The correlation between grace and the Israelites’ manna was so rich, it seemed worthy of a Part Two!
While you were sleeping I looked at the verses a bit more and I hit the skids when I read verse 35:
“The sons of Israel ate the manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate the manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.” — Exod 16:35
With the Israelites’ arrival at the border there was a shift that was about to occur in their culture, on their perspectives about freedom, government, day-to-day provision and much more. Most had never known anything but a lifestyle of nomadic wandering. Their lives were centered around the present moment, around this day just like the manna was supplied for one day at a time. I think we could even perceive manna to be an economy of sorts.
We also have this way of living. Our way of doing life. Manna, for us then, is the substance of our faith, the fibers of our communion with God.
The promises that hovered over the Israelites belong to us as well. Looking at verse 9, we know with certainty that the ragged and raw places that threaten at the periphery of our lives cannot touch the hidden core of who we are because, “in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord”. You see, when the Presence of the Lord invades our hearts, all our resistance melts like so much day-old manna. When morning comes to our hearts we feel Him. We feel His revelation stealing into places that were previously old and cold.
What is the manna of your relationship with The Spirit of God? The substance of your connection with Him, the umbilical cord of life flowing from Him to you, is found in a secret place. The starkness of the world, the drone of its demands on you have compelled you to hide this life-giving interchange. And yet the world longs to see the glow of your communion with Him.
How do we carry that glow in such a way that it is seen …the truth of what life in Christ is all about, and yet protect it like the petals of the rose that it is?
We only have today. Use it well. Live intentionally.
2013, a new year. The difficult thing about anything new is that one is at the start of a path never taken before. The Lord and I have a bit of a standing dialogue with one another on this. I’ve played this card with Him so many times in the past, thinking it will get me out of an insane circumstance I want no part of. For example, haggling with repair men over prices, car purchases, home purchases, big-anything-purchases. Minor stuff? I’m on it. Major? I want to bury my head in His shirt, and pretend I don’t need to make a decision. He knows it. The conversation:
“Then why are we having this discussion? I’m right here. Now, take a step.”
Sounds a bit toddler-ish, doesn’t it? Pfft. Nevertheless, a new beginning contains unknowns, scaries, and funky, “In 800 feet turn left on Cahuenga Boulevard.” Cal Hung a Whacky Who? Oh left! Left! Turn left now!
I’m thoughtful of how the Israelites everlastingly did.not.know. where they were going, when they’d get there, what they’d eat… wait a minute, what would they eat? The passages in the book of Exodus 16 are familiar but the principle is not as well known. The Lord daily supplied a substance called manna which, translated means, “What is it?” (Pretty cool, huh?) The substance was completely unknown to them, just as was the idea of daily relying on God’s provision. If the people gathered more than they could use it would not last until next day, it would rot. His intention was that they would daily gather just what they need for that day, for their family and that they would focus on Him a little bit more than they did before.
Scripture, if you take a step back is God’s story of increasing intimacy with mankind.
Oftentimes stories in the Old Testament foreshadow or project a visual image of a concept that is explained in the New Testament. This OT story is a visual image of the concept of grace, His daily provision. In order to walk at rest or better, to proactively love other people on a daily basis we have to connect with the Lord. It’s necessary to re-align ourselves, our hearts and needs with His heart. It’s not something we can soak up plenty of, and make it last. I like the analogy that grace is an awful lot like a good wine, which is meant for the present moment.
May your days in 2013 be rich and full of moments where you find His grace, His daily provision for rest, peace, laughter and above all, the ability to outrageously love those around you.