October 2, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“Then the children of Israel did so and gathered, some more, some less. So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one’s need. And Moses said, ‘Let no one leave any of it till morning.’ Notwithstanding they did not heed Moses. But some of them left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them.”—Exodus 16:17–20 (NKJV)
Have you ever gathered more of something than what you actually needed? Or have you ever held onto something longer than necessary? At some point, we’ve all been in a place where our perception of what is necessary or needed has been skewed by our personal beliefs or desires. And whether that provocation served us well or not, what is left behind is a residue of its effect—an effect we see manifest in the Israelites during their time in the wilderness.
Despite God’s faithfulness of bringing them out of Egypt, giving them safe passage through the Red Sea, and providing them with water and manna, they still demonstrated an inclination towards their own desires and beliefs because they doubted who God was. They didn’t fully grasp that God’s Word was pure, righteous, and true; that despite their own beliefs and desires, God was a faithful God. Perhaps they acted out of fear, discontent or even negligence, but nonetheless they did so at their own whim, notwithstanding what they had been told.
The Israelites yielded to their own cravings, and they wept and complained as they remembered the variety of foods they had in Egypt, believing they had nothing at all except the manna before their eyes (Numbers 11:4–6)! And do you know what happens when we move according to our own desires? We lose sight of God’s goodness and overlook the providence of His hand upon our lives.
You see, when every man gathered the manna they needed, they didn’t lack anything, but when they disobeyed, their manna bred worms and stank! Why? Because God wants us to know that He is sufficient. He will give us our daily bread without lacking, but we must not waver like the Israelites did who first believed in God’s Word, but then turned around and forgot His works and lusted exceedingly in the wilderness (Psalm 106:12–14)!
Oh how their song of praise quickly turned into murmurs of discontent. And we, too, can easily fall into the deception of our own doubts. We also can rebel against the Most High and test Him in our hearts, like the Israelites did when they asked for the food of their fancy and then dared to question whether God could prepare a table for them in the wilderness (Psalm 78:17–19).
So, I want to encourage you to not place your trust in your own desires, but to trust God will be sufficient for you, every day. Trust He has prepared a table for you that will satisfy your hunger and sustain your life. For, you see, manna means bread from heaven, who is Jesus Christ—the One who was sent by His Father as the true bread from heaven and who gives life to this world. For He is the bread of life (John 6:35). So, don’t miss this precious gift! Trust that the God who delivers is also the God who provides, because He has promised that whoever comes to Him will never go hungry.
Pause: Can you think of anything in your life you may be “gathering” in disobedience instead of relying on God’s truth and promises?
Practice: The Israelites could not rejoice in the sufficiency of what God had given them. Instead, they wavered in disbelief and discontent. Read Jeremiah 15:16 and meditate on the idea of consuming God’s Word in such a way that it becomes the joy and the rejoicing of your heart.
Pray: Father, I pray my heart would always be in awe of who You are and that I may behold and experience the abundance of Your goodness, even amongst the ordinary. Amen.