb were pointing out, just based on the evidence of what He had done for them in bringing them out of Egypt that He was going to go before them. The problem we really face is not that we can’t stop the habits we have that leads towards death, but that we don’t trust God to bring us through it, and an even greater indictment against us is that we don’t trust that what He has for us is greater than what we had or have. It’s like a person not wanting to give up their apartment for a house. Rather then seeing it as a blessing from YHWH for them to pass down to their children, they only see the challenges that now they must face that they didn’t have to face when it belonged to someone else. So the mentality is if I get a house now I gotta keep up with maintenance, mow the lawn, fix the toilet, pay taxes on it, I’d rather rent from someone else and pay for their kids inheritance then work to purchase my own children’s inheritance.
So then, the question is why is it that people who have been delivered from bondage, become susceptible to falling back into it? Now I know we are looking at what happened when God brought the children out of Egypt, but weren’t we also brought out of a house of bondage? Didn’t Yahoshua pay the price to bring us out of the bondage of sin, and do we not find ourselves back in bondage? Is the story of these Hebrews in the wilderness not the same as ours? Is their story not written as an example for us?6 The Christian Post posted an article written by Matthew J. Feinstein that had an interesting revelation as it related to obesity in the church. The finding is interesting because the study followed people over time to make sure that the people who were obese didn’t fall under the category of people being attracted to Christianity because they were obese, but directly linking the statistics to people who were religious and obese. In other words, these are believers who overtime became obese.
So the question is why are believers susceptible to this epidemic? There are many reasons I would suggest. In 2001, I underwent five surgeries that should have been one. As a result of the ileostomy that I had temporarily installed my diet had to be altered to the extent that I could not eat raw vegetables. In fact all the foods that we should eat an abundance of was off limits to me. While it was the greatest trial of my life, at least at that point, looking back I can say it also was a blessing in disguise. The experience caused me to re-evaluate how I looked at food. The Father taught me lessons of discernment through choosing the foods I eat. I begin to understand that food can work for me or against me depending on how I viewed it. Not understanding the purpose of food leads to substance abuse, just as not understanding the purpose of your body can lead to sexual abuse. When we truly begin to understand that we were fearfully and wonderfully made, we begin to understand that verse means we were made with a purpose in mind, and that purpose was the highest purpose given to this existence we live in.8 Just imagine everything from day three to day six of the creation week was made for us to control.9 Yet, many of us are controlled by the substance we were created to subdue. How does this happen? This has happened because rather than adopting the mentality of Moses who was satisfied with being in the presence of God, we prefer to put more faith in the flesh having the lead. The father of lies once again perverts the order of Yah, as he did in deceiving Eve, such that not only is our households out of order, but even that which we have been given dominion over, has dominion over us. Imagine, Moses not once but twice spent 40 days and nights on the mount with Yah, having no food or water, yet survived. Don’t tell me our God can’t sustain us! We spend more time preparing meals then we did sitting in the presence of the Almighty. We’d rather get fat off of the physical food then be filled by the meat of the word. Many of us get angry if we have to stay in service passed lunch time, unless of course it is potluck, and others are more excited about the donuts then the Word coming forth. What’s wrong with this picture? Like the people seeking Yahoshua (Jesus), they weren’t there for Him, or even the miracles, but rather they were there for the food. 10
What are we seeking Yahoshua for? Are we there for the potluck dinners, or the cakes and donuts, or are we there because we recognize that He indeed is the bread of life. Because we know that His flesh is meat indeed and His blood is drink indeed. Do we desire Him more then our necessary food? 11 If we have that mentality we understand that we were not created to serve food, but rather that food was created to serve us, and as Yahoshua advised, we would labor for the meat that perisheth not. 12
1Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. (Exo 19:5-6)
2(Isa 5:20) Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
3 Numbers 13
4 (Rom 8:31) What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
5 (1Jn 4:4) Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
6(1Co 10:6) Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
7Firm Faith, Fat Body? Study Finds High Rate of Obesity among Religious ©2012 The Christian Post. All rights reserved. http://www.christianpost.com/news/firm-faith-fat-body-study-finds-high-rate-of-obesity-among-religious-49568/
8 (Psa 139:14) I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
9 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
10 (Joh 6:26) Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.
11Job 23:12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.
12 (Joh 6:27) Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.