August 12, 2012 – August 18, 2012
“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” James 4:17.
Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 6, 369–379.
“When persons are spoken to on the subject of health, they often say, ‘We know a great deal better than we do.’ They do not realize that they are accountable for every ray of light in regard to their physical well-being, and that their every habit is open to the inspection of God.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 19.
1 GOD HAD A PLAN
- When did the Israelites arrive at the great educational center of the wilderness, and what did God expect them to become? Exodus 19:1–6; Deuteronomy 7:6; I Peter 2:9.
Note: “Soon after the encampment at Sinai, Moses was called up into the mountain to meet with God. Alone he climbed the steep and rugged path, and drew near to the cloud that marked the place of Jehovah’s presence. Israel was now to be taken into a close and peculiar relation to the Most High—to be incorporated as a church and a nation under the government of God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 303.
“Their [the Israelities’] obedience to the law of God would make them marvels of prosperity before the nations of the world. He who could give them wisdom and skill in all cunning work would continue to be their teacher, and would ennoble and elevate them through obedience to His laws. If obedient, they would be preserved from the diseases that afflicted other nations, and would be blessed with vigor of intellect. The glory of God, His majesty and power, were to be revealed in all their prosperity. They were to be a kingdom of priests and princes. God furnished them with every facility for becoming the greatest nation on the earth.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 288.
2 THE “SCHOOL” AT SINAI
- What principles were the children of Israel to learn while encamped around Mount Sinai? Exodus 19:10, 11; 20:1–17.
Note: “The people were to be impressed that everything connected with the service of God must be regarded with the greatest reverence. … Their person and their clothing must be freed from impurity. And as Moses should point out their sins, they were to devote themselves to humiliation, fasting, and prayer, that their hearts might be cleansed from iniquity.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 303, 304.
- What can we learn from Israel as we seek to help others in matters of health? Psalm 78:24.
Note: “In all cases educate the conscience, enlist the will, supply good, wholesome food, and the change will be readily made, and the demand for flesh will soon cease.” The Ministry of Healing, 317.
- As soon as Israel departed from Sinai, after what did they again lust? Numbers 11:4–6. How is this a warning to us?
Note: “God continued to feed the Hebrew host with the bread rained from heaven; but they were not satisfied. Their depraved appetites craved meat, which God in His wisdom had withheld, in a great measure, from them. … Satan, the author of disease and misery, will approach God’s people where he can have the greatest success. He has controlled the appetite in a great measure from the time of his successful experiment with Eve, in leading her to eat the forbidden fruit. He came with his temptations first to the mixed multitude, the believing Egyptians, and stirred them up to seditious murmurings. They would not be content with the healthful food which God had provided for them. Their depraved appetites craved a greater variety, especially flesh meats.
“This murmuring soon infected nearly the whole body of the people. At first, God did not gratify their lustful appetites, but caused His judgments to come upon them, and consumed the most guilty by lightning from heaven. Yet this, instead of humbling them, only seemed to increase their murmurings.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 375, 376.
3 LUSTING AFTER FLESH FOOD AGAIN
- What type of flesh did the Israelites desire? Numbers 11:5; I Corinthians 15:39. Have fish also been affected by the curse of pollution in our days?
Note: “The Lord’s curse is upon the earth, upon man, upon beasts, upon the fish in the sea; and as transgression becomes almost universal, the curse will be permitted to become as broad and as deep as the transgression. Disease is contracted by the use of meat.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 411.
- Although other foods are also mentioned, after what did the people actually lust? Numbers 11:10–13, 21–23, 31, 32.
- How long did they eat flesh on this occasion, compared to the first? Exodus 16:12; Numbers 11:18–20.
Note: “Once before, when they [the Israelites] received the manna just before they reached Sinai, the Lord had answered their clamors for flesh-meat. They ate of it only one day, however, and then it was withheld because it was not the best article of food for them. Their murmurings now reflected upon the wisdom of God, as though He did not know just what they needed while travelling in the wilderness. The enemy perverted their imagination.” The Signs of the Times, August 12, 1880.
“The Lord understood what influence flesh-eating would have upon the human system. He would have a people that would, in their physical appearance, bear the divine credentials, notwithstanding their long journey. …
“Must the vegetables be animalized, must they be incorporated in the systems of animals before we get them? Must we obtain our vegetable diet by eating the flesh of dead creatures? God provided fruit in its natural state for our first parents. He gave to Adam charge of the garden, to dress it and to care for it, saying, ‘To you it shall be for meat’ [Genesis 1:29]. One animal was not to destroy another animal for food. After the fall, the eating of flesh was suffered in order to shorten the period of the existence of the long-lived race. It was allowed because of the hardness of the hearts of men.” Spalding and Magan Collection, 46.
4 SUFFERING CONSEQUENCES
- Because the Israelites had received great light, what did they have to suffer due to their willful departure from God’s plan? Numbers 11:33, 34; Psalm 78:30, 31; I Corinthians 10:5, 6, 9–11.
Note: “They [the Israelites] gave themselves up to seditious murmurings against Moses, and against the Lord, because they did not receive those things which would prove an injury to them. Their depraved appetites controlled them, and God gave them flesh-meats, as they desired, and let them suffer the results of gratifying their lustful appetites. Burning fevers cut down very large numbers of the people. Those who had been the most guilty in their murmurings, were slain as soon as they tasted the meat for which they had lusted. If they had submitted to have the Lord select their food for them, and had been thankful, and satisfied with food of which they could eat freely without injury, they would not have lost the favor of God, and then been punished for their rebellious murmurings, by great numbers of them being slain.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 284, 285.
“Self-denial is considered by some to be real suffering. Depraved appetites are indulged. And a restraint upon the unhealthy appetite would lead even many professed Christians to now start back, as though actual starvation would be the consequence of a plain diet. And, like the children of Israel, they would prefer slavery, diseased bodies, and even death, rather than to be deprived of the flesh-pots. Bread and water is all that is promised to the remnant in the time of trouble.” Ibid., 224.
- After Sinai, did God consider the Israelites ignorant? Acts 17:30; James 4:17; John 9:41.
Note: “Murmuring and tumults had been frequent during the journey from the Red Sea to Sinai, but in pity for their ignorance and blindness God had not then visited the sin with judgments. But since that time He had revealed Himself to them at Horeb. They had received great light, as they had been witnesses to the majesty, the power, and the mercy of God; and their unbelief and discontent incurred the greater guilt. Furthermore, they had covenanted to accept Jehovah as their king and to obey His authority. Their murmuring was now rebellion, and as such it must receive prompt and signal punishment, if Israel was to be preserved from anarchy and ruin.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 379.
5 ACCOUNTABILITY: EATING FLESH BECAME A SIN
- How does the psalmist summarize the Hebrews’ two experiences in the wilderness with flesh foods? Psalm 78:18–29.
Note: “He [Satan] has controlled the appetite in a great measure from the time of his successful experiment with Eve, in leading her to eat the forbidden fruit. He came with his temptations first to the mixed multitude, the believing Egyptians, and stirred them up to seditious murmurings. They would not be content with the healthful food which God had provided for them. Their depraved appetites craved a greater variety, especially flesh meats.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 375, 376.
“Any violation of the laws of nature is a violation of the law of God.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1105.
“It is a terrible sin to abuse the health that God has given us; for every abuse of health enfeebles us for life and makes us losers.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 150.
- How is the specific record of Israel’s murmuring summarized by Inspiration? Psalm 78:17, 32. What warning should we heed? I Corinthians 10:5, 6; Isaiah 22:12–14 (cf. Isaiah 22:20–22; Revelation 3:7).
Note: “It is a duty to know how to preserve the body in the very best condition of health, and it is a sacred duty to live up to the light which God has graciously given. If we close our eyes to the light for fear we shall see our wrongs, which we are unwilling to forsake, our sins are not lessened but increased. If light is turned from in one case, it will be disregarded in another. It is just as much sin to violate the laws of our being as to break one of the Ten Commandments, for we cannot do either without breaking God’s law. We cannot love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength while we are loving our appetites, our tastes, a great deal better than we love the Lord. We are daily lessening our strength to glorify God, when He requires all our strength, all our mind.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 70.
“For forty years did unbelief, murmuring, and rebellion shut out ancient Israel from the land of Canaan. The same sins have delayed the entrance of modern Israel into the heavenly Canaan. In neither case were the promises of God at fault. It is the unbelief, the worldliness, unconsecration, and strife among the Lord’s professed people that have kept us in this world of sin and sorrow so many years.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 69.
REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS
1 Why did God have the Israelites spend nearly a year at Mount Sinai?
2 Who were usually the first ones to murmur, and what were they specifically desiring?
3 In an attempt to cure the people of lusting after flesh meats, how long were they given it on the second occasion?
4 Who suffered the greatest consequences of this disobedience?
5 Why must the use of flesh be discarded by those who know the present truth?
“If the Israelites had been given the diet to which they had been accustomed while in Egypt, they would have exhibited the unmanageable spirit that the world is exhibiting today. In the diet of men and women in this age there are included many things that the Lord would not have permitted the children of Israel to eat. The human family as it is today is an illustration of what the children of Israel would have been if God had allowed them to eat the food and follow the habits and customs of the Egyptians.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1102.
“Many say, I know that we have wrong habits that are injuring our health; but our habits have become formed, and it is next to impossible to change, and do even as well as we know. By hurtful indulgences these are working against their own highest interest and happiness in this life, and are, in so doing, disqualifying themselves to obtain the future life. Many who are enlightened still follow in a course of transgression, excusing themselves that it is very inconvenient to be singular. Because the world at large choose to war against themselves and their highest earthly and eternal interest, they who know better venture to do the same, disregarding the light and knowledge which hold them responsible for the result of their violation of nature’s laws. God is not responsible for the suffering which follows the nonconformity to natural law and moral obligations to Him. Enlightened transgressors are the worst of sinners, for they choose darkness rather than light. The laws that govern physical life, they may understand if they will; but the desire with them is so strong to follow popular, sensual indulgences of the day that are in opposition to physical and moral health, that they are insensible to its importance, and will not impress it upon others either by precept or example.
“Their neglect of this important subject exposes them to a fearful accountability. Not only are they suffering themselves the penalty of nature’s violated law, but their example is leading others in the same course of transgression.” The Health Reformer, October 1, 1871.
© 2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.