“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…I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’” Exodus 16:4,12
It’s early and the house is quiet. It’s dark outside, but I can hear the first pattering of rain after a long, dry summer reminding me that Fall is here.
I’m not ready for it.
It’s been a difficult season. Our kids are growing, my role is changing, and life has become more fast-paced than I’m comfortable with. I’d welcome Autumn if it meant long evenings by the fire and leisurely family dinners with stew and apple cider, but our lives are hurried and scattered and we rarely seem to be in the same place at once.
The season feels like too much.
Too much running. Too much driving. Too much homework. Too many deadlines and expectations. Too many drive-thrus. Too much laundry. Too many hurried goodbyes and hasty “have-a-good-days”.
And too much often makes me feel like there’s not enough.
Not enough time. Not enough beauty. Not enough laughter. Not enough rest. Not enough waiting. Not enough together. Not enough quiet.
So I’ve been reading Exodus and studying manna. Because sometimes misery loves company and the Israelite grumblings make me feel right at home.
Enough is Enough.
God heard the Hebrews’ complaints. They were tired, hungry, and confused. So much so that they longed for the days of captivity in Egypt – Choosing chains over freedom so they would no longer be in want.
Then something unimaginable happened.
Provision poured down from the heavens and lay on the barren earth to be collected.
It was life-giving bread in abundance, but each was to take only what was needed:
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. Exodus 16:15-18
They took just enough for the day to trust that more would come in the morning.
But a few didn’t believe enough was really enough.
Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it for tomorrow. But some of them did not listen to Moses and saved part of it.” The next morning it was full of worms and smelt rotten, and Moses was angry with them. Exodus 16: 19-20
Can I state the obvious here? Neighbors of the faithless would have smelled their rotten distrust. Those who couldn’t believe that the Lord would provide more manna in the morning had to deal with the putrid aftermath of their unbelief.
Hoarding and the desire for more than what we really need has consequences that may make others want to pinch their nose closed.
I fear smelling like the “need more” Israelite right now. My failure to trust God’s provision in this season breeds a rotten attitude – One that reeks of discontent and selfish comparison. My sneaky sub-conscience tells me I’m more busy, more tired, spend more time in the car shuttling kids, have more people’s needs to meet, and need more time in the day than anyone else.
When we behave like we deserve more, we may very well smell like it – Discontent and distrust emanating from our pores.
But we can counter this by understanding and clinging to the Word of God. The deliverance of manna in Exodus 16 depicts this truth: His provision may not be what we expect or would have chosen, but will satisfy if we let it. He wants us to rely on HIM for sustenance instead of creating it ourselves or determining what we believe we need for tomorrow.
God wants us to receive his manna fresh each day.
And He wants us to remember that it was He who provided it.
I just love how Moses sums up the miracle and its purpose in Deuteronomy 8. I know it’s long, but hang in there because it really is worth the read:
“Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today; 12 otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, 13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 15 He led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water; He brought water for you out of the rock of flint. 16 In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end.17 Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ 18 But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. 19 It shall come about if you ever forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today that you will surely perish. 20 Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so you shall perish; because you would not listen to the voice of the Lord your God.
Everything we have and everything we are is a direct result of God’s provision. He gives it daily so we’re humble enough to know it’s from Him – To test our unbelief and keep us dependent.
When we’re not enough, don’t have enough, can’t be enough, He gives enough.
When our identity isn’t what it once was, our friends not who we thought they were, our dreams left unfulfilled, we can trust that He is enough and behave like it’s true.
Enough is Still Enough
Manna for the day doesn’t stop with the Israelites in the wilderness. It continues in the New Testament when the disciples ask Jesus how they should pray. He gives them the most beautiful and all-encompassing example in The Lord’s Prayer.
While I encourage you to read the entire prayer in Matthew 6:9-13, let’s settle in on verse 11. Read it over a few times and allow it to soak in.
Give us THIS day our daily bread.
Enough nourishment for this day.
Enough sustenance for this day.
It doesn’t mean we don’t make other requests or tell Him our deepest longings. We can pray bold and audacious prayers in expectation that He’s able to do the impossible. But the intention in which we ask must be to further His Kingdom and honor His will.
The rest of Matthew 6 testifies to this when Jesus addresses worrying about tomorrow:
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Our good and gracious Father already knows our needs and will satisfy them all! There is no point to being anxious about tomorrow when our intentions are pure: Seeking His Kingdom and righteousness above all else.
Because He was enough for the Israelites and is still enough for us.
This is what I’m going to do in this too much and not enough season, and I hope you’ll join me: I’m asking Him for my daily bread and believing He will provide everything I need.
Let’s trust Him enough for tomorrow, today.
With expectation that He can and contentment when He does,
About the Author: Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two teenagers, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word. She writes, speaks, and teaches the Bible to anyone who will read or listen.
Lisa is a teacher by trade and passion, voice for the marginalized, recovering striver, and lover of simplicity, authenticity, and all things pretty. She enjoys thrift store shopping and often has to convince people she’s an introvert. Just a loud one.
Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.