Reading: Psalm 78:23-31
Yet he gave a command to the skies above
and opened the doors of the heavens;
he rained down manna for the people to eat,
he gave them the grain of heaven.
Human beings ate the bread of angels;
he sent them all the food they could eat.
He let loose the east wind from the heavens
and by his power made the south wind blow.
He rained meat down on them like dust,
birds like sand on the seashore.
He made them come down inside their camp,
all around their tents.
They ate till they were gorged—
he had given them what they craved.
But before they turned from what they craved,
even while the food was still in their mouths,
God’s anger rose against them;
he put to death the sturdiest among them,
cutting down the young men of Israel (NIV).*
Several years ago, I received some wise counsel from a pastor. He said, “Be careful what you pray for. You may get what you want. And that’s not always a good thing.”
What happens when we get exactly what we want? For the answer to that question, we should consult with million-dollar lottery winners. Obviously, they got what they wanted when they bought their lottery ticket. Sociologists who do long-term studies on lottery winners will tell you in some cases winning the “big one” ends in disaster. Some people have managed to fritter away millions in a perpetual party lifestyle that leaves them physically broken and bankrupt in less than five years. Others have maintained their wealth and their health, but they have become socially isolated with family relationships in ruins. Getting what we want and more than we need doesn’t always end well.
In today’s reading from Psalm 78, we learn that despite Israel’s rebellious ways, God gave the people exactly what they wanted and more than they needed. Human beings ate the bread of angels; he sent them all the food they could eat.
The greatest temptation we face may not be denying God in the face of poverty, but rather neglecting Him amid wealth. When God gives us the wealth we want, the end result may be the impoverishment of our spirit. Be careful what you pray.
Response: LORD God, help me to find my contentment in you and not in the abundance of my possessions. If your blessings come, help me to be a wise and generous manager who seeks first the Kingdom of God. Amen.
Your Turn: Have your answered prayers led to regrets later on? Have you prayed short-sighted prayers while God has the full perspective? The Lord has the long view.
* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA
Please pray for the people of Ukraine!
Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award and for those who love God’s word, it’s an ideal way to daily meet with the Lord. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.