7.10.2007

Manna For Today

Exodus 16:4-36 "Then the Lord said to Moses, "I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days." So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, "In the evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaining against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?" And Moses said, "When the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the Lord has heard the complaining that you utter against him, what are we? Your complaining is not against us but against the Lord." Then Moses said to Aaron, "Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, "Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.' " And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. The Lord spoke to Moses and said, "I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, "At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.' "
In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, "What is it?" For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, "It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is what the Lord has commanded: "Gather as much of it as each of you needs, an omer to a person according to the number of persons, all providing for those in their own tents.' " The Israelites did so, some gathering more, some less. But when they measured it with an omer, those who gathered much had nothing over, and those who gathered little had no shortage; they gathered as much as each of them needed. And Moses said to them, "Let no one leave any of it over until morning." But they did not listen to Moses; some left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and became foul. And Moses was angry with them. Morning by morning they gathered it, as much as each needed; but when the sun grew hot, it melted.
On the sixth day they gathered twice as much food, two omers apiece. When all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, he said to them, "This is what the Lord has commanded: "Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy sabbath to the Lord; bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil, and all that is left over put aside to be kept until morning.' " So they put it aside until morning, as Moses commanded them; and it did not become foul, and there were no worms in it. Moses said, "Eat it today, for today is a sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field. Six days you shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is a sabbath, there will be none." On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather, and they found none. The Lord said to Moses, "How long will you refuse to keep my commandments and instructions? See! The Lord has given you the sabbath, therefore on the sixth day he gives you food for two days; each of you stay where you are; do not leave your place on the seventh day." So the people rested on the seventh day. The house of Israel called it manna; it was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. Moses said, "This is what the Lord has commanded: "Let an omer of it be kept throughout your generations, in order that they may see the food with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.' " And Moses said to Aaron, "Take a jar, and put an omer of manna in it, and place it before the Lord, to be kept throughout your generations." As the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the covenant, for safekeeping. The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a habitable land; they ate manna, until they came to the border of the land of Canaan. 36 An omer is a tenth of an ephah."


Deuteronomy 8:1-9 "This entire commandment that I command you today you must diligently observe, so that you may live and increase, and go in and occupy the land that the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors. Remember the long way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments. He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna, with which neither you nor your ancestors were acquainted, in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. The clothes on your back did not wear out and your feet did not swell these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a parent disciplines a child so the Lord your God disciplines you. Therefore keep the commandments of the Lord your God, by walking in his ways and by fearing him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you may mine copper."

Matthew 6:11 "Give us this day our daily bread."

"Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord." This is the quote that Jesus quoted Satan when he was tempted to provide for His own needs by His own power. I had never really paid attention to where He got the quote, though. I find it interesting to find that it was from the passage in Deuteronomy where Moses is exhorting Israel to remember their God and their story, and to follow Him. He reminds them that they do not need to provide for their own needs, but rather follow God, and He will provide for their needs, as He did with manna in the wilderness.

Jesus tells us to pray for God to provide for our needs -- our daily needs. And we are to be thankful for what is provided, and not take it for granted. We are to enjoy it fully. But we are not to hoard it -- either for tomorrow out of a desire to provide for tomorrow, or by keeping more than our share out of a desire to make sure we have an abundance. Each Israelite had enough for today, and enough for himself and his family . . . and if he kept more than his family needed, it was just enough, and if he kept it for the next day, it was no good that next day. And God made clear how much this was a supernatural act on His part and not just a natural property by preserving the food so that it was good the next day so that they could honor the Sabbath, and by not providing new manna on the ground to gather on the Sabbath.

This is a story of our Real God working in the lives of real people, and He is the same today. We are given what we need for today. If we keep more than we can use, we get no blessing or enjoyment from it. If we try to provide for tomorrow, we find out Who is God, and that we cannot provide for our own tomorrows. He has no interest in creating self-sufficient individuals and communities that He has taught how to live an "abundant life" without His daily intervention.

Now, this is not to negate our responsibility to obey and serve, including a responsibility to exercise wisdom and good stewardship of our resources. We also have the parable of the talents, and are called to invest our Master's talents for His increase according to His command. That is a far cry from figuring out how to take what He has given us and provide for our own needs and our own future apart from daily relationship with Him.

So, today I will ask God to give me everything I need this day to enjoy Him and life, and everything I need to be the person He is calling me to be today and to become the person He is growing me into. Today I will ask God for everything I need to do what He is calling me to do and to serve Him and others as He desires to use me.

Today I will seek to use and enjoy all that He gives me. And I will remember that it comes from Him, and that it is given to me for His purposes. I will remember not to slide into a worship of any of the good things He gives me, and to hold them lightly, as given just for today.

Thank you, Triune God, for Your provision for this day! And thank you most of all for your provision for me of Your Holy Spirit indwelling and healing and empowering me, of your Son Who offers me the best view of the Father that I am capable of understanding and Who intercedes for me with the Father, and for the Father Who loves me enough to have given me everything needed to know Him and enjoy Him forever!

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