"And He gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul" (Psalm 106:15).
This sad and disturbing verse, recalling a tragic event in the history of Israel, provides a sober reminder that we need to be unselfish in our prayers. When the Lord taught His disciples how they should pray, He told them to pray each day for their daily bread (Matthew 6:11), but that was the only material item that was mentioned in the prayer.
The Lord had, indeed, wonderfully provided daily bread for the children of Israel there in the wilderness every day, in fact for forty years. It was marvelous "bread from heaven" (John 6:31), but they were not satisfied. They demanded that someone provide meat for them (Numbers 11:4), and God gave them their request. He caused a strong wind to blow a literal rain of quail upon their camp.
But He sent leanness into their soul! They gorged themselves on meat, but it caused a great plague, and many died. The word for "leanness" refers to physical emaciation, but the spiritual leanness was far more devastating.
God mayor may notbe pleased to bless a believer with material prosperity, but this should never be the theme of our prayers. Paul says: "Having food and raiment let us be therewith content." They who desire to be rich, he says, "fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts" (I Timothy 6:8-9).
The church at Laodicea, typical of many evangelical churches, is an example of this danger. This church could boast: "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing," unaware that she was lean of soul, "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked" (Revelation 3:17).
We should pray for our daily bread, but the main burden of our prayers should be: "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10). HMM