American advertising thrives on a lack of satisfaction. Lay’s potato chips used to assert that consumers couldn’t eat just one of their chips. An energy drink promises that you can go fast and get more out of life. A Fiat commercial uses the line "Simply More" to describe what you can have if you buy one of their cars.
As our text today tells us, a lack of contentment can lead to a tormented existence. In the first thirteen verses, the Lord outlined the rewards for obeying His instructions. These commands all revolved around acknowledging who God is and approaching Him with reverence (vv. 1–3). When the people honored God, He would bless them with abundance, security, and His presence. Note that this included a promise for the satisfaction of eating and being content (v. 5).
Verses 14 through 39 describe the consequences of disobedience. The people would suffer from terror, destruction, misery, and want. In particular, notice how they would be incapable of being satisfied with food—even when they ate bread, it would not fill them up (v. 26).
As we’ve seen throughout our study, the physical provision of bread often reveals spiritual truth. When God’s gift doesn’t satisfy, we should know that something is spiritually wrong. Our constant cravings for more indicate a spiritual hole far more gaping than any physical need.
The final verses of this chapter reveal that judgment is not the end of the story. Repentance is possible. Forgiveness is available. God will remain faithful to His covenant and His name: "I am the Lord" (v. 45). The consequences of disobedience—including the inability to find satisfaction in the gifts of God—should drive His people back into relationship with Him.
Apply the Word
Do you believe the messages of advertising: "You just need a little bit more, and you’ll be happy"? Or do you believe the message of God’s Word: "My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19)? Allow the Holy Spirit to examine the places of dissatisfaction in your life and commit those longings to God.