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He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good. Deuteronomy 8:16

MANNA-005SThe story of Manna has always intrigued me. God’s people are heading on a journey in which they really have no idea of the outcome. They are being led by a murderer with an anger issue. For hundreds of years they’ve lived as slaves in a foreign land under the rule of ruthless Pharaohs who were more interested in their own comfort than they were protecting the integrity of the Hebrew race.

In the midst of their journey God provides Manna for his people. No one is sure what Manna was/is, but whatever it was, it was a vital part of the Hebrew diet. Today, Manna serves as a lesson for each of us about God’s provision. Take a look at what Manna means to us:

  1. Manna shows we serve a creative God. God could have had any number of foods appear for his people. After all, he was God. The Hebrew nation was desperate for God’s intervention. They felt abandoned, afraid and angry. Jehovah God not only provided food, he provided the realization that God isn’t confined to explainable events to prove his presence. When they needed it, it appeared. No explanations. It just came. God still does that. He doesn’t always use Manna, but if we rely on him we’ll see small things throughout our day that prove his presence and desire to provide for his people.
  2. Manna reminds teaches us need v. want. My wife and I constantly remind ourselves not to succumb to what we call the ‘bigger-better-best’ syndrome. The ‘bigger-better-best’ syndrome is that little voice inside of us that tells us constantly that we need to have the biggest house, the better toys, the best car. ‘Bigger-better-best’ is driven by desire and desire is never satisfied. Many a Hebrew went out and collected far more than they needed only to find it full of maggots in the morning. Desire can never stay in the same house as trust. Jesus said “Why worry about tomorrow. Take care of today.” No doubt more than one Hebrew understood that truth thanks to Manna.
  3. Manna reminds us of the need to obey. Obedience is a bad word now days. To demand obedience is old fashioned. It squelches creativity. It’s intolerant. It destroys the rights of the individual. At least that’s what the world says. I think God responds by looking down on our self-destructive tendencies and says, “So, how’s that working out for you?” God’s rules are difficult to follow because the voice of desire screams loudly in protest. However, his ways are best. Many a Hebrew father no doubt listened to his children cry themselves to sleep because of hunger. Hungry stomachs that could have been filled if he’d obeyed God and went out to collect Manna.

Gods’ desire is to fill us each day with new life, with daily Manna from above. Lamentations 3:22-23 reminds us that “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”

Each and every day God provides new blessings for you to enjoy and share. Take time each day to take notice of this blessings and thank him for them.

PRAYER: Father God thank you for the example Manna is of your unfailing love for us and the blessings of each new day. Help me to never lose sight of all you have for me. Amen.

When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things. Psalm 104:28

Growing up I remember listening to a Pastor’s wife telling a group of us about her years growing up as a ‘Missionary Kid’. Her father was the pastor of a small struggling church and her mother worked at a nearby hospital that was run by a larger church in the area. Her parents were not missionaries to some obscure remote jungle area where they lived in complete isolation. It was a Western European country with a standard of living much like her homeland of the United States of America.

She told, with humor now, about some of the things the family received from very well meaning people in the states. Christmas presents for the kids that were obviously used and sometimes broken, clothes with holes in them and two or three sizes larger than the sizes asked for ‘so the kids could grow into them, and other similar stories. The two that stuck in my head were the box of used tea bags from a dear prayer warrior who attached a note saying she’d only used them once!

Another time a package arrived with sheets in them that were full of holes and of no value for the beds. “Mom and Dad figured that the women’s group from this particular church sent them thinking that they could be used for bandages since that is all some missionaries had for bandages in the early 20th century.” So they sent off a note thanking the women for the bandages (and promptly cut them up for rags!). Months later they received a letter from a friend in that same church telling the truth about the ‘bandages’. These were sheets that a couple of the church women had gathered to send to the family to use on their beds because “they still had some value!”

God gives us good gifts! The things He provides for us aren’t used, leftovers or discarded pieces of trash no one else wanted. He knows us. He knows what we need. As a loving Father He gives us just what we will have to have to make it through the day.

The Psalmist writes, in Psalm 102 that ‘You open your hand and they are satisfied with good things.’ That reminds me of the time in the wilderness when God provided Manna for the children of Israel. We still are not sure what manna was. What we know is that it tasted good and supplied nourishment for over a million people for forty years (along with the quail).

There was another interesting thing about the Manna. The people of Israel could go out and gather and eat as much Manna as they wanted and eat to their hearts content. But if they gathered too much it was rotten in the morning.

God’s lesson for them is the same as His lesson for us. He gives us just what we need for today. We can count on the fact that tomorrow He’ll do the same; and the day after that; and the day after that. There was no reason for the Israelites to worry about what they would eat tomorrow. When tomorrow came the manna would be there.

God gives good gifts. God gives us all we need to make it through today. There will be bumps along the way. There will be times we aren’t sure we’ll make it another day. But He has our tomorrows covered and He’ll strengthen us for the tasks of today if we trust in Him. God loves us.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, Creator sustainer of the entire universe. I thank you today for your provision. During those times when I fear the future or don’t understand today I praise You for the fact that I can look in the rear-view mirror and see how you have provided for my every need with good things. Things I needed, not necessarily wanted. Help me to live this day resting in the promise of your good and faithful provision. Amen.

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January 2023
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