I want to tell you that I love people. I love God's people all over the world, but I love being home and I love being with you. I always enjoy when we can get together to worship the Lord and to study His Word because it is a foretaste of experiences that we are going to enjoy in heaven.
I want to study with you this morning a subject that I actually have studied off and on, I suppose, for a long time--a few decades. When I was studying it again, I thought I would call it "When God Is Satisfied." But after I studied for a while, I said, No, I will call it "The Dissatisfied God." I would like to invite you to open your Bible to the book of Numbers.
Number 11, we will start reading in verse 4. It says, "Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the Children of Israel also wept again and said: 'Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish, which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions and the garlic, but now our whole being is dried up; There is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!'"
What was their problem? Was it because they did not have enough food? They had plenty of food. The Bible says in both the Old and New Testament that none of them lacked. They were not hungry. The problem was not that they did not have food. Was the food not of good enough quality? Well, the way you read this here, it sounds like it was not very good but do you know how good it was? The Bible says in the Psalms that it was angels' food. Angels' food!
Well, then, what was the trouble? I do not claim to understand what was the trouble or how these kinds of things happen, but it is obvious when you read this that they were dissatisfied. Would you not agree? They were dissatisfied. When you study sacred history, you will find that when a person or groups of people are dissatisfied, that that is one of the most difficult situations in which you can be placed.
It is so difficult, I say this respectfully and reverently, it is so difficult that very often God Himself cannot solve the problem. You read about it in the first chapter of Patriarchs and Prophets, 38, it says concerning the angels that decided to go with Lucifer. It says they were dissatisfied because they could not penetrate something. There were some things that God was doing that they could not figure out or understand and they became dissatisfied. The best efforts that Infinite Love and Wisdom could devise could not solve that problem.
You read in many other instances the same problem is the problem that Eve had. Did Eve have everything that she needed? She had even more than that. Ellen White says that every want was supplied. Every want was supplied bur she became dissatisfied. She wanted something that the Lord said she was not to have. Both she and her husband developed a desire to have a knowledge of both good and evil, which God did not desire them to have.
There are many other stories in the Bible that you can read where this same kind of thing developed. The story of Judas and the twelve disciples.
So these people came to Moses and they were weeping and Moses became so upset about it, so perturbed about it and distressed about it, look down further in the chapter where Moses is praying. He is saying to the Lord in verse 15, "If you treat me like this, please kill me here and now--if I have found favor in Your sight--and do not let me see my wretchedness!"
So these people that we read about here in this chapter we are not just reading about an experience that happened there in the wilderness. This experience had eternal consequences. If you are saved, you are not going to meet this people in heaven. You are not going to meet them. The New Testament is very clear on that in Hebrews 3 and 4. This dissatisfaction had very serious consequences.
You might like to read what the Psalmist says about it in Psalm 78. He goes into some detail about this story. Psalm 78:17-31. It says, "But they sinned even more against Him by rebelling against the Most High in the wilderness. And they tested God in their heart by asking for the food of their fancy. Yes, they spoke against God: they said, 'Can God prepare a table in the wilderness? Behold, He struck the rock so that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed. Can He give bread also? Can He provide meat for His people? Therefore the Lord heard this and was furious; so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel, because they did not believe in God, and did not trust in His salvation. Yet He had commanded the clouds above, and opened the doors of heaven, had rained down manna on them to eat, and given them of the bread of heaven. Men ate angels' food; He sent them food to the full. He caused an east wind to blow in the heavens; and by His power He brought in the south wind. He also rained meat on them like the dust, feathered fowl like the sand of the seas; and He let them fall in the midst of their camp, all around their dwellings, so they ate and were well filled. For He gave them their own desire. They were not deprived of their craving; but while their food was still in their mouths, the wrath of God came against them, and slew the stoutest of them, and struck down the choice men of Israel."
Did they get what they wanted? They did. Did you know, this is true for me, this is true for you; it is true for every human being. One of the most dangerous situations that you can get in is if God decides that you want something so badly with an unsanctified heart, that He is going to give you what you want. That is what happened to them. They got their desire, it says. They got their desire and they also got leanness of soul.
What were they dissatisfied with? Well, first of all they were dissatisfied with their food or they were dissatisfied with health reform or you can just say, they were dissatisfied with reform in general. I remember one time I had given a lecture on certain health problems that were associated with the use of flesh foods. A young lady came to my office. She made an announcement to me. She said, You are not going to take my meat away from me. I immediately agreed, I am not going to take your meat away from you, not one forkfull, not one helping, not one kettleful.
Every human being has freedom of choice and with our freedom of choice comes also the consequences of each choice that we make. So they were dissatisfied with a reform program. You see God was trying to introduce some changes in the way that they were living. Let me ask you this question. Do you believe that God has in mind to introduce any changes in the way that you are living?
Well, somebody says, I do not want to change. I want to keep living the way I am right now. Are you prepared right now to perfectly fit in with the society of heaven? If you are not, then some changes have to occur before you can go. But if you do not want to change and you are determined not to change and you will not change, what kind of a choice are you making? You are making a choice that will exclude your from heaven.
Now they were not only unhappy with their food, they were not only unhappy with reforms, they were not only unhappy with the Spirit of Prophecy. They were unhappy with Moses, too. They were unhappy with Moses, too. But there was a big problem with that because Moses was not really the leader, was he? Moses was fallen an Unseen Leader, who was the real Leader.
So when they became unhappy with Moses who was following an unseen Leader, who were they really unhappy with? They were unhappy with God and His providence and they were unhappy with the place where they were. They were out there in the desert and they said, We are unhappy that we are here. We would rather be in Egypt. That is something to think through. That is an enacted symbolic parable.
You know what the symbols represent. What does Egypt represent? It represents that bondage of sin in this world. What does Canaan represent? Canaan represents the heavenly inheritance. But to get from Egypt to Canaan, where do you have to go? You have to go through the desert. They were not happy with the place where God's providence had appointed them.
Have you ever met somebody that is not happy with where they are at? They want to be somewhere else, either the place they were before or the place they hope to be in the future, but not the place where they are right now. They were not satisfied. Well, let us not spend all our time studying about the problem. What we want to know is, what is the solution?
Turn in your Bible to the Gospel of John and let us read a couple of tests. John 4:14. Jesus is speaking to the woman at the well in Sychar in Samaria and He says, "But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."
What does it mean when Jesus said, If you drink the water that I give you, you will never thirst. What does that mean? You will never be dissatisfied again. You will be satisfied. Turn over a page or two to John 6:35. It says, "And Jesus said to them, 'I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.'"
What does that mean? If you are not hungry and you are not thirsty, what are you? You are satisfied. Jesus said to the people, This is what I came to give to you, something that will give you eternal satisfaction so that you will never ever be dissatisfied again. Now in this world, there are people all around us that are in a desperate search for something that will give them some satisfaction. When they get it they are not satisfied.
Yesterday afternoon my wife and I talked to a lady about what she had been doing this summer. She told us that she went to Nevada. Well, what did you do there? Well, she wanted to find out what it felt like to gamble. So when she was out there, we asked her what kind of an experience she had? Well, she won some money. What did you do with it? We spent the money gambling.
So I thought, Well, that is interesting. There are other people that we meet that are in a great search for monetary resources like silver. The Bible talks about that, silver and gold. The wise man said in Ecclesiastes, he said, the one who seeks for silver will not be satisfied with silver. That is what the Bible says. Look it up in Ecclesiastes. The one who seeks for silver will not be satisfied with silver. The rest of the text says, The one who seeks or desires abundance will not be satisfied by that either.
So men and women are going to horse races and concerts and cruises. The last few weeks while we were working, part of the time we were on a resort island. Now I do not understand how these resort islands work because personally I would rather be in Kansas. But some people like to be there, so there were lots of tourists. People go to these places to try to find something where they will have happiness and some satisfaction.
But when they were done seeking for all of these things, they find out that all of these things, even if they get it, they are not satisfied. Jesus said, I have come to give you something and if you receive what I came to give you, you will be satisfied and you will never be dissatisfied again. What is this spiritual bread and this spiritual drink? He said, I am bread. If you will eat Me, eat this spiritual bread, you will never be dissatisfied again.
What is this? Turn in your Bible to John 17:26. It says, "And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which you love Me may be in them, and I in them." When the love that was in the Father is in you and when Christ is in you, then you will find that you never hunger or thirst again. You will never be restless again.
Ellen White wrote to a lady one time and said this. "You are restless, uneasy, and dissatisfied. All this springs from selfishness." Testimonies for the Church Vol. 3, 342. You see, it is our unconverted heart that causes all of this dissatisfaction and unhappiness and then that causes all the other things that we just read about in Numbers 11. But when the love of God is received into the heart, when Jesus is living inside, then the restless, dissatisfaction ceases and a person becomes content.
However, we have been looking at just the smaller picture, having to do with us. I would like to look also at the bigger picture, about the God who is dissatisfied. We have already seen, we read it in Psalm 78, God was dissatisfied with these people.
Look how it is described again in Hebrews 3:16-19. It says, "For who, having heard rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief."
What was it that made God dissatisfied? The thing that made God dissatisfied was the alienation of the human race from heaven. Jesus was so dissatisfied with this that He made a covenant with His Father and He said, I am going to leave My throne, My authority, My kingdom and I am going to the one lost planet. I am going there to win them back.
He came to a planet where there was dissatisfaction and rebellion all over the whole world against Him. He came into alien territory where people had given themselves deliberately to another master. Because He was dissatisfied as long as humanity was alienated from Him. He wanted so much to win them back that He decided that He would make it impossible for anybody in the universe to say that He could have done more. You cannot say that God could have done more. No, no, it is impossible to say.
When He came to this planet, He poured out all the hoarded or treasured love of eternity on this planet. The whole universe saw a demonstration, a revelation of the character of God that they had never seen or understood before. When you do something like this, it takes a response before you can be satisfied. Have you ever given everything that you know how to give to somebody and you cannot get any kind of a response? Have you ever had that kind of experience?
What would it take for our God to be satisfied? Here is what it will take. Ellen White wrote this in The Signs of the Times, September 5, 1895. She wrote, "The privileges of the human agent are very great. We cannot be satisfied without God, neither is the Lord satisfied without the love which He has purchased at an infinite price. God has given us Christ, and with Him all heaven, in order that He might reclaim our lost race, and attach us to Himself, that we also might be filled with all the fullness of God."
How long is God going to be dissatisfied? He is going to be dissatisfied until He has a response to the Gift that He has made for the human race. Until He has your heart, until He has your full devotion, He will not be satisfied. Elder W. D. Frazee was preaching on a subject very similar to this one time and he was trying to describe how important it is for each person to respond to the love of God; to respond to the sacrifice of Christ.
He told this story. Two parents who had several children. They were having a family reunion. There was one of the sons who was estranged from his father and his mother and so he was not there. So there was one place at the table that was empty. All the rest of the children were there. And he said, Suppose you should say to the father and that mother, Do not be sad about the one that is not here, you have seven out of eight! Would that solve all the problem?
Or describe it another way. Have you heard about wealthy people who have had their children kidnaped? Then, of course, they have to pay a large ransom to get them back. Suppose you went to one of these wealthy men who had had a boy kidnaped and you said to him, Look, there are a lot of orphan boys that I could buy for you for less money than that. I can get you another boy to take that boy's place and save you a lot of money.
Would he be satisfied with that? Why would he not? You see, he does not just want a boy. He wants that boy. Some people think, Well, God has millions of people to serve Him--and that is true. But the question you need to ask yourself and I need to ask myself, Oh, yes, He has millions of others but does He have you? Does He have all of your heart's affections? Are you totally devoted to Him?
If not, then He is a dissatisfied God. I want to read to you about that. "God is satisfied with no partial obedience." Signs of the Times, July 24, 1884. God would have His children bear testimony to the fact that God cannot be satisfied until the fallen race is redeemed, reclaimed and reinstated to their holy privileges, having free access to the Tree of Life." Ibid., April 11, 1895.
So, although He had millions of other beings that worship Him and serve Him and are faithful to Him, God today is dissatisfied because there are some of His children that legally, rightfully belong to Him that are estranged. They are gone from the Father's house. They are still on His heart, but they are gone from His house and He wants them back. When I say He wants them back, He does not just want their body, He wants their heart.
He will never be satisfied until He has His children back. You, each one of you, are one of His children. There may be somebody here that might say, Well, I have never given my heart to Christ. But He still paid the redemption price for you, whether you have given Him your heart or not. He has paid the price to redeem you back to Himself, whether you accept it or not.
The more you invest--this is true from a human standpoint even for people in this world--the more you invest in another person, the more necessary it is for you that they respond to your love for you to be satisfied. Jesus has invested in you, each one of you an infinite price. If He does not have all of your hearts affections, if you are not totally devoted to Him, then He is not satisfied.
Is He going to be satisfied someday? Yes, He is. We read about it in our Scripture reading. This text will not reach its final fulfillment until we get to heaven, but it says here in Isaiah 53:11, it says, "He shall see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied." What is it going to take for Him to be satisfied? What is it talking about here when it says, He shall see the travail of His soul and He is going to be satisfied?
When He is satisfied is when you have not only given your heart to Him but you are completely restored and are given eternal life and have access to the Tree of Life again. That is the only way that He will be satisfied again. That involves complete restoration and perfection of character. That is why historic Adventist preachers are always talking about overcoming sin and character development because God can never be satisfied until you are completely restored the way He created the human race in the beginning.
Here is how Ellen White described it. She wrote, "God is unchangeable. He is satisfied with nothing short of perfect obedience. Perfection is the only title which will gain admittance to heaven. The law is the only standard of character." Review and Herald, June 4, 1901. The question that you need to answer in your life, Is God going to be satisfied with me? God will never be satisfied until you are restored, completely restored, the way Adam and Eve were created in the beginning. That is His plan for you.
The devil is trying to trick you into thinking that God will be satisfied with something less than that. That is the great deception of antichrist in the modern world. Perfection does not count. But God wants to do something for you. God wants to do something for you that will result in your being perfectly satisfied but more than that. In Him being perfectly satisfied and for God to be satisfied, He has to restore you to a level of perfection that Ellen White says is higher than the highest human thought can reach.
That is where He has to take you in order for Himself to be satisfied. Are you willing to commit to having that kind of experience? You see, the biggest question in life is not whether I am satisfied, although, we saw from the Bible that if you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour, you will be satisfied.
But that is not really the big question. The bigger question is, will God be satisfied with you? Will God be satisfied with me? That is a question that has to be answered for every human being. That is what the judgment is all about. In order to pass the judgment, God must be satisfied. And the Gospel is to bring you to a condition where God will be satisfied with you and can take you to heaven.
Now I want to do something, I know that we are filming so I do not know what the film crew is going to do about this. Maybe I should have apologized to them first before I tried it. I want to do something that, well, I have done it in other churches but I have not done it here during our church service.
What we have been studying is a subject that we need to ponder and make commitments about with the Lord. I want to give opportunity if there is one or two or three who would like to say, I want to commit to the Lord that by His grace and power, I am going to come up to the mark that He has set for me to reach.
God has a mark. Paul wrote about it in Philippians the third chapter. There is a mark. God has a mark and it is a mark that is placed there for you and for me to reach. That is what it says in Philippians 3. We are to come up to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. I think we need to encourage each other with the fact that this can be done and we are going to commit to do it.
We are going to commit to change whatever needs to be changed in our character. Is there anybody that would like to testify and say, I want to make that kind of a commitment? I want to commit to the Lord and say, Lord, by Your grace my goal is to come up to the mark so that You will be satisfied with me. It is not whether we are satisfied with Him, is it? We are. But the question is, Is He satisfied with us?
Is there anybody here that would just like to come forward and say, I want to make that kind of commitment?
A total of approximately 35-40 people of the congregation testified and made new commitments to the Lord with tears and pleading.