Sunday, March 4, 2012

Enough For Today

"...behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.  And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna:  for they wist not what it was."  Exodus 16:14, 15 (KJV)

"Trust an unknown future to an all-knowing God."

The Israelites were hungry.  God had delivered them from the awful, oppressive bondage they had lived under for so long, and now He had led them into the wilderness.  Now, they looked at their current situation and began to doubt God's power and ability to provide for their needs.  They began to complain against Moses and started looking back and longing for where they came from....even knowing and remembering how horrible it had been for them.  It is amazing how satan has a way of corrupting the truth in our minds and distorting how things actually were in the past....even making us think we were better off in past misery than to be where we are today.

There was a time that they would have given all they had, just for the price of freedom.  Now, they were on the other side of deliverance and were longing to go back into the bondage from which they were rescued!  And all simply because they were hungry and didn't know where their next meal was coming from.  They even accused Moses of bringing them all to the wilderness to starve!

God already had it all worked out for them.  He had a plan, as He always does.  They were His chosen people.  He would not bring them out with a mighty hand, only to forsake them and allow them all to famish and starve to death in the wilderness.

After God heard their complaining, He told Moses to tell them that in the morning they would find food on the ground.  Sustenance that they had not sown, plowed, watered, or worked for.  Just pure blessing and provision created and sent by God's Own hand.  Sure enough, they found it just as God said.  They called it "manna" which literally means "what is this?"  They had never seen anything like it before.  Here they were, in unfamiliar territory, in the wilderness, not knowing how they would be sustained, and now they were finding a substance on the ground that was unlike anything they were accustomed to.  As they stood and wondered what it was, Moses told them "This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat."  When they tasted it, "it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey."  Exodus 16:31 tells us.  What God created with His Own hands was sweet and tasteful and much to be desired.

Moses then gave them strict orders concerning the manna.  They were to gather one omer...per person...per day.  Nothing more, nothing less.  They were never, under any circumstances, to hoard...there were never to try to hold on to any of it until tomorrow.  There were to be no leftovers.  Moses warned them that if they tried to hold onto it, that it would breed worms and stink.  It would not be edible.  It would rot.

As was often the case with the Israelites, they didn't listen so well to Moses concerning his warning.  Some of them held on to yesterday's manna...just in they would have something to eat the next day.  When they woke up the next morning, guess what had happened?  It had bred worms, and it stank....just like God and Moses said it would.  It could not be eaten.

I think God was wanting to get some valuable lessons across to them, don't you?  He wanted them to see that no matter how many days they lived, no matter how many mornings they arose to new life, there would always be fresh, new manna on the ground.  I believe God wanted them to know that He never runs out of supplies.  That He would always have what they needed for every, single day.  That they would never need to provide tomorrow's needs with today's provisions.  Because if there was a tomorrow, He would be there, and He would give them what they needed...tomorrow, not today.

I believe He also wanted them to step out of the box and realize that His provisions didn't always come packaged in ways they were expecting.  That He had resources they had never tapped into.  That His creative power is unlimited and beyond anything their minds could take in.  That He could take care of them in ways they had never before imagined.  All they had to do was to trust.

And He wanted to teach them that each day they were to live and eat and breathe and enjoy that day, and then they were to let it go.  They didn't need to cling to the past, but they were to live the moment in front of them, then when it was lived and past, they were to move on to the next.  That He would be there as they courageously walked forward, one step at a time.  And that as they did so, more manna would fall from Heaven, as they let go of yesterday, along with its provisions and sustenance.  That holding on to yesterday spoils today.  And holding on to today will spoil tomorrow.

Do you know that the Israelites ate manna for....are you ready for this?  Forty years!  For forty years, they got up every, single morning, and there was a brand new, fresh batch of manna....directly and especially prepared by God...for them....that covered the ground.  All they had to do was go out and gather enough...for each member of their family....for just one day.  They were to eat all of their allotment each day at a time.  Over time, surely they must have learned and realized that they didn't need to worry.  That if the sun came up tomorrow, they could count on new provisions for a new day.  I find it amazing that He knew exactly how much to send.  He knew the precise head count at any given moment, and He sent the appropriate amount accordingly so that each person had enough to sustain them for one more day.

The manna never ran out.  God's providential care never does.  God is from everlasting to everlasting, and He will always be.  Their provision may not have come to them in the form of something familiar to them or even in a way that they would have wished for.  Perhaps some days they longed for something different to alternative from the mundane, day-after-day monotony.  God didn't see fit to change what He sent; there was no variation in the menu.  But it was enough.  He faithfully, day after day after day sent them something to eat.

I love the quote that asks, "How many times do we miss God's blessings because they are not packaged as we expected?"  They didn't even know what manna was...they weren't sure what it was even made of or consisted of.  But, God sent it, and it was sustain life, to keep them going, and to satisfy their hunger for forty long years.

God is faithful.  He will send what we need when we need it.  We don't need to hoard today's grace or today's provisions and hold them over until tomorrow...just in case God fails to take care of us or in case He goes away and leaves us without enough.  That will never happen.  Psalm 121:4 says, "Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep."  God is on the job 24/7.  He never sleeps.  He never loses track of where you are.  He knows what your exact circumstances are...right at this very moment.  He sees what you need.  He won't ignore it.

God is not going to fail.  We can base our faith in Him on His track record.  It is impeccable.  We can place our trust in Him because of our past experience.  If I had enough to eat every yesterday of my life so far, why should I worry that I won't have enough to eat in all of my tomorrows?  Isn't God still God?  Won't He always be God?  Psalm 103:17 (KJV) says, "But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children.."  Does everlasting to everlasting have an end?

In the hard times, in the low moments, in the darkness, satan does his utmost to instill fear into our minds and tempt us to doubt that God is still close by.  It is satan's constant mission to drop suspicion into our minds concerning God's whereabouts when the chips are down.  The fact is, God is right there...right where you are.  God will always be there for you.  God will always be the same.  He will never change, He'll never fall asleep on the job, He'll never drop the ball, He'll never stop caring about you...He will never stop taking care of you and your needs.  If He sent manna to you yesterday, you can count on it being there again today...and tomorrow...and the day after that....and the next day  Well, you get the picture.

 You don't need a safety net....just in case, God forgets about you tomorrow.  You don't need to fear that His supply will run out, and you will go hungry or thirsty or empty.  There will always be enough for today, my friend.  And enough for today is truly all you need.

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