Bread – Craving

June 20, 2012

Readings for Wednesday, June 20 designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Num. 11:24-35; Rom. 1:28-2:11; Matt. 18:1-9; Psalms 81, 82, 119:97-120


From our reading today in Numbers (with some paraphrasing by me): “…brought quail from the sea and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey {on each side of the camp) and about (a foot and a half deep). And the people rose all that day and all night and all the next day and gathered … (at least 60 bushels of quail apiece). And they spread them out for themselves … the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord struck down the people with a very great plague. Therefore the name of that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had the craving.” Num. 11:31-34

The entire reason for quoting this passage is to get to the place called “Kibroth-hattaavah,” which means “graves of craving.”

The Lord provides richly and the people, well the people just had to have it all for themselves. And God despised their gluttony, their selfishness, their craving and He killed them as a result.

The “house of craving.” The “place of craving.” The “graves of craving.”

Does this sound like a place which we know about? Does this sound like America, like Texas, like Plano, like my house? We have so much which has been given to us as a country, state, city, and home, all by the magnificent blessings of God, all by the richness of His mercy…and we crave it all, we eat it all, and we crave more, more, more, more, and more.

How can we be content when there are 60 bushels of quail to eat? Got to eat it fast, or it might spoil, or somebody else might get it, or we might see someone who needs it more and feel guilty for not giving it to them, or we might not have any tomorrow. Got to eat it all. Got that craving for it, for all, for more.

Even the gospel lesson today is about craving, but instead of gluttony for food it talks about gluttony for power. The question of the disciples in Matthew is “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Matt. 18:1. The real question is “Why do they care?” Well, we know the answer to that second question, because they are people like us and we care too. We crave the position of power, of authority, of name, of position, of rank. She’s greater in the kingdom of XYZ corporation because she has her own parking place. He’s greater in the kingdom of government because he has his name on the door. And on and on and on.

We crave the stuff but not a relationship with the source of the stuff. We crave the position and power without craving for a relationship with the only One with true power.

There is a message in Numbers today. The craving of stuff, of the things of the world, which make us more us – fatter, stronger, wealthier, more powerful – ends up in the “graves of craving.” And from there, judgment (see our reading from Romans today). The craving of relationship with Christ, of knowledge of the ways and mind of God, which make us more Him, results in eternal life.

What do you crave?


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