Exodus Devotional | Provision and the People, Day 5: Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread
The Book of Exodus
The Greatness of God to His People in Need
Provision and the People, Day 5
“In the evening quail came up and covered the camp, and in the morning dew lay around the camp. And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground. When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Gather of it, each one of you, as much as he can eat. You shall each take an omer, according to the number of the persons that each of you has in his tent.’” And the people of Israel did so. They gathered, some more, some less. But when they measured it with an omer, whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack. Each of them gathered as much as he could eat. And Moses said to them, “Let no one leave any of it over till the morning.” But they did not listen to Moses. Some left part of it till the morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them." - (Exodus 16:13-20)
First, it was the Lysol spray and the hand sanitizer. Then it was the toilet paper. By now, over a month into our nation’s general quarantine, it’s the hair products (since no one can go to their hairstylist). Gone. All gone, the shelves barren. Not because every person in the community bought normally--no. Instead, the first to arrive, rushing into the stores like a tsunami, grabbed armfuls and armfuls of products. They saw societal collapse and, in fear founded on self-preservation, they devoured these things like locusts. Many of us are angry about this behavior--and some of us could have and would have done the same, had we gotten to the store just a bit sooner. Let’s be humble and compassionate toward those who have lived in fear and greed in this time.
The Lord knows the hearts of men. He knows our fear and our greed. He knows our laziness and our self-centeredness. In compassion on us, he doesn’t just provide the materials for our survival and flourishing. He also provides rules and boundaries meant to ensure that everyone gets what they need.
Today, read Exodus chapter 16. Instead of leaving the Israelites to starve in the desert--as they’ve been accusing the Lord of doing--he sends quail to land on the ground outside of the camp every evening. Imagine going bird hunting for food every evening, but instead of donning camouflage and working hard to sneak up on the foul, you can just blithely walk up and snatch them up by hand for cooking back home. Each morning, sweet bread lay all around the camp. No farming for wheat, no kneading dough, no baking. Just stroll out, snatch up the bread, and head home.
Notice God’s command about this food: gather only what you and your family need for today. If you gather more than you need, seeking to store it up...because you doubt whether God’s going to come through with his promise tomorrow...it’ll be rotten. By morning, fungus, mold, and worms will infest your extra storage. In addition, you see that those who can carry a bit less, but are doing their best, are still full and healthy from the food they can gather. Everyone has what they need.
This is God’s design. When it comes to praying for our needs, this is how Jesus teaches us to pray: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). It’s founded on the Proverbs found in chapter 30, verses 7-9 (paraphrased): “Lord, don’t let me be rich or poor. Don’t let me crave wealth and don’t let me think of poverty as more noble. If I have too much, I’ll forget you. If I don’t have enough, I’ll curse you and steal stuff.” So, God’s design tells us, we ought to desire, pray for, and seek what we need.
This isn’t a rebuke to those who have investments or savings accounts. It’s not a sin to have storehouses.
But, it is a stern warning and rebuke to those who crave to have more than they need--acquiring as much and more than they can carry--because they live in fear and doubt that the Lord will take care of them. If you believe you need to protect your needs because God might forget to care for you, you are in sin. This leads to selfish hoarding, a suspicion towards generosity, and a refusal to love your neighbor with what God’s given you.
One final note: you see Moses’ anger in verse 20? I believe he was angry at the disobedient, distrusting Israelites. But Moses was a shepherd--he shows compassion and a fatherly protective heart toward them over and over again. He’s not just angry with the Israelites. He’s angry for them. Like a parent who’s warned their children against a dangerous behavior, upon seeing their kid hurt themselves doing that very thing, he’s angry with his kids for disobeying him and he’s angry that his child is hurt...because he loves them.
Our Lord has, does, and will provide our needs. We need to trust him with what he puts in our hands and with what he doesn’t put in our hands. Let us look to what we need today, knowing that the Lord owns tomorrow, too--and that tomorrow is one day closer to a Kingdom where there is never a shortage to fear.
What are you most selfishly protective of? What are you tempted to hoard and keep to yourself? What are you most greedy about?
What is it you secretly believe you need to get for yourself because you’re not sure God’s going to take care of you properly?
In prayer, repent, and ask the Lord to give you your “daily bread” and to be happy about his love for you.