“Put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony,” — Proverbs 23:2
What’s For Dinner?
Numbers 11:4 – 6)
Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”
Have you ever had a “strong craving”? We must eat to live, but gluttony is living to eat.
The greatest hurdle to understanding gluttony is to think it only pertains to food. Some people can’t have enough toys, television, entertainment, sex, or company. It is about an excess of anything.
The Day It Rained Quail
Numbers 11:31 – 32
Before we move on, let’s read the rest of the story. God taught the Israelites a lesson in response to their complaints!
Then a wind from the LORD sprang up, and it brought quail from the sea and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and a day’s journey on the other side, around the camp, and about two cubits above the ground. And the people rose all that day and all night and all the next day, and gathered the quail. Those who gathered least gathered ten homers*. And they spread them out for themselves all around the camp.
* A homer is about 221 liters! Multiply that by 10!
Where do sinful cravings come from?
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death, (James 1:13 – 15).
James is talking specifically about temptions. Perhaps a modern word for gluttony should be “addiction.”
Our cravings/temptations may come from stress, but whatever a temptation, we are very good at justifying our actions. “I deserve it.” “I earned it.” “God will forgive me.” “She will understand.”
What’s Your Trigger?
What are some of the schemes of the devil that lead us into overindulgence?
- Returning to the scene of the crime If you don’t want to get drunk, don’t go to the party!
- False Memories Over time, it’s easy to forget pain and only think about the pleasure.
- If it’s there, I’ll eat it.
- There’s more where that came from. Do you remember the -Pringle’s commerical? “Bet you can’t eat just one!”
- Nature abhors a vacuum Put something good in it’s place.
- Stress Scientists tell us “Daily stress can cripple the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s executive function, such as concentration, planning, and judgment.”
The cure for Gluttony lies in deliberately reducing our use of pleasurable things, not in eliminating them. When eating, quit before feeling stuffed. When snacking, don’t snack mindlessly — quit. With people, enjoy their company, but make sure you have some time alone.
*PEWSLAG: pride, envy, wrath (anger), sloth, lust, avarice (greed), gluttony
Some Things to Think About
What are some synonyms for gluttony?
- What does Paul mean when he says our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit.?
- Addictions rewire our brains. This makes it very difficult to overcome an addiction. How do people do it?
- What role does the church and fellowship play in helping people overcome addictions?
- How does the Holy Spirit help us wrestle with addiction?
There are two schools of thought in overcoming an addiction. One says you need to distance yourself from the addiction and anybody else who has suffered from it lest you be tempted. The other says you must “own your addiction” by admitting you are powerless to resist. These people form support groups. What do you think?
One of the most important elements of prayer is confession. Try to become more confessional in prayer this week.