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He took away your pride when he let you get hungry, and then he fed you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had ever seen. This was to teach you that a person does not live on bread alone, but by everything the Lord says. Deuteronomy 8:3 (NCV)

Imagine what it must have been like being ripped away from everything you’d ever known. Sure, it wasn’t a perfect situation. The environment was getting more hostile all the time, abuse and murder were becoming common. But at least you had great food, a warm bed to sleep in and a relatively good idea of what tomorrow would be like.

Now, every day is an adventure. Sure, the first few days were okay, even exciting. But the excitement has worn off, patience has worn thin and you can’t bear the thought of one more night in that tent! The beauty of your surroundings has been replaced by wilderness. Not just physically, spiritually too.

This was the plight of those leavingEgyptfor the Promised Land. They were yanked from a situation that was dangerous, yet predictable; secure, yet confining; familiar, although they were foreigners in a far off land.

The wilderness wanderings of God’s people are a beautiful love story of grace.  While inEgyptthey were not forgotten. The worse things got for them, the more they called out to a God they barely knew. The beauty of it all is that he heard their cries and delivered them from their enemy.

But deliverance never comes without struggle. Those who struggle with addictive behaviors; are trapped in abusive relationships; are struggling with illness or financial disaster will tell you that. Deliverance doesn’t mean you get to waltz gracefully from imprisonment to freedom without some struggle. The enemy doesn’t give up that easily.

Stuck away in the story of the wilderness wanderings is the story of manna. The story of God’s provision. The story of giving just what each person needs at the time it’s needed.  

Manna appeared daily on the floor of the wilderness. It was new every morning to remind the Israelites that God’s love was new every morning as well. Each day was a fresh start.

Manna taught God’s people that yesterday’s failures and victories were to be left behind. Each day was a new chance to see God’s work. In fact, if you tucked manna (your past) away for later use it turned rotten! Yesterday is gone. Today is a new day of God’s grace.

Manna met each persons need individually. Those who gathered too little found that the amount they gathered was just enough for the end of the day. Those who gathered much found that the excess was gone by the end of the day.

Manna, like grace, was personal. I get what I need from God. You get what you need from God. There were no rules, no discussion on who gets what or why. Manna was available to the ‘good, God fearing Israelite’ as well as the rebellious and struggling one. Just as grace through Jesus Christ is available to all regardless of their situation.

With Jesus there is no lack.

There was, of course, a downside to manna, just as there is grace. Not a flaw in grace itself, but a flaw in human thinking. God’s provision was essential for their survival. Yet, soon the Israelites were complaining about manna. They began to take God’s provision for granted. May we never take the grace he’s given for granted. May we never forget the price paid for our freedom: the death of Jesus for our sins.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for the lesson of manna. Help me to see your new provision every day of my life. May your grace always inspire me to live with hope and expectation for what you have for me. Amen.

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