“And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” (Psalms 106 :15)
BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT OF PSALM 106:15
David began Psalms 106 with praises unto the Lord for His goodness and mercies before proceeding with his request “4 Remember me, O Lord, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation; 5 That I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance.”
Immediately after making his requests and presenting his reasons, David quickly had to make some very sincere and deep confessions unto God. This was very important because the request of David in Psalms 106 verse 4 was to be remembered with the same kind of favour that God showed in His deliverance of Israel from the clutches of captivity in Egypt.
We also see that in verse 5 David went on to make even a greater request – he desired that the nation Israel be once again gathered up together, reunited from the nations where they’re scattered. While some scholars believe that this Psalm was written during the captivity of Israel in Babylon, some others believe it was written at the same time as Psalms 105. However, we aren’t much concerned with that now.
Now, if David had to make such requests, it’ll be offensive or at least imprudent on his part not to remember that God had some decades ago granted similar requests. We recall that in Exodus 3 verse 9 God told Moses “… the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me….” And He decided to deliver them and bring them to Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey (Verse 8).
Not only did God deliver them out of Egypt, He also successfully brought them into Canaan. This was not however without numerous disobedient and rebellious acts constantly displayed by Israel. Acts that portrayed Israel as an unbelieving and stiff-necked people; people who would see, touch and rejoice at a miraculous manifestation of God today but would quickly forget it the next day.
So, from verse 6 we see deep and sincere confessions of David as he outlines the numerous times his fathers (Israel) sinned against God and how God delivered them each time they repented.
At this point, permit me to sneak this in: despite the numerous ups and downs you may have experienced in your relationship and walk with God, I’d like you to know that His desire is that you return as the prodigal son did (Luke 15). And stop going back to your sins. I’m often privileged to speak with people who feel that their sins will never be forgiven, that their sins are so terrible that the blood of Jesus is too light to cleanse.
Beloved, I want to tell you that the Blood of Jesus is more than enough to purify you of your mountainous sins and God is so merciful that He will forgive and remember your sins no more. You only need to sincerely confess as David did and decide never to return to them. (Hebrews 8:12; Isaiah 43:25; 1 John 1:9)
A LEAN SOUL OF PSALM 106:15 DESCRIBED.
It was during his confession of the sins of Israel that David recalled the lusts of Israel in the wilderness. Lusts and insatiable desires that caused God great anger and offence to the point of destroying his people Israel. I wouldn’t go to chronicle the multiple times Israel showed such an unbridled desire for food and other things because that will be going beyond the scope of this article.
I’ll simply point to an episode in Numbers 11 for better understanding: The Lord had continued to feed the Israelites with manna, in fact, they ate manna for forty years. I don’t think it was out of place for the people to desire to have a taste of other meals seeing the length of the journey.
Howbeit, their approach and constant lust for the delicacies of Egypt was a major problem; one that reached the point of accusing Moses (read God) of genocide in the wilderness. They were delivered from the hands of such a ruthless Pharaoh that having nostalgia for Egyptian meals was the last thing you’d expect.
Moreover, the promise of a land that flows with milk and honey is one that can keep a person so joyful inside that the thought of returning to slavery would hardly settle.
Besides the fact that manna wasn’t a tasteless bread, we also see that God provided them meat in the evening as recorded in Exodus 16 verse 8. So, it’s a bit difficult to understand why they clamoured for flesh in Numbers 11.
Maybe they were tired of eating chicken and wanted mutton or any other meat that reminded them of Egypt. You can never tell how far-reaching the effects of slavery are until this form of Stockholm syndrome begins to manifest.
You see many times when the realisation of what God has promised us delays (in our own eyes) we wish there was a way to cut corners. Hope deferred makes the heart sick said Solomon in Proverbs 13 verse 12. We wish to hurry God to bring us to the promised land even if that implies skipping the process.
But no, we must endure the process if we must receive the promise. There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going, lest we get there and become like Jeshurun who grew fat and forsook God and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation (Deuteronomy 32 verse 15)
How often have you longed to go back to the old life that fetched you some money, pleasure, recognition, fame etc.? You see, it’s easy to frown at the behaviour of Israel because of their lust after garlic, leeks, onions and the rest but forget our own lusts, desires and wishes that are sometimes laughable.
So, after God had borne with them on numerous occasions, in Numbers 11 we were told that God was so displeased with their continual complaints that His fire consumed some of them in the camp. They cried, Moses prayed, and the fire was quenched. But it didn’t take a minute before the mixt multitude led the choir to sing a new song, titled: flesh to eat.
The first verse of the song wasn’t anything spectacular; just the usual nostalgic taste of Egyptian vegetables with an addition of fish this time. Actually, they also added that they did so FREELY. One would wonder if these people were simply after making Moses very angry; because there’s no other reason why you’d say that you ate anything freely when you lived in slavery that made you cry for years.
Anyway, verse two of the song was even more devastating: they completely and audaciously despised the manna that God gave, reaching the point of saying that their soul is dried away. “There is nothing at all…” equating the manna to nothing obviously. And the chorus as you could imagine was sung by every member of the family, standing in front of their tent. They wanted Moses and His God to witness the full theatrical display.
So, when David was making his request in Psalms 106, he couldn’t ignore this demonstration because it was an episode that never went down well with God nor the meek Moses.
In the next episode of the lean soul, we’ll look at the manifestations (signs and symptoms) of a lean soul, its consequences and treatment.
Click here to read Part 2 of this.
Leanness of soul has lead me to reflect alot on my proness to complain and grumble,and the consequences on both my life,ministry and family.I need to tame my tongue and attitude in a repentant mood.
I pray the Lord will help you to correct these vices in Jesus’ name. Amen.