At night, I’m reading a kids’ version of The Pilgrim’s Progress to my boys. It has been a fun read because it takes me back to the first time I read the original version in Seminary a few years ago. If you haven’t read this book from the 1600’s by John Bunyan, I highly recommend it.
The kids’ version goes by a different title, The Dangerous Journey, which I think is a great title after reading the original allegory. Bunyan wrote this little classic to depict the ongoing struggles Christians face, even after his/her burden of sin has been removed at the moment of salvation.
Reading this book to my boys has been a vivid reminder of how hard walking the narrow path with God can be.
In Exodus 16, the people of Israel are grumbling before the Lord because they are hungry and have nothing to eat in the wilderness. They said, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” (Exodus 16:3)
Can you believe that? God has just delivered these people from 400 years of slavery, and they are now grumbling because their stomachs are empty and they want to go back and eat the meat pots and bread they once enjoyed in Egypt (as slaves).
Israel grumbled because walking with God in the wilderness lacked some of the amenities they were accustomed to in Egypt. They were missing the simple pleasures of the meat pots they had enjoyed back in their days of slavery, so much that they would rather die with those pleasures in Egypt, than hunger in this wilderness with God.
Here’s what God reminded me from this chapter, and from Bunyan’s book The Pilgrim’s Progress; the narrow path we walk as Christians will lack some of the pleasure of this world we once enjoyed.
Here’s the truth, some of those things you once enjoyed before Christ are no longer acceptable now that you are in Christ. So when your belly aches for those meat pots of your past, you must remember that God offers you something better, and longer lasting.
As the people grumbled for the meat pots and bread of Egypt, God didn’t give them what they wanted, He gave them something better. He rained down truer bread from heaven and gave them quail in the evenings. In others words, God didn’t fill their desires with the pleasure of Egypt, He filled their desires with the pleasure of heaven.
And if you turn to John chapter 6, you will ultimately see those pleasures of heaven are given in the person of Jesus Christ, the true Bread of Life.
So in your suffering and longing for those old meat pots of this world that your flesh once enjoyed, remember that God has not only taken those away, He has also replaced them with something much better. He has given you Jesus and daily feasting on Him will keep you satisfied forevermore.