I bought my car, thinking that I would drive it to the funeral home on the day I died. The mileage was low, and it was a reliable car.
It should have lasted, but then I became a Hospice Chaplain. Now I use my car to travel all over East Texas, and the numbers on my odometer are rising faster than the national debt. Now I wonder if I am going to have enough car left at the end of the year.
I am guessing that this may be what the Jewish folk felt like when they trod the wilderness.
They were famished and they let God know about it. He provided in this way, “and in the morning a layer of dew was all around the camp. When the layer of dew had evaporated, there on the surface of the wilderness was a thin flaky substance, thin like frost on the earth. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” – Exodus 16:13-15
“What is it?” My mom would have spanked me for insulting one of her meals like that.
Israel gave it a name. they called it, “manna” and it was delicious. The text says, “it tasted like wafers with honey.” (16:31)
And with this manna they made all kinds of good things to eat like ba-manna bread and manna-cotti. OK maybe not.
An interesting tidbit – Jewish tradition suggests that manna adjusted to the culinary preferences of each individual who could, by wishing, taste in it anything he or she desired. Why can’t bologna be like that!
Manna was nutritional and tasty, but its availability was perplexing. God caused it to fall from heaven to the ground every morning. By noon the manna dissipated.
Each person was instructed to gather an omer of it which was about 4 lbs. each day. But God made sure, that regardless of how much they gathered, it always amounted to 1 omer. (16:16-18)
So, suppose that Ezra and his family were starving. And Ezra saw this food from heaven manna-fested on the ground. He, therefore, gathered his daily share and maybe a little extra to store for the weeks ahead. A wasted effort because God would deliberately reduce his gleanings to one omer.
Plan B: Eat less than an omer a day and save the excess for the future. Unfortunately, God conspired with worms who would ruin the leftovers each night. (16:19-20)
There was but one exception. They could gather excess on the 6th day to also cover for the Sabbath on the 7th. (16:22-23)
Silly Ezra went to gather on the 7th day as well, but God had withheld it, and there was nothing to gather. (16:27)
The Lord put His people in a peculiar situation. He chose to provide for them strictly on a day-to-day basis. They could not prepare for the future but were required to trust God for His daily provision.
When my fictitious friend Ezra went out to gather in the morning, he must have wondered, “Will this be enough?” And yet, each day he found that it was – just enough, and continued to be for the forty years he lived in the wilderness. (35)
I guess I am too much like Ezra. When I watch my odometer rack up the miles, I am gripped by the same kind of anxiety, “Will this car have enough life left in it to serve me into the future?”
I want to plan and provision my life to the nth degree. I want to rely on my planning instead of my heavenly provider.
Perhaps Jesus was thinking about the manna when He taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Or in my case, “my daily miles.”
I suppose that this should become my prayer – maybe our prayer.
A PRAYER: Lord how silly we are to believe that our security rests in our self-made plans and provisions. Help us to proceed each day by faith in You.
This has been Jim Johnson and pickleheavenpress.com
May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you
Scripture references are from the NETBible.org. ®