Monday, April 8, 2019
When you woke up this morning did you do what we learned in the devotional on Friday? Did you spend some time enjoying the manna of your forgiveness and salvation? Did you rejoice that today you have been shown mercy by God in that you have been given life despite the failures and sin of yesterday? If not, do it now, and then make a commitment to start every day that way.
God teaches us another lesson of faith from the provision of daily manna.
Exodus 16:17-19 The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. And when they measured it by the omer, he who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little. Each one gathered as much as he needed. Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.”
Simply put the faith lesson is this – Don’t demand more than what God is willing to give. God promised that the daily provision of sweet bread would be sufficient to nourish each individual for that day. No one was to try to carry over one day’s provision to the next, except where God made that possible to honor a Sabbath day. If the manna from today was saved for tomorrow, it would be useless. God wanted people to trust Him for every daily need.
But some of the people didn’t listen. I can imagine their thought process. It would go like this:
“Let’s pick up just a little bit extra, and not eat quite so much today, and we’ll save the rest for tomorrow so we don’t have to get up so early and go out to gather more. It’s going to be a hard day today and I want to be able to sleep in a little tomorrow. Besides. Isn’t it wise to plan ahead.”
Imagine a little further that tomorrow has arrived.
“Boy that felt good to get that extra hour of sleep. Look at all those people coming back from the fields with their manna. What poor planners they are. Let’s eat!”
They open their jar and discover that their manna is ruined: filled with maggots. When they rush out to the field to get more, it is all gone, and for that day they go hungry. They learn a hard lesson – man’s plans never work when they are contrary to God’s direction.
So many people we meet today are living a hustle. I have helped many people grow in their faith who came out of tragic backgrounds, and this is the most difficult area to address. It is a huge issue for them because they have been taught to get all they can from any source for the least possible investment or commitment, and when that runs out, just move on to the next place. We see this all the time in the church and in our government’s welfare system. Hustle, hustle, hustle. “Get a handout,” they say, “but don’t let anyone give you a hand-up to a better way.”
My concern is that this philosophy has permeated our walks of faith as well. We follow God for the benefits and use him to pad our comforts, but this daily dependence thing gets old fast. Then we wonder why our life is full of maggots. Why does the joy of the immediate benefit wear out so quickly? Do we realize the addiction we have to self-satisfaction? Why has God been relegated to the role of our personal trust-fund manager who has to answer to our every whim and wish?
We need to learn the lesson of faith that Jesus taught in Matthew 6, where He says,
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”… “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Let the truth of daily dependence on God sink in and enrich your life of faith!