Story: Manna Is Provided, Exodus 16; Numbers 11:7–9
After leaving Egypt, Moses and the Israelites had a long road ahead of them. The people started to complain early in the journey. God heard their grumbling and told Moses He would send food from heaven. He also gave special instructions about taking only enough food for each day. When the people woke up, the ground was covered in manna. God cares for the needs of His people.
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As followers of Jesus, we’ve been adopted into His family as His children. Occasionally, the topic of God as Father can be a painful one—especially for the fatherless or those who had negative experiences with their earthly father. Regardless of how varied our individual experiences may be, one thing remains the same: God desires an intimate relationship with each of us. He is our Father. As our Father, He can restore what has been broken and heal what has been hurt.
Spend a moment thinking and praying to identify someone in your ministry or community who is fatherless. If you’re praying for yourself, spend a few minutes silently asking God to reveal Himself to you as Father. If you’re able to think of fatherless children in your ministry, spend some time praying for them. Ask that this message would bring healing and comfort to these little ones. May God use this weekend to show His care to His children.
Story: Manna Is Provided, Exodus 16; Numbers 11:7–9
After leaving Egypt, Moses and the Israelites had a long road ahead of them. The people started complaining early in the journey. God heard their grumbling and told Moses He would send food from heaven. He also gave special instructions about taking only enough food for each day. When the people woke up, the ground was covered in manna. God cares for the needs of His people.
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Fresh into their journey out of Egypt, the Israelites were learning just how wonderful God’s care for us can be. After spending time in the oasis of Elim, the people of Israel were rested and refreshed. But only a month or so into their journey, they became disgruntled and began murmuring again against Moses and Aaron. “Would that we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger” (Exodus 16:3 NASB). The people had seemingly forgotten the bondage, beatings, and misery of their forced labor as slaves.
God heard the complaints of His people. In His grace and mercy, He revealed His plan to meet their needs. Each day the Lord sent nutritional provision. Psalm 78 tells us God opened the doors of the heavens and rained down grain—men ate the bread of angels! The word manna comes from the question the people asked that first morning—“What is it?” The manna came with the dew each morning and resembled a hearty seed. It was especially nutritious and was able to sustain an adult for an entire day’s journey. Preparing the food into bread consisted of pounding the sweet seed and baking or boiling it into cakes. Manna was to be their food for the next 40 years until the new generation entered the Promised Land.
The way in which the Lord provided the manna was a wonder-filled miracle six days a week, and the preserving of the manna for the seventh day was an additional miracle. God’s instructions were clear: The Israelites were to gather manna daily, but only as much as each person in the family could eat; no more, no less. His people were to wake up early, before the desert sun would melt the manna, and only gather enough for the day. Any leftovers would rot and be full of maggots. On the sixth day, the people were instructed to gather twice as much as normal in order to prepare for the Sabbath.
God instructed His people to place a jar of manna in the ark of the covenant, which became the throne of God in the camp, to serve as a reminder of God’s wonderful provision. Later, the manna was placed in the Holy of Holies inside the tabernacle, where the glory of God dwelt. God chose to daily remind His people that He was the source of their provision.
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Sometimes our lack of faith isn’t so much about what we don’t know about God, but what we know and have forgotten. It’s amazing how forgetful we can be. It happens to me all of the time. God does amazing things in my life and the lives of those around me. He guides my paths, answers my prayers, and follows through on all the promises He makes. But still … I forget. I forget to trust. I forget to believe. I forget to see the bigger picture of who He is and the mighty love in His plan.
There was one particular time when I was being forgetful again. God had, only recently, redeemed some of the hardest times of my life. He had used some overwhelmingly difficult circumstances to prepare me for some incredible things that I couldn’t even have imagined or planned for. But here I was again … worrying about the future and how it might play out.
As I read God’s Word, I was reminded that I am not alone. Throughout history, God’s people have been forgetful—repeatedly! The Israelites, for example, experienced amazing triumph and witnessed miracles beyond explanation, and yet they would forget and start to worry. It was exactly what I’d been doing for quite some time. Just like the Israelites and the early Christians, I’d adopted a pattern of forgetfulness.
Since my great awakening, I’ve tried to be more aware of this pattern. I’ve asked God to smack me upside the head every once in awhile to remind me when I forget. It’s still not always easy to remember (for some reason our default seems to be worry and fear), but God is mighty. He is good. He has a plan for redeeming our lives. And because of who He is, I can trust Him.
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God is holy; He is absolutely perfect and set apart from all other creation. Despite His holiness, however, He desires to be in relationship with created beings. Unfortunately, we are not perfect and, thus, face distance from God. Therefore, God sent His Son to offer us an opportunity to be brought back into relationship with Him. First Peter 1:15-16: “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’”
Take a moment and write the things about God that remind you of His holiness. Next, consider the life of Jesus. How did He demonstrate holiness in His day-to-day life ? Now recall your life history. How has God revealed Himself to you? Lastly, pray that God would search your heart. Take some time to be still before God. Wait and listen for His response. Ask that He would give you direction in pursuing righteousness in the midst of whatever He brings to mind.