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In the first installment of my blog I figured it would be best to write on something I am very familiar with: sin. Not just any sin, but one of my favorite sins; a sin that has begun to wreck my relationships with the Lord and with others. What sin am I thinking of? Well, it goes by many names, yet for simplicity’s sake we’ll call it the sin of CRAVING. I never heard a sermon on the sin of craving. As a matter of fact, I never figured craving could be a sin, unless one is craving illegal drugs or something sinful.
A working definition for the sin of craving would be “intense desire.” The term is used in the Bible to describe something “harmless” like food, or harmful like sexual immorality. We may use the term “love” in place of “craving” but this can be confusing, so be careful! It is GOOD to love…after all, loving God and loving our neighbor are the Great Commandment. HOWEVER, love of fun, of security, of family, marriage, or children can quickly become CRAVINGS once our love towards them challenges God’s place. In reality these cravings are nothing more than IDOLS. When we crave what God does not have for us, we make it clear to God that He is not enough; that we must have whatever we want in order to make us happy and to find acceptance.
In the Bible, we see that the Children of Israel engaged in this same sin of craving with much worse results. While in the desert, the people were craving quail in a big way. There is nothing wrong with quail—I love the taste myself, yet instead of being satisfied with the tasty manna that God daily provided for them, they allowed themselves to be overtaken by craving. The people wept about it and complained saying, “Who will give us meat to eat? For it was better for us in Egypt” (Num. 11:18). Psalm 78 describes this incident as it reads, “They sinned still more against him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert. They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved.” So, the Israelites not only desired what God did not want them to have, they went further and craved it, which led to them demanding something from God that He in his wisdom and goodness knew was not best for them. Sadly they continued this craving until God eventually gave them the quail they so desperately wanted. They would not bow to God’s sovereignty in their lives; they would not live by faith, they would not accept that the Lord knew best, that HE was all that they needed. So what happened? Well the Lord gave them their quail—thousands upon thousands of these tasty birds, and “while the meat was yet between their teeth, before it was consumed, the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord struck down the people with a very great plague. Therefore the name of that place was called Kibroth-hat-taavah, because there they buried the people who had the craving” (Num. 11:33-34).
Thankfully we live under the New Covenant, yet what is the lesson of this story? After all, “whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Rom. 15:4).
I think this is the lesson: there are certain desires that we have in our lives that do not come from God. In their embryonic stage, these desires may be sinful, yet many of them are not sinful. However, once those “not sinful” desires become “cravings”, they take on a life of their own. These cravings seek to remove the Lord as the Great Lover of our souls and we seek happiness and acceptance elsewhere. It happens slowly at times, almost imperceptibly. We find ourselves drawn to certain loves and when we can’t get our straining little fingers around them, we crave it all the more. Sadly this hurts our relationship with God who longs to be first in our lives…for our good and for His glory. These cravings also hurt our relationships with others, as we cannot love our neighbor rightly if we are consumed with our own cravings.
So…if you find yourself craving after some thing today, do two things:
- 1. Confess your craving to the Lord. Pour out your heart to Him, telling Him of your intense cravings and how these loves have been transformed into idols, which in turn have caused you to forsake the Lover of your soul. If you are like me, tell Him you can’t seem to stop it—don’t hold back for He already knows!
- 2. Accept the fact that He truly does know what is best for you! If you are a believer, you know that He is “working all things together for your good” (Rom. 8:28) and He is a “Good, Good Father” (as Chris Tomlin sings). In spite of you not loving Him as you should, you are GREATLY loved by Him—He sent His own Son to die for you. So, accept it—He is enough!