Any time you begin something new (a new school, a new job, a new marriage, etc.) there are always some lessons you need to learn to help you do well in that new thing.
In Exodus 16, the Children of Israel were embarking on something brand new, and there were some basic lessons God wanted them to learn from the beginning. So God provided a food called manna that would show up every morning. They were only to gather enough for that day. If they gathered more than they needed for the day, it would spoil. But God gave them manna, not only to feed them, but to teach them the following lessons:
- The Provider is more important than the provision. An abundance of provision still will not satisfy our hunger for something more. That satisfaction can only be found in the Provider…God (Luke 12:15)
- We can trust God to faithfully provide for our needs. God does not take pleasure in withholding good things from His children, but in providing the good things we need. (Ps. 103:1-5)
- Though we can trust God to faithfully provide for our needs, God does not obligate Himself to provide all of our wants. Nor does God obligate Himself to provide things ahead of time. Yes, God often provides so many of our wants, rather quickly. But He is not obligated to do so.
- We are to demonstrate our trust in God through our obedience to Him. True trust is believing in God so deeply that we do what He tells us to do, rather than what we want to do. Doing things our own way produces fleeting results that leave us unfulfilled, but doing things His way results in our deeper satisfaction.
I’m sure there were many other lessons God was teaching His children through the marvelous medium of manna, but following these four simple lessons will change the way we see and respond to life and God.
Think about the last time you grumbled about something in you life. This is probably an area where you need a refresher course on the lessons of manna.
Bret Legg is the Teaching and Counseling Pastor at Warren Baptist Church in Augusta, GA.