Dawn Tolbert

Writer
Emerge Faith Reflections Writing

Confessions of an Occasional Manna Horder

Every time I read the story of the Children of Israel after they were delivered from Egypt, I recognize my own tendencies in the story. God just powerfully delivered them from Pharaoh and his army, allowing them to cross the Red Sea on dry ground. The Creator of the Universe quite literally is fighting their battles for them.

And they begin to believe that He has forgotten that they need water and food.

They cry out in desperation so afraid they will starve in the wilderness, die with parched lips, fall before an enemy army. “Wouldn’t it have been better to die in Egypt?” they even ask.

But the Children of Israel and their human frailty are not the focus of the story. The focus is on God who Hears, God who Provides. He leads them to streams of water, sends flocks of quail just waiting to be dinner, and covers the ground with morning dew that turns to manna.

Enter the manna horders. God instructs the people to collect just what they need for the day. But some of them collect more, holding on to it for the day when the manna dries up. They are perhaps unsure that God will continue to provide, perhaps preferring to be their own source. If there’s manna in my bowl, it will be okay. I will survive. I can make it.

Today, God doesn’t send bread via the morning dew, literally covering the ground with His provisions for us. But He does provide, and I will admit that I am sometimes a manna horder. Sometimes it is hard to trust that His provisions will be sufficient.

If I give away this food, how will I know I won’t be hungry?

If I invest this time helping others, how will I ever get everything done that I need to do?

If I write that check to the church, how will I have enough money for the coming days?

My resources, my time, my money. My own strength.

Jesus taught us to pray “Give us this day our DAILY bread.” Not, “Give us today all that we need until next payday or until next Sunday.”

I have a Christmas album featuring Babbie Mason, and there’s a song on it called “Shopping List.” The lyrics that have always stuck in my mind are:

Make me healthy
Keep me wealthy
Fill in what I miss
On this never-ending shopping list

God doesn’t desire a relationship where we talk to Him only to present a list of demands. Jennifer Kennedy Dean writes in Conversations with the Most High: “I realize that You are my dwelling place, not my filling station.”

God wants us to dwell in Him. He wants a continuous relationship, not a continual one. Vocabulary.com says “Continual means start and stop, while continuous means never-ending.” God wants us to continuously reside in Him, rely on Him and rest assured in His love.

God wants us to continuously reside in Him, rely on Him and rest assured in His love. Click To Tweet

I don’t think it is coincidence that manna kept longer than God commanded became full of maggots and would get all stinky. Not what I want to find in my breakfast bowl! But God was teaching His children to trust in Him. He wanted them to understand that He would supply their needs today—and do it all over again tomorrow and the next day and the day after that.

Likewise, we need to daily seek God’s provision by spending time in His word and talking and listening in prayer. We go out to gather the spiritual manna each morning, confident that the Lord will continue to provide food for our hungry souls.

D.L. Moody in Sovereign Grace writes, “A man can no more take in a supply of grace for the future than he can eat enough for the next six months or take sufficient air into his lungs at one time to sustain life for a week. We must draw upon God’s boundless store of grace from day to day as we need it.”

Scripture promises that God will meet all of our needs. We read in Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Our job is to trust.

Philippians 4:19 promises, 'And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.' Click To Tweet

As I run out into my day, I do so with a prayer that God will be with me throughout the day, reminding me to rest in Him, to trust His goodness and His provision, and to enjoy His peace and His presence today, tomorrow, the day after, and the day after that.

 

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