Exodus 16:4 (HCSB)
4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. This way I will test them to see whether or not they will follow My instructions.
Yet again we read how the Israelites, now only a month and a half after their rescue from enslavement, and the repeated miraculous deeds performed by God on their behalf… complain. And the complaint is that they would rather have stayed enslaved in Egypt, and be able to eat their fill, than have been rescued by God to be hungry in the wilderness. And of course they have forgotten about the provision of food and water God had already performed for them just days after crossing the Red Sea, because they exaggerate their condition to be dying. Their default posture, other than the gluttonous attitude of wanting to have their desires satiated no matter what the cost, was to complain and grumble rather than to humble themselves and pray.
And again God displays His mercy and grace, and provides for the Israelites. Much like He does for us on a daily basis! But there are things we should note about His provision:
- God provides, but He does so in a way that will test us, so that we will either live out our faith, or show our unbelief. God gave specific commands about the gathering of the manna. Yet people disobeyed, they did not trust God. Rather than eat until full, saving none for the next day, people tried to save manna (Exodus 16:20). They were not supposed to gather manna on the Sabbath, but some tried to anyway, betraying their unbelief (Exodus 16:27). These were issues of trust, not believing God would come through the next day, and going out on one’s own… all acts of lacking faith.
- God provides, but man often has to join in the effort. The quail and manna came from God, but the Israelites had to gather and prepare it. It is one thing to petition God for provision, but when He does provide we ought to be prepared to take part in completing the act. In other words, the Israelites could not simply sit around and God was going to poof a fully cooked TV dinner onto their laps. Instead they had to gather up what God had provided, they needed to engage and come alongside of God in order to enjoy His provision.
Lord, thank You for providing for us, for as long as we seem to be wandering in our own wilderness. I pray for the clarity to follow Your lead, Your instructions, in order to fully enjoy Your provision. Help me to not be rebellious, but to come alongside You, enjoying the true freedom that You are. Amen.