What is the Harm in it?

This is a remark people often make. Would it not be much more to the point, at a time when craving for something questionable, to reverse it and ask one’s self, “What is the good in it?” When we find such questioning arising in our heart, is it not an indication that we are not fully satisfied with God’s dear Son and our portion in Him? When God separated Israel of old from the life and bondage of Egypt, and brought them to Himself into the wilderness, He gave them manna fresh every morning to sustain them: man did eat angel’s food (Num. 11:4-9; 21:5; Psa. 78:25; John 6:48). Their Redeemer had given them Heaven’s best and satisfying portion. Never man before had tasted such food, and nothing else could have been better for them. Yet, they became discontented with the Heavenly provision; their souls got “dried away”; they even “loathed” the manna and wished for some of the old fare of Egypt, and wept because they could not get it!

One may ask, “What is the harm in the fish, cucumbers and melons of the Egyptians? “leave alone the strong-tasting things as leeks, onions and garlic. Such as the first three may be all very well in the land of bondage, but this was not God’s choice for His pilgrims in the desert; for them He had, literally, bread from Heaven. Satisfaction with Divine provision means happiness; discontent with it means murmuring. So the people murmured.

These lusts of the flesh, lusts of the eyes, and pride of life, are not of the Father but of the world (1 John 2:15-17). Somebody may exclaim, “Oh, you are a killjoy, God means us to enjoy ourselves.” But we reply, “Killing what joy?” Certainly not “the joy of the Lord,” the “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (Neh. 8:10; 1 Pet. 1:8). These so-called “harmless” things will, sooner or later, hinder a walk with God. Let us avoid them; then we shall have a soul fresh like a watered garden, in which “are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old,” for our Beloved (Isa. 58:11; S. of S. 7:13).

Sometimes the question is put in this form: “Where is the Scripture against it?” In all our associations in life, God has written all that He deems needful for our guidance. If a question arises, however, for which there is no direct instruction, then we should inquire of the Lord, and we may be directed to something in the Word that will give an indication of what would be, in that instance, consistent with the will and character of the Lord. The absence of a clear command does not give liberty to do what we may think wise, nor is its omission an implied sanction. Let us observe the silences of God, which may have quite as important bearings as His uttered Voice. Where there is no commandment, neither a principle to guide, then we show our wisdom in leaving the matter quite alone.