I’ve been thinking about manna quite a bit lately. It’s that mysterious stuff from that weird story in the Old Testament (Exodus 16). The Israelites were no longer slaves but had not yet reached the Promised Land. In other words, they were better off than where they were but still not where they were meant to be. And so they found themselves in the wilderness where no one wants to be.
There was no food, no water and no home. The Israelites were so worried about it all that they actually considered going back to being slaves because at least then they’d know where to get their next meal. Isn’t it amazing how much freedom some people will give up just for the promise of security?
But that’s not where God was taking them. So He led them out into the wilderness with no security but a promise of something so much better. God knew it would take a long time to get there, so in addition to His big, grand, Promised-Land plan, He also came up with a plan to sustain His people through the journey: manna.
For the next 40 years the Israelites were sustained with manna: the daily “bread from heaven” that fell to the ground. On the day that they finally crossed into the Promised Land, the manna stopped because it’s purpose had been completed.
The purpose of the manna was not just to feed God’s people. It was to sustain them during a journey from where they had been (lost and in need of a savior) to where they were going (to enjoy the promises fulfilled by a God who loves them).
Does that sound familiar? Aren’t we all people who were lost to sin and in need of a Savior? Aren’t we, as Christians, awaiting the fulfillment of a promise that God will “prepare a place for you?” (John 14:1-4). We aren’t lost to sin anymore, but we have not yet received that full glorification. So in this in between – in the wilderness journey – we are in need of some manna. We need some daily bread.
So no wonder Jesus tells us to pray for it! “Give us today our daily bread.” (Matt. 6:9). Do you think you can trek through the desert alone with no food? Can you make it through the wilderness on your own? That was the temptation Satan suggested to Jesus when He was wandering in the wilderness. “Make your own bread!” Satan said. “You can be your own source!” But Jesus would not rely on himself. He knew the only true source of daily bread for a wilderness journey. It came from Deuteronomy 8:3 “…man does not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”
So this week let’s remind each other to ask for daily bread. And let’s remember to consider the source of our daily bread. We don’t get it from ourselves; we don’t get it from each other. There is no substitution!
Lord, give us today our daily bread!
WALK/RUN prayer guide
WALK (help for first-timers)
Day 1: Pray “LORD, give us today our daily bread,” focusing on God as your source of daily bread.
Day 2: Pray, “Lord GIVE us today our daily bread,” remembering our daily bread is a gift given from God.
Day 3: Pray “Lord, give US today OUR daily bread,” remembering we are recipients of God’s blessings.
Day 4: Pray “Lord, give us TODAY our DAILY bread,” remembering our need for daily help.
Day 5: Pray “Lord, give us today our daily BREAD,” remembering our need for basic help.
RUN (continue to improve)
Day 1: Read Exodus 16. Ask God for the ability to trust Him daily.
Day 2: Read Matthew 4:1-4. Pledge to God your desire to draw strength from Him alone.
Day 3: Read Matthew 14:13-21. Ask God to show you ways to help Him meet the needs of others.
Day 4: Read John 6:25-59. Ask God what it means to receive the bread of life.
Day 5: Read Matthew 26:26-30. Ask God to help you understand what it means to receive the bread in the form of communion this coming Sunday.