How was your week? What happened? Was it stressful, calm, relaxing, irritating? Were you tried this week? What was the best part of your week? What was the worst part of your week? Did you get angry this week? At your spouse? At your siblings? At your friends? At your boss? Where was Jesus in your busy week? Did you notice Him anywhere? Did you seek Him out? Did He seek you out?
Obviously I know nothing about your week, but I know that at the beginning of this chapter, the Israelites had had a terrible one. They were angry and complaining again – this time about the lack of food. They fondly reminisced about their time in Egypt (really!?) where they had had all the meat they wanted to eat. Now, they cried, they were about to starve to death.
Spoiler alert: they were not about to starve to death. God had them, as He always does. He provided them with a little meat in the evening, but the next day literally rained food down from heaven. Can I have that happen to me?! This food was called manna, and it was very special. It appeared in the morning with the dew and had to be gathered from the ground before the sun rose and grew hot, else it would melt. You couldn’t keep it overnight, except for Friday night, because no one should gather any manna on the Sabbath day, and couldn’t even if they wanted to because God didn’t rain it down. This simple treat fed and nourished the Israelites for years and years, until their travels were finished. It was just one of the many amazing miracles God would work for His people.
The Treasures Within:
The Bare Necessities
Every single day, we wake up, eat, head to work or school, grind, eat again, come home, sleep and then do it all over again. The quotidian parts of our life sometimes seem as far removed from Jesus as possible, which is funny because He is behind it all. This chapter’s glimpse at a week in the Israelites’ life makes that clear. From the most basic needs, like food and water, to more complex needs, like the need to rest and relax from a week’s work, God provided it all. He made sure the Israelites had exactly the amount of food that they needed (verse 18). He gave the Israelites all the nutrients they needed in that one superfood. And He didn’t stop on the Sabbath, but promised to take care of their needs when they took off time to worship Him.
What is the significance of this, the everyday and the mundane? It seems so simple, but that’s really what is so amazing. Our big, powerful God bends down to Earth in order to be part of each day of our lives. He is close to us, intimate with us, part of the small just as much as the big. When a God that caring says He loves us, should we not believe Him? When a God that knowledgeable about us and what we need asks us to obey Him, should we not trust Him enough to do so? When a God that personal calls to us, should we not answer?
Mumble, Grumble, Groan
And it’s not just the routine of life that God is involved in. A significant part of our everyday life is touched by anger and irritation. Name me one person who has gone an entire week without getting upset or irritated once. When we think about that, the Israelites don’t seem all that strange. We really are always complaining about something! But the Bible says that God listens to our grumbling (verses 9, 11). Can you believe that? All of those snappy, frustrated words delivered with all of the prideful attitude we can muster – God patiently listens to that. Yet we can’t even patiently take that from our own family members!
This is not only true Love, but an example for us to follow. This is the patience we should show others. This is what should enter our mind when something doesn’t go right at work or when our plans fall through. This is what we should think of when a flat tire makes us late or when chores and family issues and all of the little things that pop up in a day eat up all of our free time. This is what we should think of before our lips even form the next grumble to God – this Man is love, patience, and kindness. He is in control. If we truly believe that He will supply each and every one of our needs, this will be easier. After all, God is not going to leave us to starve to death in the middle of our desert.
God’s Message To Us:
“Think about Me everyday, because I think about you.” As consistent as the manna from heaven that filled the Israelites’ bellies is the tender loving care God lavishes on you and me. It’s not late. It’s never cancelled. It’s always exactly what we need at exactly the time it is needed. And even when we grumble, when we blame God, or when we are offended because He didn’t do exactly what we think He should, His patience and mercy never fail. What did we do to deserve a Love like this? (Answer: Nothing) At the end of the day, God’s love is a freely offered blessing. We can spit on it and reject it or we can return it. We can ignore it until it is convenient or we can make Him part of our everyday lives, our everyday thoughts, and our everyday affections. I vote we turn to Him, come closer to our Father, and drink deeply of His love. And then just watch how much better our weeks will get.
What do you think? What did you find interesting about this chapter of the Bible? How did God speak to you as you read it?
There Are Always Questions:
- The consistency of the manna, and all the rules surrounding it make me wonder if it represents something larger, much like the Passover did. Does it?