Would You Eat Peanut Butter For Forty Years?

And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.” (Numbers 21:5)

Would You Eat Peanut Butter For Forty Years?

The children of Israel had a complaint against God. He had made them eat peanut butter for nearly forty years, and they were tired of it. It was provided to them free of charge without any effort on their part. They did not have to grow peanuts from seed. There was no need to harvest the peanuts, shell, cook, mash, and create the ingredients for extra-crunchy peanut butter. The only thing they had to do each day was wake up, and the peanut butter was there. They had plenty of water to wash it down. In the forty years the people walked around the wilderness, peanut butter was provided so they would never go hungry. And they never went hungry. There was never a day when they could complain to the Lord for food and water. God provided everything the people needed for life – food and water.

Eating peanut butter for forty years was a test. Shortly after leaving Sinai, the people complained about the food. They complained to the Lord, and He became angry. So the fire of the Lord burned among them, and many people died. The people wanted meat to eat. They remembered the fish that was in abundance in Egypt when they were in bondage. The bounty of their Egyptian bondage was so severe they said they had to eat cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic; or at least that is how they wanted to remember the oppression of the Egyptians against them. As their hearts turned back to Egypt, they loathed the peanut butter God gave them. They felt like they were shriveling away to nothing, eating all that peanut butter.

Years later, when they were going around the land of Edom, the soul of the people once again became disheartened eating the peanut butter. They complained to Moses he had brought them from the palaces of Egypt to die in the wilderness with no food and water. The peanut butter was a loathsome and worthless meal. As the Lord heard their continual complaints, He sent serpents among the people, killing many. God provided everything they needed to sustain life. They had never known the hunger of the real Egyptian experience. God humbled them and made them feel the pains of hunger so He could feed them with peanut butter, which they did not know, nor their fathers knew. The reason God gave the people peanut butter all those years was to teach them life is not about peanut butter but God’s care for them.

It would be hard to imagine eating peanut butter for forty years. You know, of course, God gave them manna (along with water and quail) and not peanut butter. Imagine being told you had to eat peanut butter for forty years. After the first few weeks, it might become tiresome. The problem with the children of Israel and the manna was they failed to see God gave them what they needed, not what they wanted. If they ate the manna, they would live. It would not be a sirloin steak or a rack of ribs or a big piece of coconut cream pie, but they had food to live on. God was showing them how to trust Him as He provided manna for them every day without fail.

God understood how tiresome the manna could be, but it was life. It came from God’s storehouse of blessings. Man does not live by the selfish desires of his fleshy wants. Only when men become dissatisfied with the blessings of God as monotonous and boring do they die. Jesus told Satan man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. If the only thing a man had to eat was peanut butter for the rest of his life, he would have food. God gave the people manna. They needed to be thankful. He gave them all the water they needed and threw in some quail. The lesson is this: everything came by the hand of God! They still complained.

When we become focused on our own needs and wants, we can easily fail to appreciate all the blessings God has given us. The house may not be the best, but it’s a home. Our jobs may not be what we dreamed of, but we have a job. Life may not be the ultimate fulfillment of everything we dreamed of, but if we are content in the Lord Jesus Christ, what else is there? Eat the peanut butter. Be thankful. It could be liver.

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