God is not for Limitless Indulgences.
Food is one of the most challenging aspects of exercising self-control. Fortunately, there is a biblical concept about this that we can investigate and learn from. Did you know God used that portion control to teach His people self-control?
In Exodus 16, the entire Israelite community had just fled Egypt. It was a time of wilderness wandering; God was leading them in the desert. They began to grumble and complain to their leader, Moses, on the fifteenth day of the second month of their journey. “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt!” they said to Moses. We sat around pots of meat and ate as much as we wanted, but you’ve brought us out into the desert to starve this entire assembly to death” (Exo. 16:3). Take note of what the Israelites just said: they sat around pots of meat in Egypt, free to eat whatever they wanted. There were no restrictions, limitations, or boundaries. It was one indulgence after another.
They were a people in servitude and far from God in Egypt. The people of Israel were free and with God in the wilderness. Despite this, the Israelites appeared to prefer their life in Egypt due to their sinful nature! So here is God’s first lesson in portion control: unlimited and unrestricted indulgences may seem significant, but God disapproves of them. God is not pleased when there is endless and general indulgence.
God Gives Us What We Need
The Israelites complained that their physical needs were not being met. God provided for them because He is a compassionate God who always listens to His people’s heartfelt concerns. However, because God is a God of self-control rather than unlimited and unrestricted indulgence, He taught His people portion control. God accomplished this by raining down bread from heaven and bringing them meat, but with one condition: they were to gather only what they needed for the day. The result? Everyone had had enough. “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little; everyone had gathered just as much as they needed,” the Bible says (Exo. 16:17). The issue arose when people began taking more than they needed and storing food for the next day. When this happened, the bread God provided for them spoiled and became infested with maggots.
God was teaching the Israelites to rely on Him for everything they needed daily. God took it away from them when they relied on themselves for the next day’s provision. Excess meant indulgence, and indulgence did not come from God. When they had more than they were supposed to have, God took it away from them as well. As a result, the Israelites had to learn the lesson of portion control the hard way. God had taught them His truth through their stomachs.
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