Am I “more consumed with conserving and accumulating manna than in honoring the manna-Giver”? That’s the question that stopped me in my tracks this morning.
Let’s take a stroll back to Exodus 16. The Israelites, newly emancipated from Egypt, fresh from their crossing of the Red Sea, quickly forget these miraculous works of God and start complaining because they are thirsty and hungry. They don’t say, “God, you brought us out of Egypt; you’re amazing! You parted the Red Sea; you’re incredible! We know you will provide food and drink!” No, they say, “He should’ve left us to die in Egypt, at least there we would’ve had food.”
Stupid ungrateful Israelites.
But God, being God, casually brings fresh water from a rock and rains down manna from the sky. You know, casually. And He tells Moses that they should only gather what they need for each day because God will gladly provide them enough. They don’t have to horde or worry. God, who got them out of Egypt, who parted a whole sea, who brought water from a rock, who made bread fall from the sky, said He would provide enough each day. But, the Israelites decided to, you know, just grab a little extra to make sure.
Stupid untrusting Israelites.
So, my (your?) story is not too different. I wasn’t exactly a slave in Egypt, but I have been a slave to many things — my eating disorder way back in the 80s, my fears about money, my need to control, …. and as the king said, “etcetera, etcetera…” I didn’t walk across the dry bed of an ocean or anything, but I did witness the freeing words of Christ come out of the mouth of an agnostic therapist, I have witnessed over and over God’s financial provision when it didn’t make any sense at all, I have been taken away from my life of soldiering into a time of rest…Etcetera, Etcetera. And still, like the Israelites, I complain and fret…
Stupid ungrateful me.
For some reason I look back on my life of slavery and remember how proud I was to be so thin, forgetting that I couldn’t think/remember/drive/communicate. I look longingly at the times that I kicked butts and took names, forgetting that my self-sufficiency felt lonely and isolated. I long for financial security and try to store away extra, forgetting how God has consistently and faithfully provided for all of my needs.
Stupid untrusting me.
The manna-Giver has rained down bread from heaven so many times in our married life. When we had young children and seemingly un-payable medical bills, He provided. When we went to the seminary, people we didn’t even know provided for our tuition and even Christmas gifts for our children. When an error in withholding resulted in a tax bill that we couldn’t imagine ever paying, He met that need. When, just this week, one of our children didn’t know how to find the money to pay for summer tuition, within hours, a scholarship was provided to pay the bill in full. Etcetera, Etcetera.
And yet I am tempted, just like the Israelites to, instead of praising and thanking the manna-Giver, become “consumed with conserving and accumulating manna.”
This is one more area where I need to “resist the urge to continue”. When I am “bent on turning” to go back to those days of slavery, I need stop, dead in my tracks, and remember the mighty works of God who has freed me, fed me, and provided for me in every way.
I can trust that His character does not change.
I can trust that He holds me in the palm of His hand.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3: 20-21