Monday, June 1, 2009

Got Manna?

Getting Spiritually, Physically, & Emotionally Fed

Exodus 16

(This message was shared at the May 2009 That Girl's Lunch.)

These words of encouragement look at how God provided for the Israelites....even when they were whining and complaining about their circumstances. (Ouch. That sounds way too familiar to me!) The truth is He gave them manna. And when He fed them manna it wasn't just simply physical food but it was spiritual food and emotional food, too. That's what He does for us today...He is the One who can feed us and fill us in every way.

Our handbook for life is the Bible. God speaks to us through His word. He has stories, examples, and word pictures to teach us how to live and which step to take next. The people described in the Bible are weak and frail -- as we are -- and yet the ones who sought after God always found their power and strength in God alone. When they would seek Him He helped them and spoke to them and taught them. He'd say things like, "listen to my words", "walk in my ways", "be still and know that I am God", and "remember what I have already done for you".

Exodus 16:2-3 -- "If only we had died by the Lord's hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death." Hmmm...would we Israelites/today's Americans like some cheese with that whine???? :)

If you'll notice God does not teach us everything at once. We have to seek Him daily and be filled for that day. That's what His grace and peace is all about. He says His grace is enough for the day. He will always give us what we need when we need it. With the manna He told the Israelites to only gather enough for the day...and no more. The ones who horded manna -- to be sure they wouldn't run out -- ???---they were not trusting God -- their manna rotted.

Exodus 16:11-12 -- "The Lord said to Moses, "I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, "At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God."

They gathered enough for each person in their households....some gathered much and some gathered little and the outcome was perfect portions. The ones who "paid no attention to Moses" (NIV translation) and kept the extra manna overnight saw it rot and smell by morning. And Moses was mad.

On the sixth day they were told to gather twice as much so they wouldn't be working on the Sabbath by collecting their daily manna.....and God PRESERVED manna for two days and it stayed fresh. This fact tells us He is in control of what will spoil and what will remain fresh...and for how long and for whom.....get it??? God is in the tiniest details of our lives. We can't ever say in truth that God can't do something.
About manna: My NIV Study Bible concordance states that no naturally occurring substance fits all the data of the description of manna and the way is was provided. It was a unique food -- in appearance and taste. And there's more:
  • "Manna was the Lord's unique provision for His people in the desert."

  • "The Hebrew word for manna is "what is it" and this suggests that it was something unknown by the people at the time. "

  • "The taste was something unknown by the people at that time."

  • "The daily abundance of the manna and its regular periodic surge and slump (double amounts on the 6th day) hardly fit a natural phenomenon."

  • "Its availability in ample supply for the entire desert experience, no matter where the people were suggests that it was not a natural substance."

  • The keeping of a sample of the manna in the ark for future generations (vv.33-34) suggests it was a unique food.

  • The point is....this was a supernatual provision! Do we believe God can supernaturally provide for our needs today? Here it is again: "With God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26) There is nothing He cannot do! We must believe!

Day-by-day is the way the Israelites were told to collect manna -- and God in His wisdom is teaching us today that we, also, are to be aware of our total dependence of Him. We need to see that the manna from God includes His peace and His grace as well as provision of physical needs, too. He designed us to need Him moment by moment. We just need to come to Him daily and often with prayer, praise, and requests ---with thanksgiving!

Oswald Chambers in his devotional My Utmost For His Highest writes: "Worship is giving God the best that He has given you. Be careful what you do with the best you have. Whenever you get a blessing from God, give it back to Him as a love gift. Take time to meditate before God and offer the blessing back to Him in a deliberate act of worship. If you hoard it for yourself, it will turn into spiritual dry rot, as the manna did when it was horded (Ex. 16:20). God will never allow you to keep a spiritual blessing for yourself. It must be given back to Him so that He can make it a blessings to others.

"When our awareness of our neediness increases, so does the realization of His abundant sufficiency." How cool is that????

  • Deuteronomy 8:3 -- "He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD."
  • Deuteronomy 8:16 -- "He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you."
  • Psalm 78:24 -- "He rained down manna for the people to eat, He gave them the grain of heaven."
  • Exodus 16:35 -- "The Israelites ate manna for 40 years until they came to a land that was settled; they ate manna until they reached the border of Canaan."

Look at that! Even while they were in their own wilderness of rebellion and sin for 40 years, God still faithfully provided for their needs! On top of that -- the manna did not stop meeting their needs until the perfect time for them to 'move on' to something else, namely when the Israelites celebrated their first Passover in Canaan! He is faithful and true. Always was. Always will be. Let us encourage one another in this truth during these most difficult days we're living in right now!

Revelation 2:17

  • "He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it." (NIV translation)
  • "Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit is blowing through the churches. I'll give the sacred manna to every conqueror; I'll also give a clear smooth stone inscribed with your new name, your secret new name." (The Message translation)

God is our Hope. He sent His Son Jesus Christ who has said, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty." (John 6:35)

He is our Manna! :)

Love & blessings, Polly