Tuesday in the Second Week of Lent

Exodus 16:1-36

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

Well, the people are complaining again.  If it isn’t armed Egyptians chasing them into the sea, it’s lack of bread in their knapsacks.  So they grumbled against Moses and Aaron again.  “Oh, what a sumptuous fare we enjoyed in Egypt, with all the mutton we could ever want!”  How easily we forget we were slaves in Egypt, slaves to Satan, and that nothing there was good.  When walking with the Lord becomes difficult, we are tempted to think such things, turning hell itself into paradise.

But once again the Lord provides.  He has a way of doing that, even when we are complaining.  Oh, He doesn’t like our complaining; indeed, it is called the sin of being ungrateful.  But God has a way of shutting our mouths while we are in the very process of speaking, sometimes with grace, sometimes with discipline.  God gave them manna, a wafer-like substance that appeared on the ground every morning.  “Manna” sounds like the Hebrew word for “what is it,” because the Israelites looked at it the first morning and said, “What is it?”  We might say that “manna” is another word for “whatchamacallit.”

It’s the rules about the manna that are so important.  The Lord specifically said that they were not to keep it until the next day, except on the sixth day (Friday), when they were to gather two-days worth, so that they would not have to gather on the Sabbath (Saturday), the day of rest.  This reminds the Christian of the prayer our Lord gave us: “Give us this day our daily bread.”  Notice “day” and “daily” (meaning, of course, the same thing) both occur in one brief sentence.  God means for us to rely on Him for our sustenance every day, not every other day or once a week or month, etc.  We are to understand that even though we may have two-weeks worth of food in our cupboards, it is from Him that we have gained it, for it was from Him that we had the energy and ability to attain it.

So this manna, our daily bread, is given us to remind us where it comes from.  And from there, our minds should be lifted from the bread in our hands to the Bread of Life, the Bread from heaven (John 6:22-59).  The bread we eat nourishes for a moment.  No matter how much we eat of it, we shall die.  But if we partake of the Bread of Life, the One who came down and gave his life for the world, then shall we live forever, then shall the Bread of Life be for us life itself.  So whenever we eat our bread, let our minds turn to the One who is our food and drink, both today and in eternity.

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