Steven Furtick - Comfort Food
Would you look at somebody next to you? Please do not touch them. They might not be comfortable with that. Just look at them and say, "I am so looking forward to experiencing God's Word with you today". Say it even in the chat. Say, "I've been looking forward to this all week. I'm looking forward to being strengthened by the Word of God". We've worshiped him. We've turned our hearts to him.
Now let's set aside every distraction. Don't be like Martha, busy in the kitchen. Take these next few minutes and just get in position to hear from the Lord, and I promise you he's going to speak to you today all over the world. Let me know right now in the comments or the chat where you're watching from. I don't like to call it watching. Where you're worshiping from. Watching is something you do for Yellowstone or Game of Thrones or something like that. But this ain't the game; this is the real throne, so we came to worship.
The Scripture for today I want to read to you is from Numbers, chapter 11, verses 4-6. "The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, 'If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!'" "If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost". I thought I'd talk to you today on the first sermon that I preach from the new year about Comfort Food. Lord, feed us the Bread of Heaven today, because we need it. In Jesus' name, amen.
Right now, I want you to say in the chat or maybe look at somebody if you're in a room with more than one person and tell them your favorite comfort food. What's the food that makes you feel better? What makes you feel temporarily better? Because that's the definition of comfort food. Right? The food that'll make you feel better for five minutes, your favorite. I researched this week the Bible, and I researched on Google, and the favorite comfort food is still pizza for 15 percent of Americans. I don't know other parts of the world. Put it in the chat, and do not take this moment to show off how healthy you are. "Kombucha is my comfort food". Shut up. Go away. Go to another church. I'm talking about something… It's not good for you, but it tastes good to you. Put it in the chat. I'm not going to tell you mine yet. I'll tell you Holly's.
If you ever want to make her feel better, send her french fries. I thank God for that, because they're cheap and predictable. It's a lot cheaper than jewelry. So, if I see her down… And it's not just food. I hope you're putting these in the chat, by the way, because I'm really interested to see how many of you will be honest about it. I know this is really bad, because you have all of these goals for the new year that you're not going to eat it anymore, and here I am bringing it up. You turned on the church to try to get away from this stuff, and here I am talking about it. But I think we should talk about it. I think we should talk about comfort food today, and I think we should talk about it beyond just physical food, but I want to use physical food to get there because it's something we can feel.
When we went to Singapore a couple of years ago… Holly is laughing because we kind of had a fight. We had a disagreement. I was there to preach, and our hosts were so amazing, the church we were at. They took us to really nice restaurants. I thought they were all really nice restaurants because they were all restaurants I knew the name of, and I liked it that way. Holly, on the other hand, was so disappointed that they were taking us to the same restaurants… I remember one night they took us to Ruth's Chris, which is like my favorite… That's one of the first nice dates… I saved up 18 months and took Holly to Ruth's Chris when we came to Charlotte. So, I was happy to be at Ruth's Chris, and she was kind of disappointed. She told me afterward, "I could have eaten all that in Charlotte". Apparently, she had just read a book, Crazy Rich Asians, where they put a bunch of stuff about food markets and stuff.
So, she's reading this book, and we're going to Singapore, and she's thinking about all this new food she's going to try when we get there, and then they take us to TGI Fridays in the mall. I was happy. I like TGI Fridays. There's nothing wrong with TGI Fridays anywhere in the world, any day. It doesn't have to be Friday. I'll make it a Friday on Thursday. I'll eat chicken tenders any day of the week. It makes me feel good. It makes me feel something familiar in my soul. I like it. I like chains…chain restaurants. Ooh. I like chains. That's what they call it: a chain restaurant. It's the same anywhere you go. I like them. It's comfortable to me. I don't even have to look at the menu. I don't have to acquire a taste. Who has time for that? Especially in an unfamiliar place. If the place is unfamiliar, at least give me a taste I can recognize.
Numbers, chapter 11. The Israelites are in a strange place. They left a strange place that they came to to escape a famine they did not cause, but it has been 430 years since they first entered Egypt. How many know that 430 years is enough time to adjust your taste buds? They were not slaves for 430 years; they were only slaves for 400. The reason I point that out is for the first 30, Egypt was the place that fed them what they needed to survive. In Genesis 41, it talks about how the people of God got to Egypt where God took care of them. I've mentioned before from this pulpit how the place you escape to in one season can become the place you are enslaved by in the next. This really shows this in a way that I think you can get it.
Genesis 41:53. I can't give you the whole story, but let me try to give you a little taste of it. It says, "The seven years of abundance in Egypt came to an end, and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in all the other lands, but in the whole land of Egypt there was food". They came to Egypt not out of rebellion but out of survival. One day, I'm going to preach this message. I've been promising it for a while. I'm going to talk about sins with benefits. You've heard the other phrase, but that's not the one I mean. I'm talking about things you do that meet a certain need in your life, but the way they meet the need creates a greater need, throwing you into a spiral sometimes of what ends up feeling like slavery. Listen to this phrase. This got my attention.
It said in verse 55, "When all Egypt began to feel the famine…" That's the phrase I want you to underline or write down or put in the chat: feel the famine. I believe I'm preaching to somebody today who feels the famine. It could be a famine of encouragement in your life. Like, nobody has told you you're doing a good job in a while, and nobody has told you in a while that you matter, or if they are telling you, you don't really believe their motives because they're just trying to use it to get you to do something and manipulate you to do something they want you to do. So now you're so jaded you can't even receive the nutrition of other people's encouragement, because you experienced it in a manipulative format, so now you're reluctant to receive anything anyone says to you that's positive, because you are more trained in your taste buds to something that is negative. But you feel the famine.
Watch this. The Bible says, "When all Egypt began to feel the famine, the people cried to Pharaoh for food". Right beside famine put Pharaoh. Pharaoh was, of course, the ruler of Egypt. He ended up putting Joseph in charge of the food supply. If you don't know all this backstory, you'll still get the message. It's all right. Plus, it'll give you something to study this week. You can look all this up this week and realize that there was a famine that brought the people of God… Joseph, who was an Israelite… It brought his whole family to Egypt.
Now, God will use famine in your life to get you into a place or position of his purpose. Over and over again in the Scripture. So, when we say we want God to move in our lives… How many would say that? "I want God to move in my life in 2021". Yeah, yeah, yeah. For God to move in your life, he will often remove something from your life. So, when you pray that, you have to think of those at the same time: move and remove. If God is going to move, if he's going to do something, if he's going to change things… We say we want change, and we shout about change, and we pray about change. What we really want is we want change that we choose and that we can control. So, when they felt the famine, they came to Egypt.
Of course, verse 57 says, "All the world came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere". This is where my compassion kicks in. When I hear a preacher yelling at somebody for being an alcoholic or yelling at somebody because they have a sexual addiction or yelling at somebody because they go over here and do this and that and the other, I feel kind of like the person on the other end needs to be able to say in their own defense, "It meets a need". Then we can help you, once we're honest about that, find a better way to meet that need through God. That's what salvation is. That's what transformation is. Not that God tells you to starve and swallow your spit and like it, but to get joy from a place that won't create chains just to make you comfortable.
The text we're in… Remember, it has been over 400 years, and the people of God have come out of Egypt, but as we've learned, it's a lot easier to come out of Egypt than to get Egypt out of you. That's why no amount of new cities you move to can free you from internal struggles you carry. I should do this. No amount of churches you can hop to… Do you want another one? No amount of hair colors… I've had a lot of hair colors. I'm telling you what I know. But what's in you is in you. Now, when they felt the famine, they went to Egypt, and that wasn't a bad thing. It wasn't a sinful thing. It wasn't like they went to Egypt to run away from God.
You know, in the Bible you have Jonah running from God, going to Tarshish instead of going to Nineveh where God wanted him. It wasn't that kind of situation. It was a survival instinct. That has been you for a little while. It was either go to Egypt and survive or starve to death. You self-medicated a lot of pain. You used anger as a defense mechanism so you wouldn't be abused in the areas where you feel most vulnerable. That's how they got to Egypt. If we could start there, with a little bit of compassion to understand what the Israelites… You know, the passage I read… It sounded kind of rough. Right? They started complaining. The verses just before it say they complained about their hardships in the presence of the Lord, and the outskirts of the camp started to burn and be consumed with fire when they were complaining. I'm like, "Dang! That's rough".
It's one thing to criticize their attachment to Egypt, but we don't even understand their abuse that put them in that position to begin with. So, I'm reading it, and I'm thinking about Graham. A while back, Holly asked him, "When you're out there wrestling…" Because he's a pretty good little wrestler. She said, "Do you listen to the coaches? Can you hear them when they're screaming at you what to do"? She doesn't know much about wrestling, but we're over there yelling, "Crossface! Sprawl"! You know, all of these things to do. He said, "I can hear them, but I don't listen, because they don't know what I'm going through. They don't know what I'm feeling". I said, "Son, that's the benefit they have. They can see it. They're trying to get you to see what you need to do, because when what you feel…"
I started preaching to him about it. I said, "They have the benefit of being outside of the situation to see what you need to do. You are so deep in the struggle…" That's the children of Israel in Numbers 11. We look at this, and we're like, "Oh, how stupid could you be? You want to go back to Egypt". Yeah, they want to go back to Egypt, just like you want to go back to… Let me see your phone, and I can find your Pharaoh. I'm not going to do it to you, but I could. Oh, I could do it. Because I know how it is. We're sitting here preaching. We're preaching it. It has been centuries since this was written. "I don't have a Pharaoh". Um, then why do I see you ignoring your kids, not living your real life, and filling yourself with stuff that makes you feel worse in the end? What's that about?
I'll find your Pharaoh, and you can find mine. You were thinking, "Oh, I don't need this sermon. Comfort foods. I'm doing pretty good with my eating. I'm on gluten-free. I drink only almond milk and wheatgrass shots and things of this nature that are good for my digestive system and really kick the enzymes into overdrive, so you can give this to someone else". Okay. So you don't have comfort foods. You don't like Cracker Barrel. I get it. You're not saved. You're not going to heaven. But that's all right. Do you have comfort friends? I'm using the term friend loosely. We all need people who can sit with us and be with us and we know they're there.
I have several people in this room that I wouldn't have made it this far without them. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about they make you feel better for five minutes. I'm not saying you could avoid them or cut them off, because you have to show love like Jesus. but I just want you to identify this. I think some of us are drawn to relationships that keep us in chains, and we like the chains because they're comfortable. When we meet somebody who would really challenge us to change, we push them away. I like chains. It feels comfortable. But it's not safe. You know there's a difference. Right?
It's kind of interesting to me that we not only have comfort foods and sometimes comfort friends but comfort phrases, things we say to make ourselves feel better. Like, excuses we make, or we blame. Comfort phrases. Not just comfort foods…comfort phrases. We feed ourselves these lines. "Oh, well, that's why I'm like that" and "I never do that" and "Well, they can only do that because of this and that" and "Well, nobody really loves me". That's just all a way to keep us in the comfort of our dysfunctional life. You see it in the Israelites, but you have to feel for them, because they've been in the wilderness for a year now. One year, and they've been eating the same menu item called manna.
The manna is kind of difficult to describe to you. First, because we don't have the same version of that now. I can't bring it up here, pass it around, and do Communion with it. You're not getting this at Whole Foods. I don't know that it was very delicious, but it got the job done. In some seasons, God will provide for you with something… It's not necessarily savory, but it'll help you survive. Some seasons in our lives are like that. When they saw it… Manna literally means "What is it"? It was brand new to them. It didn't taste like anything they'd tasted before.
You have to imagine. The way it would work is when the dew would appear, the manna would come, and they could get enough for that day. "Give us this day our daily bread". That's how God provides for you: enough for right now. There will be more for the next day, but you cannot reach into tomorrow and pull in today's peace or supply or joy or anything like that. That's where you get stressed. That's where you start wanting to go back to Egypt, start thinking about the future or the past. All of these things are dangerous. But what was it like the first day they saw the manna? "Wow! What is it? I'm curious. Wow! There's this strange, sweet food on the ground. It's like honey-covered wafers. It's a strange taste, but at least we're eating".
Remember, God wanted to bring them into the Promised Land. They tasted the grapes of Canaan, but they forfeited their right to the fruit of that land because of their lack of faith. This put them in a position of circling in the wilderness, and they've been there for one year now. The manna has gotten monotonous. The miracle has gotten monotonous. All of us complaining, ungrateful people, get ready, because I'm coming for us. The miracle got monotonous to you. That's how it said it in the verse. "We've lost our appetite. We never see anything but this manna". Like how you felt in quarantine looking at Jonsal every day, looking at that same guy every day.
Do you remember when you used to see him up on stage praising God? "Oh, if I could just be with that man of God with his anointed vocal cords". Then about month three or month four of quarantine, you're looking at him like, "What is it"? It has changed from a statement of possibility to predictability, and now I'm bored with this. You used to watch Elevation Online all the way across the world. Now it's 6:00 a.m. rehearsals. "What is it"? That's what amazes me about how you stay excited. I love that. To eat the same thing every day… What got them in trouble is they had the same thing every day, so they started complaining. "Oh, we want the fish of Egypt, the fish of Pharaoh. Oh, it was so good. I'm sick of this manna. I'm so tired of this manna". "I'm so tired of this man. I'm so tired of this woman. I'm so tired of this life. I'm so tired of this thing. It's the same every day".
I had to keep studying it for the context, because that's where the key was to me understanding what really happened here, what made them want to go back to a place where they were slaves, what made them want to give up their right to freedom to go back into their role as slaves. See, on one hand, the manna was the same every day. It never changed flavors. It's like God put a HelloFresh in the wilderness, but it was the same… It's like it got locked on the same meal every time. You keep waiting on it to change, and it doesn't. At the same time, while everything was the same every day…same wilderness, same food, same diet, same, same, same, same, same… Same ol' crap, same ol' patterns, same ol' me.
I asked the Lord one year, "Could I just have somebody else's dysfunctions, just to try them on and see if I like them better"? You get tired of your own. At the same time that everything was the same and they were sick of it, everything had changed. At the same time that they were eating the same food every day… I want to see if you can relate to this. At the same time that they were doing the same thing every day, gathering the same manna… "Okay. We take it this day. We leave it on Saturday. We get twice as much before the Sabbath, and then we rest". At the same time that they're going through this gridlock system of the same, everything has changed. They've never been free before…not for 400 years at least. Everything has changed, and everything is the same every day. It is the combination of everything feeling the same, mundane, boring along with the instability of everything you've ever known going away that causes them to crave something that almost kills them.
Do you think this is a little bit like us in the year 2021, where it feels like everything changed, and at the same time, every day just feels like another replay…the same bad news, the same fear? I have to tell you the whole story, because if I just give you a compendium of this, you will miss the essence of it. It's really important that you get inside of this. They had to move constantly in the wilderness, and they had no… Are you ready to see how relevant the Bible is? They had no schedule for it. Every day, it was like, "Am I taking my kids to school? Am I going to drop them off at school? Am I going to drop them in a river? Am I going to homeschool them, cook them lunch? What am I going to do with them today"?
The manna was day by day, but it was the same, but everything had changed. So, at first I thought, "Okay. Well, they just wanted a change". But no, they wanted the same, but they wanted a change, but they wanted the same. They were stuck in between, and in between you have nothing. That's what Bono said. They were about to break up U2. He said, "In order to get to the next expression of the band, you have to reject the first one, and in between you have nothing". That's what it feels like at first. So, to fill it, you want to go back to what you know. That's why we can preach these sermons. "I want you to leave your life of sin behind".
That sermon feels good for five minutes. Okay. I'll give you 15 minutes. I'll even give you three days. But that doesn't really change anyone, because what is happening as you are embracing your new nature in Christ is you got out of Egypt, but all of Egypt is not out of you yet. It's not that you're not a real Christian, and it's not that you're a bad person, and it's not you need somebody to beat you up. "Sprawl! Crossface"! "I have something on top of me that I need to know how to deal with". I feel the famine, and then the question becomes…Where do you go when you feel the famine, when you feel alone, when you feel ashamed, when you feel afraid? I heard it this way in my mind: Fruit or fish?
Not that one is bad on a dietary level. I'm no nutritionist. I promise you that. I can teach you about boiled peanuts and the correct way to eat them and the exact time to eat them. We could teach you these things in another seminar at some point. Remember what God wanted for his people when he let them spy out the land? The grapes of Canaan. Then look at what it has come to after one year in the wilderness. Think about what it has come to after a year of us going through a very unsettling time, and at the same time it's unsettling, it's completely boring. How can we be so bored and so scared at the same time? It has been one year in the wilderness.
I remember when the first guy came to Elevation with a mask on. I told security to keep an eye on him, because I'd never seen that before. This was before the pandemic, before the NBA shut down, before we had any clue that this was going to be what it is. I remember them telling me on a Saturday night, "There's a guy here with a mask on". We thought he was an alien. We'd never seen that before. Now the whole world feels like…no offense…a TSA checkpoint, where I don't know the rules from one thing to the next, and I'm completely disoriented. If I wear a mask in some places, they're like, "Oh, that's great. You love your neighbor". Others, "You're a Communist. You're a conspiracy Illuminati". Everything is so predictably stupid, everybody is so predictably mad all the time, so now I crave something stable.
But watch this: chains aren't stable; they only make you feel that way. So, if I stay in Egypt, if I stay with meeting the need, if I stay with Pharaoh, whatever my Pharaoh is, I will never be full. That's the thing about Pharaoh's fish. "We want fish like we had in Egypt". Really? Do you want whips like you had in Egypt? "I want to get back to how it was BC, before corona. I want to get back to the old ways, the old times. I want to get back to how it was when I was having a nervous breakdown and I was on the verge of divorce. Yeah, get back to that…garlic and onions and leeks". That's what they were talking about.
The reason they were thinking about Egypt's garlic is because they had forfeited Canaan's grapes. It's the same every day, yet we can't plan anything. I just thought I have to preach this because it feels like it belongs in a newspaper. It feels like it was written for us. We're hungry, and we have to decide whether we're going to crave the fish of Egypt or move forward into the fruit of Canaan. The manna was never meant to be permanent. The manna was the mercy of God. Do you know the reason they didn't like the taste of manna? They weren't supposed to. God didn't want them to die in the wilderness. So, he's using those things to get you going forward to the grapes. He's using these things. He's using this dissatisfaction so you don't settle in a place of survival but you step into everything he has for you.
Some of us were going to die in the wilderness, but God allowed us to lose our taste for comfort food. The whole time I've read this passage… Because I've read it before, and I've heard it used talking about a devotion on complaining. You know, "Make up your bed; don't complain. Do the right thing; don't complain. Shut up and wear your mask" or "Don't wear your mask and don't complain". That's a surface-level interpretation. What we're looking for is…What really makes me crave something that kills me? Or like you said the other day… Elijah said something. He goes, "Why do we crave what we hate"? I said, "Stop right now". We were in the middle of a workout. I said, "Stop right now". I took a big red marker and wrote it down on the page. That's the question we're after.
Remember how they cried out for God to get them out of Egypt? Then God did, and now they're wailing to go back. But I get it, because like Graham said, I'm not under the pressure of having to follow a moving cloud and a fire and not ever knowing when I'm going to be situated. So, why do you crave what you hate? Why do you prefer pessimistic thoughts? Why do you tend to gravitate toward that? Or self-pity. Why do you like that? Why do you like to say really horrible stuff about yourself that you would fight somebody else if they said it to one of your friends? Why do you crave that? Why do you feed yourself that?
I always like to point out when we're talking about "Your phone is your Pharaoh" that most of the stuff you're doing is called a feed. Have you noticed it doesn't really fill you? How many of you got off Instagram or Facebook one night this week and said, "God, I just feel so fresh. I feel so ready for what's next. My faith in humanity is restored just seeing the comments of those who the Lord has appointed to speak into my life. Mmm! Garlic, onions, leeks…this is delicious".
Listen. It's like it was in Egypt. They gave them bricks with no straw. That's what these social media apps are designed to do to us: to starve us and keep us coming… Y'all better watch the documentary on Netflix. This crap is real. It doesn't fill you. Your appetite for the wrong things is insatiable. Yet some of the stuff you crave isn't bad; it's just where are you going to go to get it? That's what I love about God. He has what I really want.
Let me ask you a question. Why would you run to Pharaoh to beg for something your Father can freely give you? I don't want this to be a negative sermon. Let me preach for a few minutes about your Father's fridge. We're talking about comfort food, so let's go all the way forward a few centuries when a rabbi named Jesus showed up and started teaching. He said, "Let me tell you what the kingdom of God is like. The kingdom of God is like a man who has 100 sheep, lost one, and went after the one. Oh, it's like a woman who had 10 coins, lost one, and went after the one". Or, if you didn't get that, it's like a man who had two sons and lost one. The one said, "I'm going to take my inheritance".
The Bible says in Luke 15… I love how the Bible just goes together. It's like a great meal where all of the dishes complement each other. I was thinking about the famine they felt in the wilderness, and then I thought about this younger son in Luke 15. You know him as the Prodigal Son. You might have heard about him. He gets blamed for a lot of stuff. He went out and took his father's money and wasted it. He took what he could have invested and wasted it. Some of us have done that. We've wasted time. We've wasted thoughts. We've wasted energy. We've wasted intellect. We've wasted passions. We've wasted desires. We have craved inordinate things. That's what the word means in Numbers 11:4. It means to crave an inordinate thing with an indiscriminate leaning on your senses. Just eating anything.
That's what happened to the son who left his father's house. I want to read this to you and see if this is how you've been feeling lately. The Lord told me that we are feeling the famine, and it's not even just an economic thing. You might be like, "Well, my job is fine". I think we're feeling a famine just for some basic human contact these days, because everything is new and everything is the same. It feels endless and it feels different all at the same time. I never had to walk up to people before and think, "Do we shake hands? Are we going to do this"? I used to have to be like, "Are we going to dap? Are we just going to shake? What are we doing? Are we doing this or are we doing that"?
Now I don't even know if we should touch each other. I never had to ask that before. But it feels like it's just the same every day. Look at Luke 15:13. The younger brother got together everything his father gave him and set out to a distant country. Do you see that? He went to a foreign place, just like the Israelites. Here's the difference. He went to a foreign place, and he wasn't running from a famine; he was running from his father. I understand running from a famine, but why would he run from his father? "When he got there, he squandered his wealth in wild living".
When you read that, you think about all of the things you don't struggle with, but I would challenge you to plug in something that personally fits for you there. Don't take it straight to the strip club, because you would never go there when you see wild living. Think about the other things. Think about the things that keep you spending, spending, spending…not just money, but keep you just spending, spending, spending, hungry, hungry, hungry, thirsty, thirsty, thirsty, feeding, feeding, feeding. Think about these things. Think about what it is for you. It could be something different for each person in here. Look at what happened. "After he had spent everything…" That's what eventually happens. Eventually, you're just spent.
How many can testify that eventually…? When you go to a foreign place away from who you know you really are, away from character first, chasing after applause from people or chasing after somebody's approval, it doesn't fill you. Pharaoh can never feed you. There aren't enough fish in the world. While we're at it, the fish aren't that good. They aren't as good as you remember them. They aren't as good as you imagine them. The fish are not that good. It's full of bones, and it'll choke you on the bones. The fish are not that good! The fish are not worth me giving up myself for. The fish are not worth me giving up my peace for. No, no. There's not a fish in the world, there is not a fish in Egypt, there is not a fish in the Nile that is worth me giving up my knowledge of God and myself. That's what the younger brother did. "After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need".
It was a good thing that there was a famine, because it brought him back to his father. It's a good thing. If it brings you closer to God, it's a good thing. I'm not talking about feels good in these five minutes. I'm not talking about comfort. I'm talking about change, grace, faith, the good stuff, the stuff you can live on, not what this kid started eating. Look at what happens to you when you leave your Father. Look at what happens to you when you start remembering Egypt's fish and forgetting God's faithfulness. This boy went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country. You don't belong here. I'm saying that to somebody. You do not belong in this low place. You do not belong at 3:00 in the morning on some Pornhub trying to find something to fill you that only makes you more hungry. You do not belong in that place.
And, yes, this is a real pulpit, and, yes, we talk about real stuff, and, yes, I live in the world, and, yes, I know that some of us… I'm not yelling at you. I'm pleading with you. Don't let a craving kill you. You want acceptance? Good. You want joy? Good. You want life? Good. You want more? Good.
The problem with most Christians isn't that we want too much. We don't want enough. We'll settle for fish. God wants to give us fruit. We'll settle for a high when God wants us to be seated above all the noise of this world. I'm telling you what I found out the hard way. The boy didn't want enough. He just wanted his share of the inheritance, and look at where it left him. Look at where it leaves you. This is why we've been feeling weak. Not because of something going on externally. No, no, no. The Bible says he looked at the pigs he was feeding and (verse 16) "He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating…" Comfort food, eating something that was fit for an animal. Have you been doing that?
Thoughts you're telling yourself, things you've been believing, lies you've been going to just to feel full for five minutes. Then he had a moment of realization. I love it, because (verse 17) he came to his senses and said to himself, "My father's fridge is full". I just paraphrased that. I like the way that sounded. Put it right there in the chat. Say it with your mouth out loud. "My Father's fridge is full". Look at the person on the couch next to you and brag about it. "My Father's fridge is full". Tell somebody else you've been going to who has been abusing you, "Your fish are not that delicious. My Father's fridge is full".
Tell every Pharaoh that keeps you in chains of ways of believing and behaving and living and thinking and hurting and bleeding and starving, "My Father's fridge is full! Goodbye, Pharaoh! I've got a Father! Goodbye, pigs! I've got a Father"! It's full. He has all the comfort you need. He has all the joy. You haven't been needing the wrong things; you've been getting them from the wrong place. It's an acquired taste. The truth is an acquired taste when you've been eating lies all your life. So, the Lord said we should think about comfort food today. We should ask ourselves the question: "Why do I crave what I hate, and what would be a better way to get it"?
Like, practically. There is a better way inside of God to get this done. For everything that's destroying your life, I want you to realize your Father has it. Every decision you make, here's what you're deciding: "Am I going to get it from Pharaoh or am I going to get it from my Father"? One is a chain restaurant. It's going to keep you stuck right where you are in Egypt. But the other one… If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. The key to everything I'm trying to teach you is in Numbers 11:4. When the Israelites craved the meat of Egypt, it all started because of the rabble that was with them.
You may ask me, "Pastor Furtick, I know what rabble is, but just for the other people who don't study their Bibles as much, what exactly do you mean by rabble"? When I show you this, you're going to understand. Listen to me by the Spirit of God. I'm not playing with your emotions here. I'm telling you what God showed me. When you see what the rabble was, you will begin to understand why you've been craving things you hate that destroy you. When the Israelites left Egypt, they had to do it in a hurry. They did it in the middle of the night. Some of your life has been like that. You've just been trying to stay one step ahead of something really bad. Survival mode. Stay with me. I know I've said a lot, and I know I cooked too much, but get some Tupperware and take this home.
Exodus 12:38 describes it, when they left in the darkness, about two million strong, six hundred thousand men, women, and children; when they left on foot like that, and they got everything they could in their hands from the Egyptians, and they left Egypt where they were enslaved, where they went to originally be fed, which represented the place of bondage, which represents what you might be leaving this year, or trying to leave. Here's what happened: "Many other people went up with them…" That's the rabble. When it says, "The rabble with them began to crave other food," it's the Egyptians who left with them who were not one of them.
So, when you left Egypt, all of Egypt didn't leave you. I'm not talking about people. I'm talking about perspectives, patterns. I'm talking about the things that went with you. You're in Christ. You're a new creation, but don't be alarmed when some of the old cravings are still there. That's the rabble. God said the first step to receiving… This is what I'm going to teach about for the next few weeks. Are you ready? I'm going to pick this up next week. We're going to talk about having room to receive in your life. I feel like it's our series for the new year: room to receive. In order to have room to receive the new things…the grapes of Canaan, the promises of God, the good things, the encouragement, the life, the joy, the honey, the sweetness, the things God has called you to savor, the truth that is already in you but keeps getting crowded out by the lies, by the rabble, by the routines, by the attitudes, by the beliefs, by the behaviors, by the limitations, by the examples you've seen…
I just spelled the word rabble. Go back and check it. It's all of those things. It's the routines, it's the attitudes, it's the beliefs, it's the behaviors, it's the lies, the limitations you believe, and it is the examples you have seen set that keep you reaching for Egypt's fish when Canaan's grapes are right in front of you. I want you to remember going into this new year that before you can receive the blessing, God has to remove the rabble. So, here's the decision, and we will make it together, because I think we'll be better served if we do this together this year. In order to receive God's best for our lives, I want to ask you a question. Are you willing to allow God to remove the rabble, the old that feels good that draws you back in? It will be a process.
Look at this passage. It's so crazy, because they craved quail, meat, fish, garlic, leeks, onions, all the Egypt stuff. Do you know how good they knew the menu from Egypt? It had been ingrained in them. "I'm familiar with this menu. I know exactly what to do with this old pattern. Oh, but the new one… What is this manna? What is this"? That's exactly where God wants you. It's uncertain. That doesn't mean it's unsafe. Your Father has enough in his house. God is bringing us to our senses. When they complained, God sent them so much quail it started coming out of their noses, one other Scripture says. They couldn't digest it, because while it was in their teeth… Pharaoh's food never fills you. It says in verse 34 that the place where they complained was called Kibroth Hattaavah, because there they buried the people who craved other food.
Can I tell you what Kibroth Hattaavah means? It literally means graves of craving. The Lord is bringing us into a new year with a question: Funeral or feast? Or maybe he's saying, "Let's have the funeral for the rabble so we can feast on what the Father has more than enough of". Stand up. I'm closing. Give God 21 seconds of praise. I'm counting. You just clap. No, no. That's not praise. Like a Canaan praise, like a grateful praise, like the Egyptians you see today you will see no more. Come on! Get uncomfortable! Praise him if you know it's about to be a feast in the Father's house! Look at this. I bless you, but before I bless you with the blessing of a new year, I want to show you what the father said to the older son.
See, there was a younger son who left the father's house, and he was starving, but that wasn't the saddest part of Luke 15. There was another son who was starving, and he was in the house. That's you. There's no need for you to starve for the need of what your Father has plenty of. I want you to just turn your palms like this is a new year's consecration moment. I know we're a few days into the year. You might even be watching this three years after I preached it. God doesn't care about that. Lift your hands. The only thing that makes it new is you. What good is it for God to give you a new opportunity if you're going to stay on an Egyptian diet?
Lord, you are our food, our bread, our sustenance. We live, move, breathe, and have our being in you. That's it. All that we need is in this moment because you are in this moment. You are not enough; you are more than enough. You are enough with Tupperware. So, Lord, in the strength of this word you spoke today, we commit a new year to you. We would hate to be the bearers of a Canaan promise and die with an Egyptian appetite. We want to speak to you this week about the rabble. For them, it was people who had to be buried in the graves of craving before they could move forward. But for us, it's going to be those other things…those routines that are killing us, attitudes that are squeezing us, beliefs that are limiting us, behaviors that are sabotaging us, labels and limits and lies that are confining us, the examples we see that have shown us that Egypt we've seen is what we're going back to. But we're not going back. We don't want to go back. We're looking back; we're going forward. You brought us through this far. We didn't come out here to die. We're not going to wander in this wilderness complaining about what you fed us. You gave us what we need for the season we're in, and we're grateful. We're thankful. You are a good Father, and it is right for us to celebrate. So we clap our hands all over the world. We thank you for our necessary food. We thank you for living water. Thank you, Jesus.
When the younger son came home, the older brother was mad, but the father said in verse 31 of Luke 15, "My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found". While the older brother stood outside with his arms crossed because he wasn't used to this way of seeing his father operate (just like you're not used to what you've been experiencing either), the father made a choice for the son: "Funeral or feast? Your brother was dead. He's alive". You have a decision to make this year: The graves of craving or the feast of your Father? I pray in the name of Jesus that you will choose life. In Jesus' name.