And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.
Kibroth-Hattaavah, or "the graves of lust." So the place has been named, for it testified to the terrible truth declared in our text. The history to which it refers is familiar enough, And what followed for Israel has followed again and again, and does so still.
I. SEE INSTANCES OF IT.
1. Israel here. The leanness in their souls was caused by a sense of God's condemnation - they knew they had done wrong; terror of his wrath; hardening of their hearts in sin; the plague that followed.
2. Israel's desiring a king (Hosea 13:11).
3. Judas. He had plotted and planned, and thought success was sure; but when he saw Jesus was condemned, those thirty pieces of silver burnt him as with the fires of hell.
4. The rich fool. His desire for wealth had been granted; but the Lord had said, "Thou fool" (cf. also 2 Samuel 13:15). The full purse and the lean soul are common companions.
5. The "whips with which our pleasant vices scourge us. Cf. Ecclesiastes: Vanity of vanities; all," etc.; cf. Ahab's getting Naboth's vineyard, and Elijah along with it. "Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?" (1 Kings 21:20).
II. THE CAUSES OF IT.
1. Not necessary. If God give us our heart's desire, that need not send leanness into our soul. Cf. Psalm 116.: there was no "leanness" there, but the reverse. And, indeed, the sense of God's favour and help does aid the soul's true life.
2. But are found in the motive of the prayer, which may be sinful and selfish only; and in the use we make of the answer. If we love God's gifts better than the Giver of them, then "leanness" will be sure to follow.
III. THE LESSONS OF IT. The lines which follow tell them -
"Not what we wish, but what we want,
Oh let thy grace supply!
The good, unasked, in mercy grant;
The ill, though asked, deny." ? S.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.