A Nose Full
“Therefore the LORD will give you meat, and you shall eat. You shall not eat just one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, but a whole month, until it comes out at your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have rejected the LORD who is among you and have wept before him, saying, “Why did we come out of Egypt?”
“We must not indulge our inclinations, as do little children, till they grow weary of the thing they are unwilling to let go. We must not continue our sinful practices in hopes that the divine grace will one day overpower our spirits, and make us hate them for their own deformity.1”
By Reverend Ray
It is surely familiar to many of the stories in Esop’s fables or Grimm’s fairy Tales of the exploits of children’s over indulgences in things. Like the boys who glutted on green apples until they became sick, the lessons of restraint, discipline and management of our lusts is a constant reminder of man’s depravity. This issue is replayed for us in God’s dealings with the murmurings of the Children of Israel as they wondered in the wilderness. Just like children quickly distracted and briefly entertained, the Children of Israel had grown disenchanted with the sweetness of Manna and began to loath it. In their complaining they demanded more substantial food; they wanted meat and they wanted it now. In fact, this vividly depicts all men’s natural voracious appetite to satisfy his own lusts, whether it is physical lusts or lusts for wealth or social status; quite simply it is the picture of the little boy lying under the apple tree, green with stomach pain. But we rarely think of this propensity for indulgence as being the hand of Sovereign God administering judgment upon man for his profusion. In the account of Israel’s murmuring for meat to Moses, God metes out an excessive measure of exactly what they were asking for as the disciplinary action for their discontentment.
The lavishness with which God answers their appeal for meat becomes so extreme that the result is profuse sickness to the point of such vicious vomiting that it is expelled out their nasal canal. This is the sense of meaning “until it comes out at your nostrils.” The principle here is that the judgment of God may indeed be the excessive lavishing of the objects of our lusts upon us to the point of violent sickness. This turning of man over to his lusts to consume beyond its fill is not unique to the Old Testament dealings with man.
Paul explains that man’s unscrupulous filling up of his lusts in all the immoral perversions of homosexuality, infidelity, and the like human indulgences is not the catastrophic loss of control by God upon His creation, but rather that the manifestation of God’s judgment upon man for his sin is quite often to give man over to the fullness of his sin. They would eat until it came out their nostrils. (see Rom. 1:23-35) In this passage Paul repeatedly emphasizes that it is the act of God giving man over to his lust until the extravagance of their perversion becomes the very judgment of God upon them. The Greek word used by Paul in the passage is “παραδίδωμι” (vv. 24, 26 & 28) means to “hand over.” We may wonder that our generation has not already arrived at the point of vicious vomiting that must parallel the Children of Israel’s loathsomeness, at least in a metaphorical way. And we must be reminded that if one truly is the Elect of God, then they are witnessing the consistent character of Almighty God administering a just punishment upon a nation that has forgotten God in all their ways. God is having His way with America in giving her over to the abundance of her own lusts. Such a time as this we should not walk doubtful or in darkness as to these times, but understand that God is giving her over to her lusts that has resulted in her having a snoot full. Moses watched as God’s judgment unfolded, so we are exhorted amid this manner of God’s judgment to remain untainted by the profusion of immoral filth. As Paul has elsewhere reminded the saints of the church in Ephesus; “and they, having become callous,
1 Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus.” (Eph. 4:19-21)
Dribble from the pen