“And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.”
The Israelites were complaining because they had no flesh to eat. They were remembering with fondness their existence in Egypt and their dissatisfaction with the manna God was providing, and were requesting meat to eat. Eventually, God gave them an abundance of meat, in the form of quails. He “gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” They got what they wanted, but lost what they needed. They were physically full and spiritually empty. Because of their complaining and lack of contentment, because of their desire for the things of Egypt, God “sent leanness into their soul.”
We need to be careful about our attitude toward the will of God and the place He has given us to serve. It may not be exactly what we would want, but it may be precisely what we need. God is much more qualified to know what we need than we are. There is something more important than our fleshly appetites or carnal desires. It is always a cause for concern when Christians complain about God’s will or speak about how much better they had it when they were still out in the world. Spiritual “leanness” is going to come to those who keep longing for the world, symbolized by Egypt in the Word of God.
By contrast, God blesses those who trust Him completely and are content with God’s will for them. We have all known those who seemed to have little of this world’s goods yet possessed a relationship with the Lord that was undeniable. We must remember that the priority for our lives is spiritual, not carnal. The fact that the Lord gave the Israelites the thing they persistently requested, even though it was going to bring spiritual “leanness” to them, should say something to us as well. God may give us what we ask for, when we continually insist on our way, even if it is not going to be good for us spiritually. God allowed Lot to pitch his tent toward Sodom, knowing that it would result in spiritual shipwreck for Lot’s family. Just because a thing is permitted to occur does not necessarily mean that God ordained it as a source of blessing. Sometimes we can be so determined to have our way that we take little serious thought as to whether God is really in it.
May we always remember that we will be far better off and spiritually blessed if we are content in His will.