Monday, November 12, 2018

Don't Allow Your Life To End in a Grave of Craving

Dave Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen, co-authors of The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse (and a host of other helpful books), are speaking at a conference at Emmanuel Enid this week.

Sunday morning, Dave mentioned an obscure passage in Numbers 11:1-3 where the Scripture names a place in the Wilderness where the people of God continually complained about the difficulties of their lives and their dissatisfaction in God's provision for them. The people of Israel kept complaining "it could be better." The discontent people died at a place the English Bible translates Taberah.

The Hebrew name for that place is literally קִבְרוֹת הַתַּאֲוָה (kibroth hattaavah) or in English, "graves of craving."

Hunger is different from craving. Israel wasn't hungry. God fed them with manna every morning. Israel was craving something different. They craved the meats of Egypt rather than the manna (food) God provided every morning.

In the passage immediately following the name of the place where God's people died,  Moses describes their intense cravings for the things they had while they were in Egyptian bondage (Numbers 11:4-35).

A craving is "a strong wanting of what promises enjoyment or pleasure."

Israel's cravings would have taken them back to a place of bondage, destruction, and ultimate death (Egypt), but at least they would "enjoy" the journey.  So they were afflicted, died, and were buried in "graves of craving." 

They never made it to the Promised Land. 

Israel convinced themselves, “It was well with us in Egypt.”

It wasn't. 

But cravings have a way of causing God's people to miss our future purpose, to be confused about our past, and to be blind during the present.

Forgetfulness of  God's goodness and loving purpose is the soil where the plant of craving thrives. 

Next time you feel compelled toward a secret sin that is a compelling addiction that brings you pleasure or joy, ask yourself "Why am I craving this?"

The answer may reside in a lack of comprehension or appreciation for God's miraculous intervention and goodness in your life through the Lord Jesus.

Don't allow your life to end in a grave of craving. 


Rileydogbarks said...

No offense intended Wade, but Dave Johnson is one of my favorite pastors to listen to!!

Rileydogbarks said...

I wish I would have known about this conference. I would have definitely loved to hear Dave preach!!! Daggummit!

Christiane said...


An old 'title' for Our Lord is 'the Lord of Life'
Is a hymn phrase, this:
'Jesus satisfies the hungry heart . . . '

And another hymn reminds us, this:
'Shepherd me O God beyond my wants, beyond my fears, from death into life'

'The image of the grain of wheat dying in the earth in order to grow and bear a harvest can be seen also as a metaphor of Jesus' own death and burial in the tomb and his resurrection.'
"What is sown in the earth is subject to decay, what rises is incorruptible"
(1 Cor. 15:42)
This gives an even greater meaning to the ancient Hebrew blessing that foreshadows the Resurrection of Our Lord from the tomb as the 'Bread of Life':
'Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all,
Who brings forth bread from the earth'

Wade Burleson said...


Dave is superb!

Chris said...

I loved the illustration of the dog chasing his tail tonight. Hit home. Amazing conference! - This is what most churches need when they call it "revival week"! Jeff relates to me so very well. 22 years I have been trying to understand, and he makes it all make sense.

Rex Ray said...


“The Lord sent a wind that brought quail from the sea…no one gathered less than fifty bushels…while they were gorging themselves…the Lord struck them with a severe plague…so that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah (which means “graves of gluttony) because there they buried the people who had craved meat from Egypt.” (Numbers 11:31-34 NLT)

“Then the foreign rabble who were traveling with the Israelites began to crave the good things of Egypt. And the people of Israel also began to complain.” (Numbers 11:4 NLT)

Wade, is this a warning that bad company may influence good people to sin? As kids visiting our aunt, she always told us “Remember who you are.”

Christiane said...

from a New Testament canticle:

"God has shown strength with His arm,
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts,
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And has exalted the humble and meek,
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty"

(from the Holy Gospel of St. Luke 1:51-54)

Christiane said...

Hello REX RAY,

I like your aunt's words: "Remember who you are" but I think people who may disagree concerning politics may have a different way of 'remembering'. My way of remembering may be different from your way. And that's okay. We need all points of view.

I wrote something over on Imonk that speaks my own thoughts as to remembering who we are as a nation, this:

"November 10, 2018 at 8:07 am
We have to begin to realize that the political term ‘Christian nation’ doesn’t have anything to do with Christ or with Christianity. Once we get that straight, then we can begin to understand WHY the asylum-seekers have been so badly treated.

so we will meet the people from Guatemala that we’ve been told to fear and despise, and take their children away from them, and point guns at them, and lock them up, and eventually send them back to the hell they were running from, once we are tired of tormenting them . . . that is what a ‘great’ America is all about, isn’t it?


we might just notice how very lost and weary and tired they are, and how the children could use some rest and really good food, and even give them the dignity of asking what it was that they were running from to come north to us who are now so unwelcoming,

But I doubt we will, because if we do speak to them as suffering persons, we might be moved with compassion for them, AND we might just, as a people, decide to help them

What would we gain by helping them? Just maybe a chance to recover our humanity and our souls as a nation.
Personally, I think it’s a good trade."

Rex Ray said...


What do you think about the question I asked Wade?

“Then the FOREIGN RABBLE who were traveling with the Israelites began to crave the good things of Egypt. And the people of Israel also began to complain.” (Numbers 11:4 NLT) Is this a warning that bad company may influence good people to sin?”

Who did Moses consider “foreign rabble”?

I believe they had children but didn’t worship God and were having a hard time where they lived just like the illegals Trump doesn’t want in our country.

Your link was interesting. My computer doesn’t get sound, but with about 100 comments, the ratio was about 10 to 1 AGAINST Jim Acosta.

Rex Ray said...

Letter to the Leader. (Local paper)
The Kennedy’s Campaign Team became worried there wasn’t enough bodyguards and hired Thane Eugene Cesar from Ace Guard Service. He was outspoken in his hatred of Kennedys. He was a foot behind Robert Kennedy when Sirhan (a few feet in front) started shooting. The cassette recorder of Stanislaw Pruszynski revealed 13 shots, but Sirhan’s gun only held 8. The autopsy showed two powder burns in Kennedy’s back and one powder burn behind his ear.
Records show that Cesar’s gun had serial number H-18602, and years later was found in a pond. Bullets in Kennedy proved to be fired from that gun. Shortly after the shooting, Cesar went to the Philippines and has never been found.

Sirhan’s trial found him guilty because:
1.The trial never revealed the autopsy.
2.Bullets from Kennedy and other victims were different, but only substitute bullets that looked the same were shown.
3.Pruszynski recorder was not available.
4.Sirhan’s lawyers tricked Sirhan to plead guilty, but later he denied being guilty.

Someone with influence had Sirhan hypnotized to think he was on a shooting range, furnished Sirhan’s lawyers, prevented the autopsy, and had fake bullets at his trial.

Christiane said...

Hello Rex Ray,

I see the refugees in a different way, yes.

In the Holy Gospels we learn about the Samaritan and how he was reviled by the Jews because he was an 'outsider', but then Our Lord gives us a new way to see him . . . not as an outcast, but as a humane person who helped a stranger because he was in crisis, without thought of 'who the stranger was' but just because the poor victim was a suffering human being in need of help.
Two lessons in one:
our 'labels' fall down before Christ's teachings;
and also that we are called to serve and help those in need regardless of who they are in this world.

"Love not just those of your own tribe, your own class, family or people,
but those who are different,
those who are strangers,
who are strange to your ways,
who come from different cultural
and religious traditions,
who seem odd,
those you do not understand.
Love as the Samaritan loved the man he found beaten up by robbers,
somewhere on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho."
(from 'The Body Broken' Jean Vanier)


Bonhoeffer on the Incarnation:
“” We now know that we have been taken up and borne in the humanity of Jesus, and therefore that new nature we now enjoy means that we too must bear the sins and sorrows of others. The Incarnate lord makes his followers the brothers and sisters of all humanity. The “philanthropy” of God (Titus 3:4) revealed in the Incarnation is the ground of Christian love toward all on earth that bear the name of human. The form of Christ incarnate makes the Church into the body of Christ. All the sorrows of humanity falls upon that form, and only through that form can they be borne. The earthly form of Christ is the form that died on the cross. The image of God is the image of Christ crucified. It is to this image that the life of the disciples must be conformed: in other words, they must be conformed to his death (Phil. 3:10; Rom. 6:4). The Christian life is a life of crucifixion.”
(Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Christian martyr from the Lutheran tradition)

Rex Ray said...


The parable of the Good Samaritan does not apply because the person he helped would not ‘forever’ be a burden to him as the thousands at the border would be to the United States.

Where these people need help is where they live as Franklin Graham (son of Billy Graham) is doing.

Tom said...


Rex I am not interested in your conspiracy theories concerning the Kennedys and find them irritating when you post those theories in this blog as they are IMHO irrelevant to what is often posted.

Concerning the NLT translation of Numbers 11:4, I find that the translated message presented is very different to what was, IMHO, intended. I agree that there were others who travelled with Israel out of Egypt, but the setup of the camp, that God instructed Moses to implement, placed the "other people" outside of the camp of Israel such that their influence over the Children of Israel was limited except for those of the Children of Israel who deliberately chose to go outside of the Israelite's camp..

I would suggest that Num 11:4 is better understood if we understand it this way.

"The assembly of the nation of Israel who promiscuously lusted after other gods complained about Moses' teaching about the things of God and so again many of the Children of Israel were weeping and lusting after teaching that would enable them to go after the teaching of idols and enjoy the flesh activities of debased idolatrous worship."

The source I use to reflect on the scripture texts, is the PC Study Bible and it tends to lead me away from the "Traditions" of men and their interpretations of what the scriptures mean.

I trust that my above comments are helpful.


PS: - I do not think that we have changed that much over the past 3,500 or so years from the time of the exodus.

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christiane said...

some thoughts about those Christians close to power who are sent to advise leaders:

I did think about a story in sacred Scripture about a poor man who had a lamb he loved dearly like his own child, and a rich young ruler came along and took the poor man’s lamb away from him and killed it and served it for a feast . . . .

and THEN I think about the poor refugee man whose three-year old son was taken away from him at the border, and the man was jailed and was so distraught about losing his beloved child that he hung himself . . . .

when I heard about the poor man whose heart was broken when they took his only son from him, I thought about that story in Scripture . . . . it’s in 2 Samuel, Chapter 12 where Nathan was sent to counsel King David who did not understand his own cruelty in wronging Bathsheba’s husband until David heard that story from Nathan, this:

” . . . the poor man had nothing except one small ewe lamb that he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food and drank from his cup; it slept in his arms and was like a daughter to him. 4Now a traveler came to the rich man, who refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for his guest.” 5David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan: “As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this deserves to die!…”

I’m sure at some point future historians will have a field day commenting on Trump and Trumpism, but I think it was commented on long ago by a prophet named Nathan sent by God to teach King David about the great inhumanity of thoughtless injustice to a poor man

we could use some Nathans today, but all the King’s evangelical ministers we have to counsel the King kept silent when the border children and their parents suffered . . . . it would have been a Christian kindness for someone to speak to Trump, but no one came to help him understand
. . . . so it was left to the women of our country who remembered and became politically active and won and now we have a ‘pink wave’ in the House of Representatives, and these women will see to it that the King is counseled against inhumanity and injustice finally . . . . they will help him understand when no one else dared

Tom said...


Your interpretation of The story that Nathan the prophet had told King David, is a power play between God, the old man and King David. The lamb that the old man owned was the nation of Israel and King David had stolen the heart of that lamb away from God. In that the Lord not only came against King David, but He also came against the nation of Israel with a pestilence that was killing the people.

The people loved King David so much that they insisted that he no longer go out to war with them. While King David was unoccupied with war he occupied himself with another's wife.

Both David and Israel had turned away from God and God showed grace to King David by not confronting him for around 8 years about his sin of turning away from God.

Now concerning the caravan approaching the USA through Mexico. Jeremiah 50-51 tells us that because the twenty nations of the world went into Babylon to heal the land, i.e. we sinned against God by acting God like, that the nations at then edge of the sea, i.e. the twenty or so nations of the Coalition of the Willing, would face an influx of people who will when their numbers are sufficient, raise up a cry of victory over those nations.

We want to have God's blessing, but before we can now receive that Blessing we need, as a nation, to repent of our sin of turning away from God.

We can put on ashes and sack cloth and offer up prayers to God over our plight, but as Isaiah 58 tells us, that is not what God desires from us. He desires that we feed the hungry, look after the widows and orphans, that we lift the heavy burdens off of the people and that we stop the pointing of the finger within our communities. It is only then that God will heal our land and made us a place like a perfumed garden that people will really want to be a part of. God also tells us that when the Sabbath Day for mankind dawns, that we then keep it holy.

There is so much more for us to learn about the Grace of God towards us.


PS: - For those who want to know who the king of the north was that lead the nations into Babylon was, need look no further than your own nation. Sadly, the "king" of my country was encouraging your "king" to act in this way.

Rex Ray said...

Tom Ross,

Your bleeding heart for those in need is admirable, but like a fish’s desire for something good on a string there’s a hook.

That hook is the last step (open borders) of how great nations in the past have committed suicide.

As a child I’ve heard, “Eat all the food on you plate; half the people in China are starving.”

What would happen if all the ‘starving’ people of the world were allowed in America?

The solution to their problem is, HELP THEM WHERE THEY ARE.

BTW, if it’s upsetting to you to hear about murder of the Kennedys, don’t read it. Be like LBJ and his order to conceal all evidence for 80 years. (Trump is still withholding some because of the CIA’s request.)

Did you know JFK had plans to eliminate the CIA because with their authority, they didn’t answered to anyone? Looks like they still have that authority since they can tell the President what not to do.

Christiane said...

Hello REX RAY,

you are up on the latest 'theories' out there, and I have just heard of one that is terrifying to me, and I wondered if you had heard about it also. I am not sure about how deeply this goes into evangelical acceptance, but I know that this 'prophet from God' called Mark Taylor is being backed by Liberty University and approved of by Jerry Falwell, Jr., so I am very concerned indeed.

Is this what evangelical people are BELIEVING or is it just a segment of some who are following this prophet who continual updates his prophecy which involves 'martial law' and 'concentration camps' and 'executions' . . . .

I am NOT willing to believe that good people would buy into this stuff. No way. But what IS the reaction to this among evangelical people???? Here is the link and I hope you can reassure me that the evangelical world is not following this guy lock-step:

Rex Ray said...


I listened to the link about Mark Taylor and there’s enough truth to make it sound dangerous, but so much of it is scare tactics such as Trump declaring ‘martial law’.

There was some talk under ‘Muslim Obama’ about taking our guns away by ‘martial law’, but it didn’t last long.

This link explains how Liberty University makes millions on worthless education and is beyond the law by being exempted by being non-profit.

The late Jerry Falwell joined the Southern Baptist Convention by giving $5,000. They asked him why he changed his mind and joined the SBC. He said he didn’t change his mind; that the SBC had come around to his way of thinking. (Fundamentalists had taken over the SBC by Paige Patterson & Paul Pressler.)

The following year, the SBC gave Falwell $25,000 to help build his church. If Jr. is anything like his father, I’d believe everything he said with a grain of salt.

Christiane said...

Good Morning, REX RAY

First of all, a very Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours this day.

And secondly, thank you for responding, as I know you have more common sense than most and I appreciate the reassurance. I'm am sad about Liberty University because three sons of a dear friend were educated there and my friend sacrificed much to provide for their expenses . . . she was one of those women who worked two jobs . . . another job AFTER a full day of teaching.

She and her boys deserve better than Jerry Falwell Jr. making a mockery of their education. Maybe some day Liberty University will recover from this mess and my friend's boys will not be 'labeled' by any scandals associated with Falwell Jr. and the school. Hopefully. My friend and her boys are good people, Rex.