When the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness, God provided for their daily sustenance by giving them manna: “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day” (Exodus 16:4 HCSB).
They could only gather enough for each day, except on the sixth day they gathered a double portion for that day and the Sabbath (verse 5). God told Moses that the reason they could only collect enough for the day was “I will test them to see whether or not they will follow My instructions” (verse 4).
Before they entered the Promised Land, Moses called them to remember the journey that had brought them there. “Remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 8:2-3 NKJV).
The hardships of the wilderness tested Israel’s commitment and obedience to God, but God still provided daily for their needs and sustenance. They only received the provisions that were absolutely necessary for each day. In this way, 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 merely 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 and overall existence?
Each day, do we remind ourselves that He provides the things we need for our sustenance, and that 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 seek to obey Your instructions. Amen.