Beware of These 4 Evil Desires

We tend to look at the Old Testament as not relevant to us today, but it was written for our instruction. Beware of these four evil desires in Numbers. #Numbers #WomensBibleStudy #GoodMorningGirls

One of the greatest benefits of studying the Old Testament is how it makes the New Testament come alive!  If you have been faithfully reading the book of Numbers with us, then the passage I am about to share from the New Testament will suddenly take on a whole new, deeper meaning than it ever has before.

Read Paul’s words below as he warns us of 4 evil desires:

1 Corinthians 10:1-11

For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.

Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.

11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.

“They were written down for our instruction.”

Sometimes as we read the Old Testament, we tend to think it is just a bunch of stories and we struggle to find application or relevance to our lives.  This is a huge mistake!

Paul says – the book of Numbers was written down for our instruction – it’s for us!

Beware of These 4 Evil Desires

1.)  Beware of Idolatry.

“Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat and ate and drank and rose up and played.” (v.7)

God called the Israelites to be set apart from the other nations but they disobeyed in Numbers chapter 25. Not only did they eat and drink with the pagans but it says they bowed down and made sacrifices to Baal!

After all God had done for the Israelites and all the power God had displayed before them, they still gave into the temptation to bow down to Baal!

Friends, may we never think we are above worshipping other gods.  In our culture – we don’t have physical idols but anything we love more than God, enjoy more than God or treasure more than God – is idolatry.  It could be your husband, a hobby, your kids, success, your looks, sexual pleasure, or a sport.  It can be anything that comes before God.

2.) Beware of Sexual Immorality. 

We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.” (v.8)

In Numbers chapter 25, the people of Israel began to “whore with the daughters of Moab…And the anger of the Lord was kindled…nevertheless, those who died by the plague were 24,000.”

The Lord detests sexual immorality and yet our world is filled with it.  From porn on-line, to cheating husbands and wives, to shacking up before marrying, to men laying with men – it is all indulgent.

These days, God does not send plagues as a consequence for immorality but it does not change the fact that God clearly detests sexual immorality and it leads to natural consequences.

3.) Beware of Complaining and Testing the Lord.

We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents.” (v.9)

In Numbers chapter 21, the Israelites complained about the food and water God had supplied them. They said “we loathe this worthless food.”  God punished them by sending fiery serpents that bit the people and they died!

Do not test the Lord.  When we complain against His provision for us – we are testing Him.

4.) Beware of Grumbling. 

“Nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.” (v.10)

In Numbers chapter 14, the Israelites grumbled against the Lord – AGAIN!  God heard it and said: your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness, and of all your number, listed in the census from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against me.”

All the grumblers were destroyed!  Yikes!  Perhaps we should guard our lips much more than we do when it comes to grumbling!

The Conclusion in 1 Corinthians 10:12-13

12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Evil means wicked, depraved and immoral.

Desires means a feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen.

Common means occurring often or frequently.

Paul says – do not be prideful and think that you can’t fall into these temptations.  These evil desires have been common to ALL men down through the ages.   They are a trap – they appear much more beautiful and promising than what they can ever deliver.

If you are struggling with any of these – they are not unique to you – you struggle with these because you are human BUT God is faithful. He provides a way of escape for those who are tempted by their evil desires.

For the Israelites who chose to give into their evil desires, God put them to death.

May we not take advantage of God’s grace and instead choose to put to death our evil desires.  With God’s help – we can have victory and freedom through Christ!

Walk with the King,


**Chime In**

How has studying the Old Testament made the New Testament come alive for you?

How has God provided a means of escape for you in times of temptation?

What else did you learn in your quiet time this week?

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  1. I love this. It’s very convicting. I’m so grateful God gives us conviction thru His word and thus an opportunity for repentance and restoration with Him.

  2. Happy Thanksgiving Courtney.
    These are desires that can be very tricky for a believer especially #1.
    I am always blessed reading your wise words. I pray the Lord fills you up until overflowing. I am always looking forward to the study summary.
    Thank you and God Bless

  3. Thank you for this sobering scripture reminder on how important it is to keep our heart in check and not fall prey to sinful habits. When I see how God despises and disposes of these sins, I am all the more grateful for the Word and his grace. -aimee

    1. Aimee,

      Yes – sometimes we slip from black and white into the gray area and don’t even realize how seriously we are offending the Lord when we sin. I’m so thankful for His grace too! God is good!

      Keep walking in His ways!
      Lots of Love,

  4. Thanks for this reminder Courtney! I’m so thankful for you and your ministry. I hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving!!

    1. Tiffany,

      Thank you for the encouragement! We had a great Thanksgiving – the kids are tuckered out and still sleeping so I’m enjoying a quiet morning Lol!. It’s after 9am here.

      Thank you for commenting!

      Lots of Love,

  5. It’s true that we don’t often realize the practical lessons we can learn from the Old Testament . And I believe idolatry is the primary weapon Satan uses in our culture today to take our eyes off of Jesus…most people don’t even realize the depth of their idolatry . Thanks for the great post.

  6. Wow! I’m totally convicted this morning! I love how you broke down God’s word and showed the connection between old and new testament scriptures! I just found your blog and I love it! Makes me want to dive into the Word on a bigger level. God bless you!

  7. Thank you Courtney for these sobering reminders from God’s Word. I so appreciate your insight into God’s Word. Your ministry is such a blessing to my heart. So very thankful that I can enjoy the ministry of Women Living Well ~ praise God from whom ALL blessings flow!! Have a blessed day and God’s richest blessings on you, your family and your ministry.

  8. Wow Courtney you were spot on with this and clearly hit the mark. I’ve read these scriptures many times but never broke them down in bits and pieces like that. God bless you for it. I was convicted in more ways than one through this. And it couldn’t come at a better time around Thanksgiving. In focusing on what we’re thankful for not on what we don’t have. God bless you girl!!!

  9. The world needs this, we all need to do some checking, thank you for sharing your insight on this…God bless you always.

  10. I struggle with the desires and idolatry. I have “goals” for my family which I know are good and honest, but I see how they can take over all my thoughts and my time every day. I am constantly ” redoing” this day in and day out. I know that even though my goals are good and right, the way they take over my life is a desire and I am treating them like an idol. I need to focus on the One true God and know that he has a plan for me and my family. I am overrun with worry and fear. I am trying so hard to come back and put it on Him. Thank you so much for this review of scripture. It has truly helped me .

  11. I really enjoyed this article – I have a question, though. I have a small ‘sanctuary’ with a picture of my grandparents and now a printed image of a GMG photo on God being with me. In front of my little corner I put fresh flowers and light a candle. I also use it as a prayer corner (I only started praying again recently after years…). Is this considered idolatry?
    Thank you, Dani

  12. Hey Courtney,

    Something to think about regarding 2: God may not send and actual plague that Wipes people out quickly, but rather many people who dabble in sexual immorality are the ones who develop STIs and even psychological disorders such as porn or sex addictions.. So go’s may not plague people but there are consequences of it.

  13. natural consequences/plagues to me are the same thing i.e.STDs are a plague of sexual immorality.

    Its nice to be reminded that God does not tempt us beyond what we can handle and always gives us a way out. I know that, yet being reminded pushes me to look for that way out. Being 23, in this world is tough, theres alcohol, parties, tv shows, etc. all types of influences and we really have to focus on God more than ever. Another reason I appreciate your site and come here often in addition to my Bible reading.

  14. Important messages for all, this is not specific to women, good things to remember as all mentioned is more prevalent than ever before.

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