I remember a restaurant that on rare occasions, we would frequent when I was a very young child. Standing near the cashier, they had a tempting array of pies and desserts displayed in a tall, glass case, that rotated to give you a better view of each sweet. The selections were under lights, and before you had even looked at a menu to make your main entrée decision, you had imagined which slice of pie you would order for dessert: the tall piece of French Silk, with the curl of dark chocolate atop the billows of cream, or the bright, Fresh Strawberry pie with each berry perfectly covered in scarlet glaze, or maybe the beautiful, Banana Cream with a flaky, golden crust… The variety of choices seemed endless to my childish mind, and the visual thrill alone was almost enough to satisfy me.
After indulging in too many such desserts over my lifetime, I now usually say, “I’d rather just have some fresh bread,” instead of the sickening sweetness of a triple scoop hot fudge sundae, or the pies I used to think were the epitome of desserts. There have been too many times I have regretted with my whole heart and stomach the lack of control I have demonstrated when faced with so many good choices.
“Every good and perfect thing is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.” (James 1:7)
Satan knows that.
He also knows that the Best Thing is God, Himself.
In my life, satan knows I am less likely to fill my life with blatantly nasty things–you know, garbage that would make my soul instantly sick. He is too clever for such an obvious scheme.
Instead, I think the master of deception tempts me with good things. Blessed with such good gifts as family, health, recreation, good books, good movies, good times, good this, and good that, I can fill up, overindulge, and have a false sense of satisfaction. Things that are entirely good can fill me so full of their creamy sweetness, I have no desire for the bread of life. My overloaded system starts to feel sick. It’s a trick he keeps up his sleeve. One can only run on fat and sugar for so long, and he knows it.
You know, the Israelites fell for the trick too, only they craved meat. They were tired of the bread of life that God had been so faithfully providing day by day in the form of manna, and they complained enough till God provided meat, and a lot of it. It was good, roasted over their fires, tender and juicy; they ate a gluttonous amount of the fowl till, they felt foul, and regretted the choice with all their hearts, and stomachs.
Do you remember the story of Hansel and Gretel? While far from home, they had been tempted by an evil old woman to eat gingerbread and candy to their heart’s content, but they weren’t content; they were trapped, scared, and on the menu–for she planned to consume them, once she had baited and caught them with her delectable, edible house. (It is a terrifying story to read to small children.) As a little girl, my mind was fascinated with the scenario of those poor children escaping, and trying desperately to find their way home through the dark woods, by following a trail of breadcrumbs.
Jesus, our Bread of Life, was broken for us. He is our manna: our breadcrumbs scattered on the ground. He is not only our sustenance, He is our lifeline leading us home. Unlike the Israelites, wandering through the desert and griping about the manna, I would be wise to follow little Gretel and her brother’s example of being eternally grateful for my Daily Bread, and where It leads me.
Satan, the deceiver, is the keeper of the glass display case: “These decadent desserts are just what you want. They are all that you want. They are all that you need.” He is the wicked old woman: “Here, my child, have a taste…have a little more… a little more… a little more… ” I can just hear his chuckle turn into a villainous laugh as he baits us; encouraging us to fill our hearts and minds with things, good things, but things, none-the-less, other than God Himself, until our souls are sick.
He baits us, traps us, and will consume us if we are not aware of his evil plan.
I may be traveling through dark, scary woods now, but daily I look for, and find the bits of bread in the path, and they never fail to lead me in the right direction. Once I’m home with my Abba, my Daddy, my Rescuer, I wonder what it will feel like to be completely satisfied in Him, alone.
P.S. I’ve read that I’ll be invited to sit at a table with Him, the One who was broken for me, and the name of the special occasion is “The Wedding Feast of the Lamb.” I don’t know what all is on the menu, but I have a hunch; if they happen to offer strawberry pie, it will be the best I’ve ever had.
Of course it will be; I’ll be savoring it with the very One who, in His goodness, created strawberries in the first place.
They soon forgot His works; they did not wait for His counsel, but lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tested God in the desert. And He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul” (Psalms 106:13-15).
“Men ate angels’ food; He sent them food to the full. He caused an east wind to blow in the heavens; and by His power He brought in the south wind. He also rained meat on them like the dust, feathered fowl like the sand of the seas; and He let them fall in the midst of their camp, all around their dwellings. So they ate and were well filled, for He gave them their own desire. They were not deprived of their craving; but while their food was still in their mouths, the wrath of God came against them, and slew the stoutest of them, and struck down the choice men of Israel. In spite of this they still sinned, and did not believe in His wondrous works” (Psalms 78:25-32).