Which Is the Gift?
by Pr. Dave Mann
The Israelites had many challenges while they were wandering in the wilderness – hunger, thirst, snakes, enemies, etc. Nevertheless, with each difficulty, the Lord demonstrated that he was faithful. In fact, the hunger, served actually as a classroom for the Israelites to learn of the goodness of God.
To show his faithfulness, the Lord created a miraculous provision of manna. The instruction that came with the manna was that the people were to gather no more than one day’s worth of food each morning. One would think that the miracle of the manna itself would be sufficient to convince the people that they could trust the Lord for the manna to appear the next day as well. But, no, some of the people ignored the instructions and gathered more than one day’s worth, just in case. What became of the manna that was stored overnight? It became rancid, filled with maggots, and began to smell. They had just been in the “classroom” of trust in the Lord -- hunger followed by miraculous provision. Would they trust in their miracle-producing God for the next day?
To double down on his faithfulness, the Lord made an exception to the rule for gathering only one day’s worth each day. On the day of preparation, the people were to gather two days’ worth so that they would not go hungry on the Sabbath, and in this case, it did not spoil overnight.
Now, here we are over 3000 years later, reading this familiar passage and, no doubt, feeling rather smug that we would never distrust the Lord after such a clear demonstration of his faithfulness. Oh, wait! I think that this account is a mirror of our own human nature. We, too, often need to return to the remedial classroom of trusting God’s faithfulness.
The difficulties that we encounter regularly throughout life are simply opportunities to relearn that the Lord is truly Jehovah-Jireh. The Lord will provide!
Normally, we think about the manna, the thing that God brings into our lives in an unexpected way, as the gift. But it is actually the preceding difficulty, the pain, the challenge in life that is the gift. When we are forced to our knees, when we double up on our prayer time, we learn and relearn that we truly are dependent on God himself. That is when we are receiving the gift.
Jehovah-Jireh, you are my provision – more than the things that I think I need, and which you so graciously provide. My need is you, your presence, your faithfulness. Please help me remember this truth the next time that I grumble about something that I deem as lacking in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.