This week's reading- Exodus 15&16
Our focus scriptures this week :
Exodus 16: 2-4
2 Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3 And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not. 5 And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.”
Lesson in 3 parts:
Lesson Taught Through MANNA
Connection To Us Today
WHY would God choose to give HIS chosen people flaky bread-like flakes for food? WHY in the world wouldn’t He give them something more delicious?? Didn’t He love them???? …….. (Exodus 16)
Lesson Taught Through Manna
As we continue to study Exodus we read that Moses is continuing to move God’s people toward the promised land. The Israelites have left Egypt and are now basically on their own. They are LEARNING to survive without "masters" to care for them. Remember up until this time the Israelites had been slaves in Egypt for hundreds of years. Slaves do not make their own decisions. Slaves pretty much depend on their "masters" for their survival. Slaves are not taught how to provide and care for themselves. Because of this the Israelites needed to be taught some basic life skills. They desperately needed to learn how to survive on their own. This is where our lesson begins today.... God is about to TEACH His children, the Israelites, their first life skill. Their Heavenly Father was about to give them a CRASH course on SURVIVAL 101!
Step one in their survival training was to LOOK TO GOD to be FILLED! This is where MANNA comes in. IT IS SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST FOOD! In Hebrew is was called Man hu- which translates as "what is it??"... so basically this heavenly "bread-like" substance did not have a true name. I like to think of MANNA as FLAKES OF LOVE!! It is used by GOD to teach His children HOW to DEPEND on HIM for their every need! How to TRUST their LORD and seek Him DAILY to be FULFILLED.
While in Egypt, the food and drink of the Israelites were produced by human hands. The three main staples of that area were bread, porridge, and beer. None of these items were naturally found. A person had to DEPEND on the work and actions of others before these foods were ready to consume. God DID NOT want His people thinking they needed to depend on ANYONE or ANYTHING but Him! He LOVED them so much!! He alone could provide for them and keep them FILLED. He needed them to learn this BEFORE they entered the promised land!
Manna was ready to eat the minute it fell to the earth! The Israelites did not have to do ANYTHING to prepare it for consumption. All they had to do was ACCEPT it! Each day they were given their daily manna from God. I LOVE THIS! God is not only teaching them that HE alone can provide for them, He is ALSO teaching them to LOOK to HIM on a DAILY basis!!!!
Notice that manna was also used as a test to see whether God's children were ready to truly FOLLOW Him and truly TRUST Him. This test was SO VERY IMPORTANT! The Israelites were going to be unsure about the road ahead. They would not always know what obstacles they would face. There would be times when all they would have is THEIR FAITH. They were going to HAVE to trust God enough to FOLLOW Him and RELY on HIM ALONE to guide them on their journey. Up until now they had not done very well with this. Even though they had seen God's power when He delivered them from their Egyptian enemies, they still doubted God. When they found themselves without food they immediately grumbled and wanted to go back to their old masters! In essence they were saying that they would rather be SLAVES to their enemies than be FREE and rely on their God to provide for them! God wanted to fix this! He desired for them to have FAITH in their heavenly Father even when their needs were not instantly met.
The Israelites also needed to see the importance of restoring their FAITH in God on a DAILY basis! They needed to know that one day's faith would NOT carry over into the next day. God used manna to illustrate this. By seeing yesterday's manna rot (except on the 6th day), God illustrated to His children how their "faith" in Him could also rot. He wanted them to realize that faith in God one day would not be sufficient for the next day's needs. Just as the manna would rot and become inedible, so would The Israelites faith in God if not restored DAILY. God wanted them to see that their faith in HIM MUST be established fresh and new each and every day!
Their Lord also desired for the Israelites to place their trust in their God instead of in a human, Moses. Remember when the Israelites were hungry, they turned to Moses instead of turning to God. To demonstrate His ultimate ability to provide for His children, the Lord caused the manna to fall with absolutely no human interaction in the process. Moses had NOTHING to do with the heavenly bread falling. It was TOTALLY provided by God Himself. God did not have Moses raise a staff into the air, hit a rock, or climb a mountain in order for the food to fall. The manna fell EACH and EVERY morning simply because God said that it would! God's Manna was a TRUE gift of LOVE! It was the perfect symbol to show that God would provide for His children simply because He SAID THAT HE WOULD!
GOD STILL PROVIDES FOR US TODAY!
We are reminded HOW important looking to HIM for OUR DAILY BREAD by reading the Lord's Prayer
The Lord's Prayer
The Lord's Prayer
Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, As it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.
(Taken from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, 1662).
** KEY VERSE: Give us this day our DAILY BREAD!
There are so many distractions that can keep us from turning to GOD for our DAILY needs.
Our Heavenly Father knows this.
He truly desires for us to begin each day WITH HIM....
We should be dependent on HIM and HIM ALONE
We must ASK HIM to fill us for THIS DAY'S NEEDS
We should DO THIS EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!!!
Just as we are distracted by our busy lifestyles in today's world, the ancient Israelites were as well. God knew that once they entered Canaan it would be more difficult to teach the Israelites. There would be so many things to pull their eyes off of their Heavenly Father. The promised land would be full of so many new and wonderful things. New and marvelous things... wonderful things.... many amazing things that the LORD himself was preparing for them!. The Lord DID want them to enjoy the ample gifts that He would give them in Canaan, BUT He needed to teach them how to be SATISFIED in HIM first!!! God understood that it would be easier to teach His children this lesson in satisfaction while they were still in the desert. In the desert, there were fewer distractions!
Connection To Our Lives Today
Think about this in our lives. Do you think God sometimes leads us into a "desert" time because He needs to teach us something and He wants our full attention?
Isn't is amazing how the heavenly bread (manna) was freely given to anyone who would accept it...
and The Bread of Life , JESUS, is also freely given to ANYONE who will ACCEPT HIM!
The manna was provided simply because God said that He would provide it...
and JESUS IS provided SIMPLY because God SAID that He would provide HIM!!!!
I LOVE THAT!