If I’ve heard the story once, I’ve heard it a hundred times over in the course of my life. Truth be told, I’ve probably even seen manna in flannel graph form! But ya know what’s cool about the Word? It penetrates the heart and speaks to the soul when the heart and soul need it. And I can’t help but wonder if the Lord knew the manna story wouldn’t hit me between the heart and head until age 33.
Regardless, I’ve become a “manna gatherer.”
So what’s all this manna talk about?
Let me summarize.
(Passage from Exodus 16)
The people of God, the Israelites, are wandering around in a desert and their bellies are rumbling and their hearts are grumbling. They’re worried about where their next meal is going to come from and where their next sip of water is going to be drawn. These people were hot, hungry, worried wanderers.
So God decides He’s going to take care of their need while simultaneously blowing their minds.
“At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread.”
“That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor.”
“Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread the LORD has given you to eat.’ ”
Yes, friends. I believe this was possibly the very first version of “Frosted Flakes!”
Okay, so the Lord does this amazing miracle in the middle of a desert (Birds falling on tents and bread on the campground? Say what?!?!), and then He gives the people some instructions about this quail and bread.
“Everyone is to gather as much as they need…no one is to keep any of it until morning.”
And for awhile, the Israelites obeyed.
“The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone has gathered just as much as they needed.”
Did you catch that?
Everyone had exactly what they needed. Not too much and not too little. It was exactly the proportion they needed. Goldilocks would have been thrilled!
But of course, there’s always some rebel apples in every bunch.
“However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell.”
This goes on and on throughout chapter 16.
Moses reminds the tummy-rumbling grumblers of the instructions; some don’t listen and try to manna-hoard; and in the morning, there’s moldy manna. And again, the Lord is gracious and continues to provide for their daily needs…day by day.
So why does the Lord do this? Why doesn’t He just rain down a boatload of quail and a warehouse of manna? Why do they have to go out each morning and gather their daily manna and their nightly quail?
I think the answer is found in 16:12.
“Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.”
God wanted them to rely on Him every evening; He wanted their trust every morning; and He wanted to prove His daily faithfulness to His people and His commitment to their provisions.
In short, gathering manna was an exercise in remembering WHO met their daily needs.
This was the LORD. The self-existing ONE. The MASTER of all. Jehovah. The one, TRUE God. The SUPREME.
The LORD who provided exactly what they needed according to their daily needs. Never too much and never too little.
And man, oh man, have I been living in the daily, manna camp the past two weeks?!?! And ya know what? I think that’s a good place to be. A very, very good place for this “worried wanderer who sometimes lives likes she’s gotta hoard bread and come up with a back-up plan!”
Because every morning, I feel like I’m faced with a task that’s too big, or too tall, or too much for my little self. I find myself living moment to moment, feeding to feeding, task to task, appointment to appointment, call to call, need to need. And at the end of the day, I find myself absolutely astounded at just how well the LORD met every single need.
Securing a babysitter last minute for an important meeting.
An unexpected meal.
An appointment cancellation.
A shortened meeting.
Diapers in the mail.
A stranger holding a door.
An extra set of helping hands.
A night of sleep.
A kind word from a passerby.
Extra minutes to read.
I could go on and on as to how the LORD has provided each and every day for exactly what I need.
But as I’ve said before, sometimes His “daily bread” looks like a CROUTON. And sometimes His “daily bread” looks like a SLICE. And sometimes His “daily bread” looks like a BAGUETTE. And sometimes His “daily bread” looks like a GIANT LOAF OF SOURDOUGH!!!
Friends, He provides. DAILY.
We don’t have to fret.
We don’t have to hoard.
We just have to gather.
We have to see His provisions as just THAT. Provisions from a Holy God who desires to not only meet our needs with His hand, but to Also reveal Himself to us.
Because when we have needs and He provides…
our vision of Him grows;
our trust in Him expands;
our praise gets louder;
and our commitment to His mission overflows.
So at the age of 33…with 3 kids to care for, a husband to love, clients to counsel, a home to steward, family to love, friends to pursue…I find myself gathering manna at the dawn of every morning–trusting in His provision and believing in His promise.
So I ask of you a simple question to ponder.
Where are you gathering your bread this morning?