Do you remember as a kid coming home and asking what’s for dinner? Based on the answer, there was probably a groan or a cheer. Maybe your kids or spouse ask the same question. What would you have done if the answer was the same, night after night after night…or even year after year after year? Like you, I may have groaned and probably would have stopped asking and instead complained. The Israelites experienced this very thing. Let’s take a moment to look beyond the physical meal to what the Israelites were to learn through the lesson of manna.
Here’s some of what we know from Exodus 16:4,5:
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.”
Moses gives some insight in Deuteronomy 8:3:
He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.
God put the Israelites in an interesting position: to depend on what He has told them, “I will provide for you.” In the case of manna, God let them know the parameters to follow: collect enough for today, and on the sixth day collect enough for two days. But it doesn’t make sense…if I collect manna for two days any day other than the sixth day, the manna would spoil. There is more going on than meets the eye. Will they (or we) take God at His Word? Will we trust Him to provide for today, doing what He would have us do?
This theme of depending on God for today carries into the New Testament as well. Consider one of the truths Jesus taught His disciples: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). Jesus teaches them to ask the Father to meet their needs for that day. In Matthew 6:32–34, Jesus states “for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
This theme of dependence on God for today is echoed throughout Scripture — trust God; He is able; depend on God today; take God at His Word; God is able to do what He said He would do; God is faithful.
We chafe at this because we like to be in control. We put on “happy” faces even though we are wasting away in our hearts because of worry and anxiousness. We want the easy path of everything going our way, exactly how we want things to go. We want a security vault that supplies all our needs, enough for our entire life; to be withdrawn from on our timetable. We want our spouse and children to be totally sanctified…now. We don’t want to depend on anyone, we want to be sovereign over our own little universe, controlling all things.
Yet, the true Sovereign of the Universe says “I love you!” He communicated this by meeting our greatest need through His Son, who gave His life for ours. The Sovereign who is able says “Depend on Me today.”
Here’s what’s on the menu for today: a full helping of “depend on God.” He is able. He is good even when it doesn’t meet our definition of good.
Gary Webb is the Adult Ministries Pastor. He and his wife, Beth, were transferred down to Columbus from Toledo in 1988 while he worked for UPS. Gary worked as an engineer for over 12 years for UPS and Children’s Hospital. During those years the Webbs became involved at Grace. He joined the pastoral staff in 2000. Gary studied engineering (University of Toledo) and theology (Grace Seminary). Gary enjoys coaching, running, biking, swimming, and hiking. Gary and Beth have three adult children and three grandchildren.