- Bible Reading- Exodus 16:1-7
- Focus Scripture- Exodus 16: 4
Some of the silliest things I recall from childhood serve as meaningful reminders today. Picture it- a sunny Wednesday afternoon and all the first-grade students come bustling in from the playground. Hungry. Everyone ready to eat the one thing school cafeterias always got right…pizza. (French fries and tater tots rank a close second). Seated at the table I pulled out my Little Bo Peep lunch box and read the note my mom always left. Glancing up a little boy I thought had a crush on me turned and mouthed the words, “I love you”. I remember sitting there in stunned silence because the only people in my life that professed love, for me, were family. I didn’t know what to do. So, I said it back but, out loud. This sent the entire table into uncontrollable laughter. He hadn’t said he loved me; I had gullibly fallen for an old trick of articulatory movement. He said “elephant ear” very smoothly to mimic the words I- love- you. I was angry because I had not learned to laugh at myself yet. I felt betrayed, friendless, and lashed out in anger. But why did I feel that way? In short, I was lied to. Love is a verb; it is something that needs to be proven, shown, and reciprocated. The word alone isn’t enough, it must be authentic. At the ripe old age of 6, I thought I had a clear understanding of what love was and what it was not. One thing that resulted in that memory- I don’t readily believe someone mouthing words, I seek confirmation before responding.
As the Israelites walked through the wilderness they began to fear moving forward and away from their old lives of enslavement. Looking back things didn’t seem all that bad. Exodus 16:3 Just a few beatings here and there, or perhaps a stray whip lashing across them from time to time. One may begin to wonder: did the Israelites have a distorted understanding of what love was? We know they were immersed in a pagan culture. Idol worship of material things had to weigh heavily on what their thought of love was. Love isn’t something you can touch but, be touched by. Their grumblings could have come from not understanding how God wanted so desperately to save them from current circumstances and usher them into a deeper fellowship with Him. These were His people, God sought after them, and they continually rejected His love, grace, and mercy.
The Israelites were shown immeasurable authentic love but, they had to go through some reconditioning to get to their promised land. They quickly forgot all of the hardships of captivity because they were “hangry”. However, God tested the Israelites giving them only what they needed to sustain themselves every day. Exodus 16:4 God wants our obedience as well and we are to be mindful of His blessings. This form of rationing was designed to teach the Israelites self-control and what real trust was. They could trust God to provide just as we can. God takes care of us and shows us compassion, He knows what our needs are and will provide if we wait patiently and walk in His path. The Israelites could literally look up for their daily bread and know it would fall fresh each and every day. God gave the Israelites the gift of rest and provided a double portion of food before the Sabbath. Amazing right? God saw beyond their immediate needs and into their future by scheduling rest.
We should give God praise for always knowing exactly what we need and anticipating our weariness as well. The customs of keeping the Sabbath Holy were not lost in the wilderness but followed the children of Israel over those forty years. God is still raining down manna from Heaven as He did with the Israelites it may not look the same but if we pray to God asking Him to remove the hardness of our hearts we will find more blessings than we can name.
- What do I have an appetite for?
- Am I missing God’s blessings because I romanticize a past He is trying to deliver me from?
- What schemes is the enemy mouthing to me that I am falling for?