I just finished a slow read/investigation through Exodus. Interestingly, at the same time I am preparing for a 24-hour class that requires reading a book by Mike Wilkerson, “Redemption”[i], in which the author uses the Israelite people’s Exodus and wilderness wanderings as his primary theme and illustration. This was totally unplanned by me but certainly planned by God.
Perhaps you recall the manna that God provided for the Israelites on their journey. He gave very clear instructions that they were to gather just enough for their family for five days a week and enough for two days on the day before Sabbath, and none on Sabbath. Yet some did not heed God’s command and gathered more than they needed and tried to store it overnight. But they did not listen to Moses. Some left part of it till the morning, and it bred worms and stank, Exodus 16:20.
Wilkerson writes: “If we could interview one of those Israelites trying to gather a little too much manna, what do you suppose he’d say? I think he would say something like this: ‘What’s so wrong with providing for my family, with protecting them against starvation?’ … But here’s the problem. The Israelites didn’t have just a natural desire for food; they wanted food, and they wanted it on their terms, and they disbelieved God would provide. So they tried to take matters into their own hands…As subtle as their grumbling and hoarding may seem, God’s test revealed their truly significant sinfulness. He was concerned not only to fill their stomachs but also to expose their hearts.” (pg. 107).
What’s so wrong with… natural desires? Nothing. There is nothing wrong with natural desires. But, as Wilkerson reminds us “We live moment by moment—thought, word, and deed—coram Deo, before the face of God.”(pg. 110). Are we seeking to fulfill our natural desires our own way or do we trust God to fulfill them in a way that glorifies Him?
Sometimes we can reason our way to an answer to get what we want, when we want it, the way we want it and it seems perfectly normal and natural. What’s wrong with that?
Maybe nothing or maybe we are just seeking to fulfill our desires on our terms with little or no thought to Almighty God. If we live coram Deo, and we do, believer and unbeliever alike, then every choice, every thought, every decision, every action, every attitude – expressed or not – is seen by God. But it’s not just seen by God, everything we do, think, and say is an expression of our hearts before God. It speaks of what we believe to be true about God.
[i] Mike Wilkerson. Redemption: Freed by Jesus from the idols we worship and the wounds we carry. Published by Crossway. 2011.
Diane Hunt serves part time on the staff of America’s Keswick providing ministry support from her home in North Carolina. She is also a Biblical Counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.