Monday, January 7, 2013

EJ100 #12 Exodus 16:1-35

Today's Essential Jesus reading: Exodus 16:1-35.

Shortly after the Israelites were redeemed from slavery in Egypt by God, they began to grumble; first it was bitter water, then it was lack of food.

"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" [16:12]. God heard the people's complaints that there was not enough food and he provided them with meat, in the form of quail; and bread, in the form of thin white flakes which tasted like honey wafers, that the people called "manna".

In this instance, there was not too much nor too little. The LORD provided for their needs exactly: when each person had gathered what they were told, they found that "Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed" [16:18b].

The bread was provided by the grace of God, but the people still had to make a choice to collect it. In this way, the Israelites had to work for their bread, early in the morning before the sun grew hot [16:21].

God provided for the people's needs day by day. Each work-day, they collected enough for that day and consumed their daily bread. On the Sabbath day of rest, they ate the additional portion which they had collected the previous day [16:22-26].

God provided for the people's needs as long as the need remained. The LORD continued to provide manna day by day until the people reached the border of the promised land (the second time) forty years later [16:35].

John 6:32-33,35 records Jesus' words when the people sought him after he fed the 5000 with bread and fish:
"Jesus said to them, 'Very truly I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.' ... Then Jesus declared, 'I am the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.'"
In the same way that the manna was provided to the people by the grace of God, Jesus is provided to us by the grace (free gift) of God. Likewise also, just as the people needed to take action to appropriate the gift of God, I have to make a choice to come to Jesus and believe in Jesus in order to receive the blessings of the grace of God to me in Jesus Christ.

> Have you made a definite choice to accept the grace of God to you in Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life?

I'm trying very hard to make healthy choices with my eating at the moment, so this passage resonates with me. Particularly when I consider God's provision for my needs so that I may not be hungry nor thirsty.

I live in a developed country, so I never really go hungry, and I'm never thirsty for long. But I often crave food and drink: a Cherry Ripe bar, a Snickers, a brownie, a mocha... These cravings are a product of my overindulgence in the past. But they're certainly not healthy cravings, physically or spiritually.

I need to turn my desires around and train myself to crave God, rather than food. And the best way to develop this God craving is the same way I developed my food cravings: overindulgence! The more I indulge in time spent with God, the more I rely on him to provide all I need day by day, the more I will crave God.

As my God craving grows, so too will the satisfaction I find in Jesus. Jesus provides what I need, in the amount I need, when I need it, for as long as I need it. Jesus provides for my physical needs, my mental needs, my emotional needs, and also my deeper spiritual needs. That's what Jesus meant when he said he is the Bread of Life.

In her Made to Crave devotional, Lysa TerKeurst writes,
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend the next forty years of my life learning this lesson. I want to stop grumbling about my weight and embrace this valuable lesson to walk in the freedom of God’s provision. As we apply this same process to our struggles, we can find that God is the perfect portion for everything we need, every longing we have, every desperate desire of our soul.
God is there when my husband and I have a big argument, my kids are unruly, a business deal doesn’t go as planned, or the bills start piling up. Instead of grabbing a tub of ice cream or ordering pizza, I ask God to be my daily portion in these tough times. ...
Whatever your situation, ask God to be your daily portion of companionship, provision, and patience — over and over. Soon, you’ll find yourself walking in victory over those things instead of looking back over tears and a pile of cake crumbs.
> In what situations should you be turning to Jesus and relying upon him to be your Bread of Life?

Why do I love and worship Jesus?
I love Jesus because he satisfies my craving for truth, meaning and purpose in life. He is everything I need to live the life God wants me to live.

LORD Jesus,
Thank you for satisfying me today with this encouragement.
Please help me to keep turning to you to satisfy me.
Please use every thought and craving I have
to remind me to rely upon you
for satisfaction and joy
in every situation, for every thing.

Tomorrow's reading: Numbers 21:4-9.

No comments: