From Numbers 11:
Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat!5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. 6 But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”
Here is God’s response
18 And say to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat, for you have wept in the hearing of the Lord, saying, “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. 19 You shall not eat just one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, 20 but a whole month, until it comes out at your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have rejected the Lord who is among you and have wept before him, saying, “Why did we come out of Egypt?”
Numbers 11 is a troubling story that poignantly illustrates the draw of food on our bodies, minds and spirits. The people wept to go back to Egypt! Why? Because they had food there. Meat and fish, fruits and vegetables. They did not want food that would simply nourish the body. They wanted to satisfy an appetite that the scripture describes as “strong craving.”
Go back to Egypt?!?! Really???? That’s where their babies were thrown in the river! That’s where they were beaten and broken in forced labor camps. That’s where every imaginable human freedom was taken away from them. But they cried to go back…for the food.
OK all of us pot luck aficionados; will the church have ears to hear? According to Fox News we are significantly fatter than the general population. Processed food, genetically modified food, food industrially grown in depleted soil with chemical fertilizers–our American food is much more likely to come out of a drive thru window or a sealed bag or box than out of the ground or pasture. Research over the past decade clearly links this food to chronic illness in our youngest children as well as our senior citizens and everyone in between.
If God’s anger burned against the children of Israel because of their desire for pagan food, what does He require of us? The church today is called to walk in health which is God’s will for every one of us. But we are more like the people in Numbers 11 than we want to admit. Most of us choose to stay in our food Egypt. We are addicted to sugar–Americans consume an average of 150 pounds of sugar per year–each! Diabetes is the most expensive disease in the world, and it is directly related to our refusal to leave our food Egypt.
Sugar is also closely related to the increase in Alzheimer’s disease. The Journal of Neurology published a study of over 1,000 patients with dementia, and found when blood sugar remains high two hours after a meal, there is a high risk of dementia, and the risk is doubled when there is a diagnosis of diabetes. Alzheimer’s deaths have increased 15,000 percent from 1968 to 2005. Studies point to exposure to chemical fertilizers and processed foods. Parkinson’s is also linked to pesticide exposure in multiple large scale studies.
If there is one thing Numbers 11 teaches us it is this–eating is a spiritual issue that God cares deeply about. And one more time, [please don’t be offended] I am here to give you a very radical proposal–will you give your appetite for food to God?
When I was 57 years old, my doctor gave me some very troubling news about a tumor on my ovaries, and some suspicious spots on my liver. I had arthritis that made it difficult to get dressed, and it was painful to walk up and down stairs. My daughter who was a senior in high school was approaching 300 pounds. The irony of it all is, I thought we were healthy eaters. We didn’t buy potato chips. I cooked a lot at home, though we were lovers of Papa Johns, Burger King and Krispy Kreme. I figured out how to get out of Egypt.
The children of Israel were not satisfied with food that merely nourished the body. They craved the titillation of the taste buds. Like us, who don’t care that disease and misery are down the road if we do not deny the fleshly appetites that are harming the body by which we are commanded to glorify God.
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. I Corinthians 6:20
Now our children are suffering our gross neglect and sinful gluttony:
- 54% of the children in this country have one or more chronic illness.
- There has been a 300% increase in Asthma in the last 30 years (6.7 million kids are affected)
- 12 million of our kids have Type 2 Diabetes (this is a lifestyle and diet related illness, not genetic)
- Obesity rates have tripled in children in the last 30 years (17% of children between ages 2 and 19 are either very overweight or obese)
- 7.3 million kids suffer from allergies
- The CDC reports: 1 in 6 children have either a neurological, developmental or behavioral disorder
- 1 in 6 children in public schools now receive special education
- ADHD affects 5 million children
- 1 in 7 school aged children receive antipsychotic medication
- The Autism rate which was 1 in 5000 30 years ago, is now according to recently released numbers from the CDC,1 in 45
- And finally, the infant mortality rate of a country is one of the most important indicators of its health as a nation. It is the number of deaths of infants under the age of one year old per 1000 live births. Currently, according to the CDC, the US has the highest infant mortality rate of all 27 developed countries. Despite the fact that we spend more on healthcare by far than any other country in the world, a baby born in the US today is less likely to see his first birthday than one born in Hungary, Poland or Slovakia.
Why did God make us to love food so much??????
And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live. Deuteronomy 8:3
The hunger for food has a divine purpose and God’s anger burned against the children of Israel when they refused to accept it. God wants us to learn to deny our most basic desires and make Him our supreme and only treasure. Romans teaches us we cannot live for the flesh and walk in the Spirit. I want to live on every Word of God. This draw of sugar and processed potato chips is at my right hand. I will cut it off and cast it from me.
I declare with Job today, “I will esteem the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” [Job 23:12] Lord, feed me today with Your words until I never hunger or thirst again. To learn more, visit http://www.AppetiteForGod.com