Manna—what are you hungry for?
The story of God feeding the children of Israel in the desert wilderness with “bread from heaven” is a fascinating story. Check it out in Exodus 16. A good one for us to hear about again, to read over and over. Manna, in the Hebrew language meant “what is it?”
It was God’s mysterious, miraculous way of feeding the children of Israel and teaching them to “trust and obey.”
They were forced to trust God, one day at a time. They could not stock pile manna for a rainy day—it turn bad and get wormy. That reminds us of the petition in the Lord’s prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Trust is hard. It doesn’t come easy for most of us. We find ourselves trusting the wrong things, like trusting powerful people, or circumstances, or events. We trust in a naive goodness—“Oh, it will all work out in the end.” Only God is trustworthy!
The question for us is can we trust even when all hope and supports give way, when the worst happens and things do not go as we desire? Trusting goodness of God no matter what. That’s the lesson the children of Israel were being taught in the wilderness.
The biggest lesson in that for us is learning how to make our passions—physical needs and wants—subservient to our spiritual needs. Don’t obey your thirst! Don’t give in to your physical appetites just because they are screaming at you. Learn to practice self control. Learn to say no to yourself so that you can learn to say yes to God. Learn to be conscious of God in your life–to listen and follow Him even when you have internal chaos.
Consider Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount. “Isn’t life more than food and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds…Aren’t you more valuable to God than they are…Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:25-33)