Sunday, October 30, 2011

31 Days {Day 30} Manna From Heaven


I'm sure that everyone has heard the expression "manna from heaven".  It's part of our language to mean some unexpected gift that we may receive, maybe something that seems to miraculously appear.  


For a quick little Bible lesson, I want to tell you about the real manna from heaven.  When the Israelites escaped from Egypt through the Red Sea and after the plagues (more Bible lessons!), they were in the desert headed towards a new land.  Moses was leading them, but the people weren't happy.  They complained a lot about many things and food was one of them.  After all the miracles they saw, they still had trouble trusting the Lord.  


They ended up wandering in the desert for 40 years because of their disobedience.  Before I used to judge them, and think how ungrateful they were.  That was before we went to Israel last year and were able to "wander" in the same desert for 4 hours.  At the end we were hot, hot, hot and our two big bottles of water were bone dry and our feet hurt.  We were tired from walking the rocks and rough terrain and started to grumble ourselves for the seemingly aimless route we took.  Our leader did this on purpose to show us a new perspective, that we are all human and maybe shouldn't be so quick to judge them.  


So what does manna from heaven have to do with simplicity?  Everything and I'm going to tell you why, but first read this:


4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. 5 On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.” Exodus 16:4-5


We may think that the Old Testament and especially manna from heaven doesn't apply to us today, but God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  We can learn about His character through these stories.  God wanted the Israelites to rely on Him daily, to rely on His faithfulness.  They were not allowed to gather enough for two days and if they did it would rot, except for the Sabbath.  


If you read further, you will see that the Israelites even complained about the bread every morning, so God sent them meat every night.  God wanted to take care of them and He listened to their cries.


11 The LORD said to Moses, 12 “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.’” Exodus 6:11-12


These thoughts about the character of God have resonated with me since that trip to Israel last April.  I started thinking about how much I depend on God for my daily needs.  How does my clutter and saving things for someday go against His plan for me.  Some people call hoarding, or just keeping things you don't need a "poverty mentality", which means that you don't believe that you will have what you need to get that particular thing when the time comes.  If I really think about it, you can even say that this is the absence of trusting God.


God is clear that He wants us to trust Him to provide our daily needs.  It was important that the Israelites followed that rule in that they not have any stored away for tomorrow.  How do I translate this into my life?  I don't feel that it has to be a direct, literal translation meaning that I can only have enough food in my pantry for that day.  I don't think I should expect to have one pair of shoes that don't wear out even though the Israelites shoes didn't wear out for 40 years.


I do think that I have to let go of things and trust God for tomorrow, which goes along with living generously.  I don't want to presume to speak for God, but I can see from reading the Bible that God wants my heart and He wants me to know that He will provide for me. He wants me to count on His faithfulness.  


I feel that this is a precarious subject that can lead to extremes.  I'm not an extreme person and am a big saver, so it makes me ponder my thoughts on that too.  I'm certainly not saying that it is wise to not save money and to expect food to appear on your lawn, although God could do that if He wanted to do so!  I will leave the subject with this, which leaves it with a matter of the heart again.  


31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:31-34


This lesson makes me so happy that I have embraced Project 333 even more.  I am excited about the smaller wardrobe and feeling that I am being mindful of the needs I have now.  I hope that you can translate some of this into your daily life too.  Trusting God has never been easy, which I hope you will take comfort knowing that even the Israelites had that problem too.  Learning how God wanted to give them good things should make us feel more secure too.  


-Jennifer

1 comment:

kittiesx3 said...

Thank you for this post--there are some great reminders in here for me.

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