Exodus 16:1-30 & Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV)
In this story in Exodus, the Israelites were leaving Egypt and were making their way through the desert. Then they started grumbling – about how they had plenty of food to eat back in Egypt and how Moses was now starving them. They insinuated that they would rather have died in Egypt than go through the trials they were now facing. Verses 2&3 say: “In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them ‘If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.’” Maybe the grass was greener on the other side of the fence? We all know how that works.
Verses 4&5 say: “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.’” In verse 11 God ramps it up by telling Moses to relay to the Israelites: “At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread.” So that very evening the quail covered the camp and they had their meat. The next morning the manna appeared and they were instructed on how to gather it and how much – in verse 19 Moses was very specific with them saying: “’No one is to keep any of it until morning.’” But, as usual, you’re always going to have someone that is rebellious and does not follow the instructions. Some of them gathered more than they needed and the result is described in verse 20: “….they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell.” Their disobedience resulted in unpleasantness.
When you think about it, the actions they took weren’t really that horrible, they were pretty human. They apparently had had a shortage of food and just wanted to make sure they had enough for their families. But, the fact remains that it was not what they were instructed to do – it was not what God willed for them. We see in verse 24 that when they followed the directions to gather double the amount on the 6th day so that they could have a day of rest on the 7th day, all was well – no maggots or smell, because that is what God intended. Oh, that is for most of them. However, just as before you had those that didn’t follow directions. They did not gather double the amount and when they went out the next day, there was nothing there. Oops!
What a great lesson in obedience! God’s desire is for us to depend on Him daily – to rest in him – to simply obey and trust Him. We get in the flesh and worry about our provisions and try to do it ourselves. When we do this, it stinks in the nostrils of our Lord. When we obey and lean on Him, it is a pleasant fragrance rising to His throne. We have no reason to be concerned for our provision according to Matthew 6:25-34. These verses tell us about how God takes care of the needs of the birds and the lilies in the fields; and, three times tells us “do not worry”.
So no matter what our intentions, good things can go bad, causing unpleasantness if we are not in the will of God. We need to learn to tune in to Him by praying, then stop worrying and obey!
Recently I saw this, and don’t know where or who said it, but it goes like this: “Worry is a conversation you have with yourself about things you cannot change. Prayer is a conversation you have with God about things He can change.” So let’s remember that worry is a waste of our time – prayer and obedience change things.
Written by Karran Martin
November 11, 2018