Home > Scripture Reflections, spiritual formation > Getting what you want

Getting what you want

A troubling verse, Psalm 106:15, “He gave them what they asked, but sent a wasting disease among them.” ESV.  The KJV says, “He sent leanness into their soul.”

The context to which the Psalm refers is the wilderness wanderings of the children of Israel (Num 11:31-35). Apparently, sometimes, God will give us what we want even if it is not the best.

Reading this week in Psalm 107.  Give thanks to the LORD because He is good, because His lovingkindness endures forever.  Four times, the people get into desperate situations in this Psalm–wandering around and hungry and thirsty (5), in darkness and in bondage (10), suffering because of their foolish and sinful choices (17) and going crazy with terror as they faced evil (26-7).  But each time (6, 13, 19, 28), “They cried to the LORD in their trouble and he delivered them from their distress.”  And following each deliverance, the Psalmist warns (?) them (8, 15, 21, 31)

“Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of men”

I asked myself, “What is it that I want? For what do I hunger and thirst?”  Mtt 6:33 and 5:6 teach me how to be satisfied with appropriate longing.

Too often, my craving is not for righteousness and for holiness.  I am grateful for the times when the LORD does not give me what I am craving.  Maybe it would be valuable for me to do some fasting and reflect on the things for which I crave.

Pretty clear from Psalm 107–God can turn that which may look like a river into a desert and that which is a desert into a soul quenching spring (33-38).

May we refuse to be satisfied by anyone or anything apart from God.  May our longing be for Him!

  1. Karen B.
    May 18, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    David, thanks for this post. Timely for me as I’ve been reading and reflecting on Ps. 78 today which has quite a few parallels to Ps. 107. Check out this passage (NIV) on the dangers of getting what we crave – putting anything above God is deadly:

    Ps 78:15-33
    15 He split the rocks in the desert and gave them water as abundant as the seas;
    16 he brought streams out of a rocky crag and made water flow down like rivers.
    17 But they continued to sin against him, rebelling in the desert against the Most High.
    18 They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved.
    19 They spoke against God, saying, “Can God spread a table in the desert?
    20 When he struck the rock, water gushed out, and streams flowed abundantly. But can he also give us food? Can he supply meat for his people?”
    21 When the LORD heard them, he was very angry; his fire broke out against Jacob, and his wrath rose against Israel,
    22 for they did not believe in God or trust in his deliverance.
    23 Yet he gave a command to the skies above and opened the doors of the heavens;
    24 he rained down manna for the people to eat, he gave them the grain of heaven.
    25 Men ate the bread of angels; he sent them all the food they could eat.
    26 He let loose the east wind from the heavens and led forth the south wind by his power.
    27 He rained meat down on them like dust, flying birds like sand on the seashore.
    28 He made them come down inside their camp, all around their tents.
    29 They ate till they had more than enough, for he had given them what they craved.
    30 But before they turned from the food they craved, even while it was still in their mouths,
    31 God’s anger rose against them; he put to death the sturdiest among them, cutting down the young men of Israel.
    32 In spite of all this, they kept on sinning; in spite of his wonders, they did not believe.
    33 So he ended their days in futility and their years in terror.

    • May 18, 2010 at 7:55 pm

      Knew there was another Psalm that was related. Yep, vv29-30 are sobering! Thanks

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