We don’t have to look outside the walls to see the negative consequences of self-control on society—God shows us that in the Bible. One example is in the book of Exodus, when the people of God had just begun their time in the wilderness. In chapter 16, God has announced his provision for the people. One morning, the people find something on the ground, but they aren’t sure what it is. Moses informs them that it is bread God is giving them (v. 15). He then provides very specific instructions about gathering it for their own consumption. They follow his instructions and gather the bread (vv. 16–19). But then they fail to follow his instructions about trying to stockpile it. God wanted them to trust him day by day, but the people wanted to build up a pantry of food for the tough trip ahead. But that’s not how it worked. When some didn’t follow instructions but instead saved part of it for the morning, “it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them. Morning by morning they gathered it, each as much as he could eat; but when the sun grew hot, it melted” (vv. 20–21). Their inability to practice self-control and do as they were told resulted in rot and destruction.
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