Marshmallows and Creamy Filling
“Who will give us meat to eat? For it was better for us in Egypt.” Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you shall eat . . . until it comes out at your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have rejected the Lord. Numbers 11:18-20
In reading today’s passage, I could not help but remember those times when I have eaten a thing until I came to loathe it. Whether it’s picking all the marshmallows out of a box of cereal or collecting all the creamy filling out of Oreos, I have done it, and regretted it. In stuffing myself until I can’t eat anymore, I have come to know the misery of surrendering to my appetite.
As amusing as this is with creamy filling, it is far more destructive when it comes to other appetites. When I first took a pain pill, I fell in love with the feeling. What if I could feel this way all the time? As with the marshmallows, it was great at first. The euphoria faded eventually though, and all I was left with was my destructive behavior. I became profoundly sick in surrendering to my appetite.
The Israelites found themselves in a similar situation in today’s passage. Bored with the manna God provided, they longed for the meat back in Egypt. Having miraculously delivered them from slavery, God was irritated with their discontent and said if they wanted meat, they could have it, until it came out of their nostrils. God sent thousands of quail to eat, but the with the quail came a deadly plague.
Our appetites, while they may seem harmless at first, often lead us to misery in the end. When we indulge in just a little lust, greed, pride, gossip, anger or inappropriate affirmation, we find some pleasure in it, at first. Then, as we surrender more and more of ourselves, we come to know the misery that God was trying to save us from in the first place.
We think we are missing out on the pleasure of the creamy filling when we deny our appetite, but if we choose, we can see that God is saving us from the misery of ourselves. In following God, we may miss out on the marshmallow, but we will always grow life, joy and peace in its place.