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3 “Oh, that we were back in Egypt,” they moaned, “and that the Lord had killed us there! For there we had plenty to eat. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to kill us with starvation.”
4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for them. Everyone can go out each day and gather as much food as he needs. And I will test them in this, to see whether they will follow my instructions or not. 5 Tell them to gather twice as much as usual on the sixth day of each week.”
6 Then Moses and Aaron called a meeting of all the people of Israel and told them, “This evening you will realize that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt. 7-9 In the morning you will see more of his glory; for he has heard your complaints against him (for you aren’t really complaining against us—who are we? ). The Lord will give you meat to eat in the evening, and bread in the morning. Come now before Jehovah and hear his reply to your complaints.”
10 So Aaron called them together and suddenly, out toward the wilderness, from within the guiding cloud, there appeared the awesome glory of Jehovah.
11-12 And Jehovah said to Moses, “I have heard their complaints. Tell them, ‘In the evening you will have meat and in the morning you will be stuffed with bread, and you shall know that I am Jehovah your God.’”
13 That evening vast numbers of quail arrived and covered the camp, and in the morning the desert all around the camp was wet with dew; 14 and when the dew disappeared later in the morning it left thin white flakes that covered the ground like frost. 15 When the people of Israel saw it they asked each other, “What is it?”
And Moses told them, “It is the food Jehovah has given you. 16 Jehovah has said for everyone to gather as much as is needed for his household—about two quarts[a] for each person.”
17 So the people of Israel went out and gathered it—some getting more and some less before it melted on the ground, 18 and there was just enough for everyone. Those who gathered more had nothing left over and those who gathered little had no lack! Each home had just enough.
19 And Moses told them, “Don’t leave it overnight.”
20 But of course some of them wouldn’t listen, and left it until morning; and when they looked, it was full of maggots and had a terrible odor; and Moses was very angry with them. 21 So they gathered the food morning by morning, each home according to its need; and when the sun became hot upon the ground, the food melted and disappeared. 22 On the sixth day there was twice as much as usual on the ground—four quarts instead of two; the leaders of the people came and asked Moses why this had happened.
23 And he told them, “Because the Lord has appointed tomorrow as a day of seriousness and rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord when we must refrain from doing our daily tasks. So cook as much as you want to today, and keep what is left for tomorrow.”
24 And the next morning the food was wholesome and good, without maggots or odor. 25 Moses said, “This is your food for today, for today is the Sabbath to Jehovah and there will be no food on the ground today. 26 Gather the food for six days, but the seventh is a Sabbath, and there will be none there for you on that day.”
27 But some of the people went out anyway to gather food, even though it was the Sabbath, but there wasn’t any.
28-29 “How long will these people refuse to obey?” the Lord asked Moses. “Don’t they realize that I am giving them twice as much on the sixth day, so that there will be enough for two days? For the Lord has given you the seventh day as a day of Sabbath rest; stay in your tents and don’t go out to pick up food from the ground that day.” 30 So the people rested on the seventh day.
31 And the food became known as “manna” (meaning “What is it?”); it was white, like coriander seed, and flat, and tasted like honey bread.
I am an Israelite. I would bet that most of us fit that description.
There have been many times where I have studied God's word with groups of people, reading stories of disobedience and lack of faith, shaking my head, wondering how these things could happen after God had so clearly revealed Himself to the characters involved. As I grew in my faith, allowing the Holy Spirit to do His work in me, it became apparent that I was no different from those people of old who threw their hands up in despair, questioning God's faithful presence and provision.
If I sat down to record all of the times and ways God has rescued me and those I love, I would have a profoundly inspirational book. I still glow when I recount to people the stories of anonymous checks showing up in our mailbox when my husband was between jobs. Then there was the time our little grade-schooler returned home around the holidays with an envelope packed with cash to bless us. The anonymous individual who paid the balance of her tuition one school year also left us stunned.
I breathlessly explain to people through joyful tears the reasons that I truly believe in angels. How else do you explain the mystery couple who swooped up our wandering "alphabet soup" toddler out of the street only seconds before she was hit by a pickup truck barreling through our subdivision? Busy getting our other two children ready for evening activities, we hadn't even known she escaped our watchful care. How did this couple know where she lived? She wasn't even speaking yet.
I also love to share how God sent His workers to rescue the children and I when our car was hopelessly stalled in a parking lot. My husband was once again between jobs, leaving us with little to meet our needs. Through tears I placed my hand on the dashboard of the vehicle praying, "Lord, you know we have no money, if it be Your will, PLEASE let this car start." As I turned the key in the ignition once again, the engine turned over allowing us to get home. When my husband looked under the hood later that day to see if he could figure out if there were any loose connections on the battery or other engine troubles, he found tools and a rag that didn't belong to him.
"Who did you have look at the car?" he asked.
"What are you talking about? No one," I assured him.
There was no explanation as to why these tools, that cloth should be under the hood of my car. It ran flawlessly thereafter. God's intervention was absolutely clear to us.
While these stories are amazing, I still find myself waning in faith as new and prolonged trials buffet my family. I don't take time to marinate, steep in these incredible encounters with the Lord throughout my life. Yet, I think there is an even deeper reason that both I and others like me tend to droop in discouragement.
We not only want our blessed stories of rescues from the past and provision for today. We want guarantees for tomorrow.
The funny thing is that God has already assured us of how the story ends. We win! His infinite grace guarantees that Jesus is our ticket to paradise. Tears are wiped. Evil is locked out and incinerated. Joy and Light are ours to claim. It begins right here and now.
Yet, we lose that joy because we don't want that discomfort, that suffering for Jesus that we agree to in our Peter-esque fashion. "Oh, Lord, I would even DIE for you if I would have to!" we foolishly proclaim. Or we hoard that manna worrying about tomorrow, only to witness it fall apart in smelly rot.
It's when I lift my head to see God's glory in the cloud that I can taste the sweetness He has provided just for today. He has not failed me. He cares about me infinitely more than the birds of the air or the lilies of the field, and He COMMANDS me to stop my worrying. (See Matthew 6:19-34) He is the Bread of Life, and He leaves me satisfied in the desert times when I obey and stop complaining.
PRAY: Lord, we know that You intend good for us. Grab hold of our thoughts so that we stop our anxious worrying. Make us obedient to You, no matter the cost. May we never love tomorrow more than we love You, Jesus.
~ Barb Dittrich