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He Gave Them Their Request, But ...

      By Fern Horst

"And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul." (Psalm 106:15)

Throughout my life I have often made requests to God for various things which I really, really wanted. But usually just as quickly the Lord reminds me of this verse, and I'm quick to also pray, "But Lord, more than this particular thing which I really desire, I want your will to be done."

This verse in Psalms is referring to the Israelites who murmured and complained about their circumstances on the journey from slavery and bondage to the Promised Land. God had delivered them from so much and performed miracle after miracle that proved His great love and faithfulness to them. Yet again and again they focused on the moment and what they didn't have. In their ungratefulness they insisted that God give them what they desired - what they thought would make their journey more pleasant for them.

And so God gave them what they asked for, but along with their request they suffered a greater loss: their souls became "lean". For the believer who wants to grow in the Lord, who wants to make Him their first love, who wants to follow Him with all their heart, soul, and mind, this is a dire warning.

The journey which the Israelites made from slavery to the Promised Land is symbolic of our own journey from the bondage of sin to our Heavenly Home. This life here on earth is the journey. It is so easy for us to do as the Israelites did: murmur and complain about how unpleasant this journey is. We think, if only we had this or that - a nicer place to live, someone to live with us (a spouse would be nice), a better job, a church that understands us and meets our needs - then life would be so much easier.

But we must also remember that our Heavenly Father has a plan for each one of us, a plan to fulfill His purpose through us, to give us a healthy soul instead of a weak and sickly one, and He knows just how to accomplish this. Insisting that life goes our way, instead of His, may result in our getting what we want - but we will pay a high price in the health of our soul.

© 2001 Fern Horst

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