We had company this week and took the boys swimming last night. We have a water bug on our hands. Our slice of Africa has no problems diving in head first and trying to swim. She had to learn to ask before jumping, just to make sure someone was there to pull her up so she wouldn’t drown!
Nathan and I are sleepy this morning…
So, the study isn’t edited, but I do have food for thought that I have been rolling around in my head yesterday and today. It sounds like this:
15 When the Israelites saw it, they asked one another, “What is it?” because they didn’t know what it was.
Moses told them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat.
16 This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Gather as much of it as each person needs to eat. You may take two quarts per individual, according to the number of people each of you has in his tent.'”17 So the Israelites did this. Some gathered a lot, some a little.18 When they measured it by quarts, the person who gathered a lot had no surplus, and the person who gathered a little had no shortage. Each gathered as much as he needed to eat. 19 Moses said to them, “No one is to let any of it remain until morning.”
20 But they didn’t listen to Moses; some people left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and smelled. Therefore Moses was angry with them.21 They gathered it every morning. Each gathered as much as he needed to eat, but when the sun grew hot, it melted. 22 On the sixth day they gathered twice as much food, four quarts apiece, and all the leaders of the community came and reported [this] to Moses.
So we see the Israelites waking up each morning and collecting what they need. Two quarts per person per family. It was sweet, a little like honey flakes. I imagine the first month or so, it tasted pretty good.The awe and wonder that came when breakfast appeared… as the dew faded and the manna was left.
I can imagine the people gathering their quarts; I can feel the initial insecurities that came with the questions, “Will it really be here tomorrow? Will God really keep sending provisions, or is this like a welcome-to-the-desert gift? Will he leave us to our own devices soon?”
Then, I read the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew. It builds and builds from personal issues to heavenly truths. Toward the end, in Matthew 6, Jesus gets down to the heart of us all. Our financial worries–the feeling that maybe God wants us to care for ourselves.
It starts with how to give 6.1-4, then on how to pray. And then we get the sweetness of the Lord’s prayer:
“Give us this day our daily bread…” Manna.
Jesus wanted his disciples to experience the sweetness of living a life in constant dependency on God and his provisions.
Jesus knew it was a blessing to collect that manna each morning and know Who left it on the ground.
Then it talks about fasting… Fasting after talking about giving, praying, and daily bread.
And then Jesus talked about treasures on earth that rust and are stolen and eaten by moths.
My internal sensors are firing… There’s something going on inside. I can feel something shifting.
My soul echoes Jesus words, “Why do I worry about tomorrow? Why do I think about what I’ll wear or the food I’ll eat? I want to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Show me how.” (Matthew 6.25-33)
And I get it. I have collected more than my share of manna. I collected more than my two quarts. I’ve collected my two quarts, your two quarts. I have the two quarts of the orphan who doesn’t have a home. I have the two quarts that belongs to the widow down the road. I have the two quarts of the homeless man under the railroad tresel. I have the two quarts of the starving.
Recently, I found a world map that shows the number of calories consumed each day around the world. The average person in the US consumes 3600 calories. The average person throughout India or African nations…less than 1600. I have their two quarts…
In my bank. In our retirement. In the curtains in the living room.
No. We don’t have to live like paupers. It’s not sinful to buy material goods. It’s not wrong to want a new dress, or live in a nice home.
But Jesus indicated there is a sweetness in living in daily dependency on God’s provisions. There’s a blessing in collecting the manna each day and allowing others to have the rest. I want all of Jesus, but this one is so hard.
My manna jars are beginning to stink. I can see worms inside.