Friday, September 9, 2011

I think I'm craving a little manna

Have you ever had your kids say,"Gosh, mom, there isn't anything in this house to eat?" It seems they turn on you and blame you for not having exactly what they are craving. It's almost as if we run a cafe and when you run out of something, watch out!

After the Israelites crossed the Red Sea they were filled with joy and then all of a sudden they were growing very thirsty. It seemed the water they found was too bitter. (Exodus 15:22-25) These folks were down right angry with Moses. Where in the world did their joy go? They had just had the biggest blessing as they crossed the Red Sea and found safety. Oh, how quick our gratefulness can change once our circumstances change. The thing is, our circumstances are changing all the time. Each day brings something new. Moment by moment as this world is spinning on it's axis, we too are turning in circles. It can all be quite dizzying if we ponder it. That pantry doesn't always hold what we are craving. Sure, there is food there, but it just isn't what we want. Our tummies can be just has ornery as our hearts.

So now, Moses, is pleading with the people before him. Moses is sharing the Word of God. (Exodus 15:25-27) He shares that if they just obey the Lord none of the diseases that arose on the Egyptians will touch them. After seeing what happened to them you would think they would follow right along. We are so much like the Israelites. We follow, we turn. We follow and we turn. This time they listened to Moses and before them lay twelve springs filled with pure water to quench their thirst. They had to walk through the desert, through that dry land, before they really appreciated that refreshing water that touched their lips. If our feet never touch the desert we forget the sweetness of an oasis.

Here they go again. Complaining. (Exodus 15:1-3) I mean can you imagine twelve springs of water? I see before me beauty, but their eyes were not looking for the blessings God wanted for them. They were seeking what their flesh wanted. Oh, have I been there. God chooses my path. He sets before me what He wants me to have and I sit back and have the audacity to say, "Ya know, that's not really what I want. Can I give you my order, please?" I think God probably sits back at times and shakes His head at our ungratefulness. He is giving. Giving what we do not deserve. And what do we do? We throw it back in His face.

Listen to this verse from Exodus 15:1-5 "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Look, I'm going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food AS THEY NEED for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they will gather food, and when they prepare it, there will be twice as much as usual.'"  What a gracious God we serve. Giving more than usual. They were heaping in double blessings! He was providing a way.

The Lord gave all the bread they needed in the morning and all the meat they needed at night. He was opening up heaven for them. He not only quenched their thirsts, but He too heard their complaints. He is giving as they need. How many times does He do that for us on a daily basis and it simply isn't enough. We look to heaven for God to answer and that answer just doesn't suffice, so what do we do instead of obey? We turn in anger like a child who can't have a chocolate bar before dinner is prepared.

Okay, so Moses was trying to lead the people as God called him to. Not unlike a pastor trying to lead a flock of sheep that want to go their own way. All Moses could do was give the message of the Lord. Moses told the people not to keep any of the food until morning. They were to gather enough for that day. Just what they needed. Instead they gathered more than their share and what happened? By morning as they were hungry once again they looked and what they had gathered out of disobedience turned to maggots! Yuck! (Exodus 15:17-25)

"'You may gather the food for six days, but the seventh day is the Sabbath. There will be no food on the ground that day.' Some of the people went out anyway on the seventh day, but they found no food. The Lord asked Moses, 'How long will these people refuse to obey my commands and instructions? They must realize that the Sabbath is the Lord's gift to you. That is why he gives you a two-day supply on the sixth day, so there will be enough for two days. On the Sabbath day you must each stay on your own place. Do not go out and pick up food on the seventh day." Exodus 15:26-29

Can you imagine manna falling from heaven? Can you picture this? It's not so hard for us. We receive our own manna from heaven each and every day. God supply ALL we NEED. For the almost three years my husband was laid off from his job we never went hungry. We never thirsted. God provided our NEED. Sure we didn't have everything we desired. Sometimes you had those cravings late in the night for that snack you took for granted, but HE never once let us down. He still provides today. We have manna from heaven. We just have to look for it. We must get past our selfish desires, our fleshly hungers and realize what He has for us is best. When we follow His commands He provides ALL.

"So the people of Israel ate manna for forty years until they arrived at the land where they would settle. They ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan." Exodus 15:35  God's provision is extraordinary. There is nothing about God that is ordinary. He provided each and every day for these people. When will we get over ourselves? We are such a complaining people. As long as we have what we desire we are happy, but when the desert comes we find ourselves miserable. It's kind of like as long as we have money in our pockets to go shopping we walk with smiles, but when that check book is dry, oh how our countenance changes. We become down right crabby.

"How I praise the Lord that you are concerned with me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn't have the chance to help me. Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength." Philippians 4:10-13

We can learn so much from the Israelites about thankfulness and contentment. We can learn to follow Christ through every situation that comes. We can trust Him and through our belief in Him, He will never let us down. Sure, we might be searching through the cabinets, but maybe we just aren't looking in the right place. The blessings are there if we can get past our thinking that we must have what we want instead of what we need. When we figure out our needs and wants, God has a way of providing both.
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