Gods main goal is not for us to have a comfortable life on this earth (John 16:33) but to rescue us from eternal judgment and death. (Romans 5) Too many people think that God exist to meet their needs instead of seeing that our greatest fulfillment comes from being in a right relationship with Him. This, of course, can only be attained through Jesus Christ (John 14:6) who makes us perfect because of His work on the Cross. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
The children of Israel have gone out from Egypt and saw Gods protection when they crossed the red sea. They saw and experienced some amazing acts of God when He sent the plagues on Egypt, but even after all that they still lacked faith in God.
Read Exodus 16: 1-21
The Hebrew word for wilderness means a place for driving flocks. It is not a completely arid desert, but contains little vegetation and a few trees. The rainfall in such areas is too light, a few inches per year, to support cultivation. The book of Numbers, written by Moses, tells the whole story of how they lived and what happened in the wilderness. The book of numbers is also titled “In the wilderness” in the Hebrew Bible.
When they left Egypt they had about a Month’s supply of food with the animals and supplies they were able to take. But after a month being in the wilderness their supplies were beginning to run low and with that they began to complain. The people did not go directly to God but they complained against Moses and Aaron who were God’s messengers. Unforunately, many Christians are just like the children of Israel and we forget that all that God has done for us and only see what we are lacking at the present moment.
In this passage we see several things about God and how He deals with His children.
1) God provides even when we complain
Have you ever grumbled because it did not look like you were going to make it in your current situation? Whether it is an illness or because your business was falling on hard times we tend to look at the situation and complain instead of trust God.
Some commentators believe they had some herds left for milk and cheese but to eat them would have taken that resource away. If that is the case then they were not completely out of resources but they had no faith in God that these resources would sustain them.
The people complained to Moses and Aaron but in Exodus 16:8 Moses says that God heard their grumbling and their grumbling was against Him personally. To say that they were going to die after all God had brought them through shows total lack of trust in God and how quickly they had forgotten the miracles they just experienced.
The people begin to say how great the past was and how they wished they were still in Egypt. There is no indication in scripture that they had plenty to eat under the dictatorship of Pharaoh and since they were slaves they were probably given the mininum they needed to continue to work for him. They had forgotten the miserable situation God rescued them from and they even made it sound like God was cruel for rescueing them from it.
We have all seen people who were rescued from a terrible situation to only return to that situation. We wonder why someone would run back into a relationship or a job where they were treated horribly. For some reason when we lack trust in God we begin to not only complain but to think that the past was better.
Notice no one wants to grumble alone and they get all of the people complaining about the situation they are in. Misery loves company and negativity is contagious. When you begin to see what you do not have instead of what God can do your outlook on life will turn negative very quickly.
Have you ever noticed how much we complain about our situation rather than pray about our situation? How much we complain about someone rather than pray for that person?
Gods grace is evident because He lets Moses know that He is getting ready to rain down food. God in His love will provide for us even when we do not trust Him fully. I am glad that God loves us despite our selfish, childish ways and will make sure we have what we need for each day. I am glad God loves us despite all of our complaining, whining and lack of trust. I am glad that in the moments we lack faith, He is still Faithful.
2) God provides exactly what we need
God wanted the Children of Israel to trust him daily not just one time, so God gave clear instructions to Moses that they are only to take what they can eat for that day. That meant every day they would have to trust God that they were going to have more food the next day. The only exception is God gave them a two day supply so they could rest on the Sabbath.
Matthew 6:9-13 This, then, is how you should pray:” ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,10 your kingdom come,your will be done,on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread.12 And forgive us our debts,as we also have forgiven our debtors.13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Jesus always tied in the Old Testament stories into His teaching and the Lord’s prayer ties back to this event in history. The Lord’s prayer, as we call it, was to be a reminder that we are to trust God daily. The Lord’s prayer was not to be prayed as we hear it so many times today, but it was to be a guideline of how we should pray. Our prayers every day should be for God to provide today and for us not to worry about tomorrow.
When people tried to collect more food than they needed for that day, God would make it stink and fill it with worms. This principle applies to us today because when we over buy more than what we need the very things we purchased become a foul smell to us. Credit card debt and mortgage payments become something we detest because we took more than we needed for the day not trusting for God to provide for our tomorrow.
The children of Israel were supposed to go to bed every night without any food in their tent unless it was gathered for the Sabbath. Every night they were asked to sleep soundly because God would be there for them the next day. An amazing lesson that we all need to learn is that God is already in our tomorrow. No matter what you are going to face or the challanges that lie ahead we can rest knowing that God is already there working things out in His perfect will and plan.
How many sleepless nights have we had because of worry?
How many addictions do we give into to cope with the stress?
Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
The verse does not say you can be anxious about some really big decisions in life or tragedies it says be anxious for nothing. People make money off of getting people to fear. There is nothing wrong with preperation for what might come and that is good stewardship of the Lord’s resources. But when we turn to those things that He has given us as our security, instead of turning to Him, then they become sin.
By prayer we give petitions. These are specific request of God to find out His will. To give a petition was to approach the King with something you needed the King to handle. You did so reverently and knowing that if the King did not handle it then it would not be done.
By Prayer we give thanksgiving .Praising God for what He has already done will remind you of what He has already done. We cannot forget the past that God saved us from because when we do then we become like selfish children who demand more and more instead of being thankful for what we already have.
2 Million people were provided for daily for 40 years. (See Numbers 1:45-46) No task is too big for God to handle and there is nothing in your life that you are facing that He is not already aware of. Our problem is that we pray but if God does not answer right away then we go and handle it ourselves. When we do not wait for God’s perfect timing we not only miss out on the blessing we also rob God of the Glory He would recieve.
We are not trusting God when we allow ourselves to become like the world in our worries and our fears. We have to remember just like God heard the complaints of His people to Moses, God hears our prayers. The Bible tells us how we are to approach the King and that is to keep praying, keep seeking and to keep knocking. (see Matthew 7)
3) God Provides to show Himself to others
“Then you will know that I am the Lord your God “ You shall know it was the Lord your God who brought you out of the Land of Egypt
God wants a relationship with us and He has made everything possible to do so through Jesus Christ. The people of Israel should have died in the wilderness because there is no natural way that the wilderness could sustain that many people for that long of a time. When God steps into His creation it is a supernatural event. Things happen that should not have happened and God proved Himself to show the world that He exist.
God will bring you through some scary things in this life but it is for the rest of the world to look and see that God is God.
We like to focus a lot on ourselves and how we became successful and by doing so the world sees that they can make it on their own as well. What has happened in your life that would not have happened if God did not supernaturally show up?
We tend to forget about God when everything is going well in our life. We forget about God when we can make it on our own without Him. It is this very attitude that God warns them later about when they enter the promised land.
Deuteronomy 8:10-18 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.11 Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down,13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied,14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.15 He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock.16 He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you.17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.”18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to producewealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
One of the relics in the Ark of the Covenant was a gold cup of manna so that they would never forget what God had done for them in the wilderness.
Have you forgotten what God has brought you through?
What if our lives are to be lived so others have no clue how we made it and it could only be attributed to God?
4) God provided Spiritual Bread
God provided manna in the wilderness and it sustained life for the children of Israel. Jesus Himself says that He is the bread of Life who sustains us not just in this life but for eternal life.
John 6:48-51 I am the bread of life.49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died.50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die.51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
Matthew 4:4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[a]”
We need to take time every day and gather from the living word of God. Many people do not see the Bible as Gods Word. They have bought into the lie that the Bible was somehow manufactured by men and because of that they do not see that God has given us a Love Letter from Him that will give us nourishment for our daily journey. (Search for The Bible in my blog for more on how the Bible was put together) We wonder why Christians are so weak and untrusting of God and it is because we are mal-nourished spiritually.
When you go to Church that is like going out to eat where someone else prepares the meal but you still have to have meals at home. No one would think about eating out once a week and then not eating the rest of the week but that is exactly what many people do. Your faith in God will be strengthened as you spend time in the Word of God (Romans 10:17) and when your faith is strengthened then you can trust God for your daily needs. And as your faith is strengthened others will begin to see the work of God in your life.
What are you grumbling to God about?
What is the specific prayer request you need to take to the King?
How long are you willing to stop and trust Him to take care of it?
He is in your tomorrow and He is already working.
How is the world supposed to trust our God when we don’t even trust Him?