One of the greatest evidences of our fallenness is our propensity to seek to get from this world what only God can give us. God has given us all things to enjoy (1 Tim. 6:17), but never apart from Him either as the source of our basic satisfaction in life or apart from His direction. Without the Lord, even in the midst of great prosperity, life becomes like parched ground and we end up like a gerbil on a wheel, running, running, running, but going nowhere and facing only discontent and boredom.
Psalm 106:13-15, “They soon forgot his works; they waited not for his counsel: But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” The First Problem: “They quickly forgot His works” (13a) The two parts of this verse stand to each other as cause and effect with the effect, “forgetting God’s works,” placed first for emphasis. The emphasis is on the fact of their lost focus on the mighty works of God. “His works” is a reference to the mighty deeds of God’s love and deliverance beginning with Israel’s deliverance in Egypt through the Passover lamb.
They were brought out of Egypt by God’s power at the Red Sea, and extending on into the wilderness in one great event after another. And what did these works show? God’s works manifested God’s person as loving, gracious, powerful, and committed to His people by special covenants as first spelled out in the Abrahamic covenant and later in the Mosaic covenant. So what happened? They quickly forgot all that the Lord had done. “Forgot” carries the idea of being oblivious to something. How sad! But they forgot because they lost their focus on the Lord, and they lost their focus because they failed to wait on God’s counsel.
“They did not wait for His counsel” (13b) What is God’s counsel? The Hebrew word here is etsah, “counsel, plan, purpose, design.” Ultimately this refers to God’s Word, but in particular, it refers to God’s purpose and plan for the nation as His people, along with His principles by which the plan would work, and the promises of God’s love and provision. This counsel was given that they might walk with Him through that counsel and manifest themselves as the people of God, a priesthood nation. But they forgot who they were as God’s people because they failed to reflect on God’s counsel.
When we fail to wait on God’s counsel (i.e., fail to cling to Him through prayer and fellowship with Him in the Word by which we reflect on His love, faithfulness, purposes, and resources), we quickly not only lose our focus and forget who God is and what He has done, but in a spirit of idolatry and human foolishness, we begin to look to and depend on (a) the details of life, the things of the world like pleasure, position, power, and prestige, and (b) our strategies to get what we want or think we need for our happiness, security, and satisfaction. To wait on the Lord is to learn contentment with His provision and timing in any situation.
“Craved intensely” shows they were anything but content with God’s lot for their lives or with His plan and direction at that particular moment. Rather than resting in what God was doing in their lives at that moment, they looked back on the past and craved after some of the pleasures of Egypt—the meat, fish, cucumbers (six inches of indigestion), the melons (ninety percent water), the onions, leeks and garlic (these speak for themselves). How quickly they forgot the slavery under the whip of their task masters. They were coveting the details of life, and the New Testament defines coveting as a form of idolatry
Again, let’s remember that the desire for food, clothing, pleasure, comfort, love, significance, and security are all legitimate desires given to us by God who gives us all things to enjoy (1 Tim. 6:17). These desires are not in themselves sinful. They only become sinful when they control our lives or when we seek our happiness in them rather than in God. They are sinful when they cause us to abandon God’s purposes and His timing so that we turn to our own strategies to grasp after our wants what we perceive as our needs.