When the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness, God provided for their daily sustenance by giving them manna: “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day” (Exodus 16:4). They could only gather enough for each day, except on the sixth day they gathered a double portion for that day and the Sabbath (Exodus 16:5). God told Moses that the reason they could only collect enough for the day was “I will test them and see whether they will follow My instructions” (Exodus 16:4).
Before they entered the Promised Land, Moses called them to remember the journey that had brought them there: “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deut. 8:2-3).
The hardships of the wilderness tested Israel’s commitment and obedience to God, but God still provided daily for their needs and sustenance. But they only received the provisions for that day. He taught them to trust Him.
We live in a world that values the “self-made” person. Our rugged, self-absorbed individualism flies in the face of biblical spirituality. God’s actions in the Bible repeatedly remind His people of their need and dependence upon Him. He is the giver and sustainer of life. He provides our daily bread.
If we let it, our world, with its busyness, anxiety, and worry about tomorrow, pushes God to the edges of our lives. We seek to be self-reliant planning for tomorrow because tomorrow depends upon us—or so we think. The message of the manna screams to us: God is the source of your daily provision; He takes care of you. Our responsibility: follow His instructions.
Do we only turn to God when we need something from Him? Do we see Him as the One who delivers us when we’re in a bind? Or, do we recognize Him as the source of our daily bread? Do we daily remind ourselves that He provides the things we need for our daily sustenance, and we are daily to seek to obey His instructions? Have we learned the lessons of the hardships of the wilderness?
Father, thank You for providing our daily bread. God, You are the source of our life; today, may we endeavor in all things to obey Your instructions. Amen.