2 Chron. 25:9

It is not the Lord’s way to restore to man that which he has forfeited through failure, unless He restores it in a different character. We find this whether in the case of an individual or a nation.

For instance, one who has fed upon the sweet manna turns back again in heart to Egypt, desiring the fleshpots and food of the land of bondage, thus leaving the manna which it loathes. But the soul in such a state finds no sense of rest. Surfeited with Egypt’s food, he comes to himself. His spiritual tastes are once more revived; he is again convinced that “bread from heaven” alone can satisfy his hunger, and he returns to the manna. Still he will now find that he is not, as it were, on the same ground as before his failure. There is some difference since his restoration was before that cause. Not that the heart and love of God are changed to him, but he does not, as it were, retrace his steps to the first hour of failure and go on from the point at which his eye, being off Christ, turned to something of the world with a desire after it. But the soul learns God and itself in a new character, and this in order that God may be exalted and self humbled.

It is a solemn thought, I can never regain what I have lost! How important, therefore, to treasure the present character of blessing while it is mine.

But here grace comes in and abounds for the soul. In keeping with God’s dispensational dealings from the very first, I learn that He never restores the ruined thing, but brings in something new or better. I also learn that He creates in my soul the necessity which my very failure has produced—the occasion for a new and more blessed manifestation of what He is in Himself than before. His resources are inexhaustible; He is God and not man. My repeated failure only serves, as in the case of Israel’s history, to bring to light what God is, and that for me!

Someone has remarked that after the children of Israel despised the manna, its taste was never the same again. At first it was like “wafers made with honey,” and afterward like “fresh oil” (Exod. 16:31; Numb. 11:8).

I would remark here what it was that preceded this notice of the change in the taste of the manna, in Numb. 11:5. “We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic.” Was it not a dangerous retrospect? I do not believe we can be thus engaged, even for a moment, unless self judgment is promptly exercised, without suffering from it. It should be ever “forgetting those things which are behind.” If we allow our desires to go back to the domains of our old taskmaster, we too shall be led to imagine that the food we there sought after was eaten “freely,” being blinded to the recollection of the vexation of spirit and cruel bondage that the prince of that land laid upon us, while we earned it. Let us not tarry at such an occupation, or we shall loathe the manna. “The serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety,” and “We are not ignorant of his devices.” Lot’s wife “looked back.’ We are on slippery places, while our eyes look not right on, and our eyelids straight before us, unto Jesus who is in the glory.