I will rain down bread from heaven for you. Exodus 16:4
Aunt Margaret’s frugality was legendary. After she passed away, her nieces began the nostalgically bittersweet task of sorting her belongings. In a drawer, neatly arrayed inside a small plastic bag, they discovered an assortment of small pieces of string. The label read: “String too short to use.”
What would motivate someone to keep and categorize something they knew to be of no use? Perhaps this person once knew extreme deprivation.
When the Israelites fled slavery in Egypt, they left behind a life of hardship. But they soon forgot God’s miraculous hand in their exodus and started complaining about the lack of food.
God wanted them to trust Him. He provided manna for their desert diet, telling Moses, “The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day” (Exodus 16:4). God also instructed them to gather twice as much on the sixth day, because on the Sabbath no manna would fall (vv. 5, 25). Some of the Israelites listened. Some didn’t, with predictable results (vv. 27–28).
In times of plenty and times of desperation, it’s tempting to try to cling, to hoard, in a desperate attempt at control. There’s no need to take everything into our own frantic hands. No need to “save scraps of string”—or to hoard anything at all. Our faith is in God, who has promised, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
In what ways do you sometimes take things into your own hands? How has God proven Himself to be faithful to you in the past?
Father, help me to take You at Your word and to trust You with everything.
About a month after the Israelites left Egypt (Exodus 16:1), they ran out of food (v. 3). God provided them with “bread from heaven” (v. 4) in the morning and “meat to eat in the evening” (v. 8). Not knowing what this bread was, they asked, “What is it?” (v. 15). They called it “manna” (v. 31) because it sounded like the Hebrew for “What is it?” Manna consisted of “thin flakes,” was “white like coriander seed” (an herb), and “tasted like wafers made with honey” (vv. 14, 31). Numbers 11:8 says that “it tasted like something made with olive oil.”