Can God Get Glory from My Life?
by Dominique Henderson
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. Exodus 16:4
A friend of mine recently shared something with me that I just cannot keep to myself. It to me was a very representative picture of what my pursuit as a disciple of Christ should be. Pursuing Christ-likeness should be the ultimate goal of the Christian—otherwise why bother? In this pursuit, we should be after the bread of life—Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the only satisfier of our spiritual hunger and his words are the sustaining force in our lives (see Matthew 4:4).
In the book of Exodus after the Israelites complained to Moses about not having food, God provides food for them. Not just any old food though—it is manna (bread from heaven!) In this lesson of miraculous provision God also tests their ability to follow instructions—or their discipline (see Exodus 16:4).
The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. 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." 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. Exodus 16:1-4
To me, it’s almost like God saying, “I’m going to provide for you but I want to give you some parameters for this blessing.” In providing for their natural needs with the manna, the spiritual picture being painted comes into focus. Note the two principles being taught in this story in the instructions given—discipline and trust.
They are instructed to gather the manna in the morning and to do so before the heat of the day melted it away.
Each morning everyone gathered as much as he needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away. Exodus 16:21
I believe God honors when we prioritize seeking him first with our most valuable asset—time. In this the true motives of the heart of every Israelite would be revealed. Whether or not they were truly grateful for God’s provision to supply their legitimate need of hunger or if they were just being an ungrateful bunch of souls that needed the chastening of God to teach them a lesson—I think it was both. I know I am guilty of falling into a pattern of ingratitude though God’s hand of provision is present in my situation. We often don’t see that we are kept from “dangers seen and unseen” as the old folks prayer says. Therefore, it is important to constantly make mention of God’s goodness in our lives, rather than focusing on what he has not provided. Also, in establishing the precedent of gathering the manna “in the morning”, one is taught that gathering the “bread of life” or Jesus represented by the manna in the first part of your day is the sole ingredient in satisfying our spiritual hunger. The Hebrew word “yalak” (as rendered in the King James Version) implies a manner of life. God was trying to establish a practice among his people that would dictate the way they goverened their lives. He was also implying that the best time to start was in the morning as opposed to some other time of the day. Sometimes, I have difficulty rising early enough to give God the very first of my day, but when I do the rewards are immense. The fact that the manna didn’t stay on the ground all day to be gathered at their leisure is key. It melted away if it wasn’t gathered before a certain time. I have noticed in my own life that when I endeavor to do something before spending time with God that inevitably that thing diminishes my time with him. Things come up and they detract my focus from him in contrast to when I choose to spend time with him first and foremost. God longs to spend time with us and in his presence is fullness of joy (see Psalm 16:11).
(to be continued)
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