10And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy. 11And the waters covered their enemies: there was not one of them left. 12Then believed they his words; they sang his praise. 13They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel: 14But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. 15And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.
Sometimes, perhaps often, what we want is not what we need. Often times we ask God for things that are physical in nature, and we neglect Him. We neglect what we need. The Israelites wanted meat. They didn’t need meat. They complained and lusted after the physical. They were the chosen people of God who began to think they deserve it, rather than recognizing the amazing love and blessing from God. We, as Christians, do the same thing. We neglect what He has already done. And then we wonder why when He answers that prayer for what we wanted, we are not satisfied. Too often we pursue another thing instead of pursuing God.
God is the one who can fill our emptiness. God is the one who fills our leanness. God doesn’t want, and won’t allow, us to be filled with the physical things that capture our minds – so He sends leanness. God may answer our prayers and give them to us, but that physical desire not what concerns God. God wants us to be close to Him.
Lest we think God is cruel or vindictive in this, there is purpose in this leanness. It is that we might turn from our starvation and turn to Him – the Living Water, the One by whom all things consist, the One who brings meaning to our lives.
1 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; 2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. 3 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. 4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. 5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: 6 When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. 7 Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. 8 My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.
This is what the leanness is to cause in us. This feeling of starvation and dehydration that causes us to follow hard after God. Like a hunter arises before dawn to pursue the prey, we are to early follow hard after Him. We are to pursue Him with all of our strength – and nothing else. Nothing is to take that place. Nothing is to be to us more of a priority than God, because it is His right hand that holds us. It is His blessing and strength that enable us.
What are you praying for today, and this week? Is it that you might know God better? Is it that you might see Him? Is it that He might open your eyes to reveal Himself? These are the things we should ask for. When we begin to plead for the physical lusts of our hearts and minds, God will send a leanness into our souls to drive us back to Him. Let us not get to that point. Let us seek Him early.