Summary: Thirteenth in a sixteen-part series, this sermon looks at the Nazarene Article of Faith specific to the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
Article of Faith #13 - The Lord’s Supper
Date: Sunday, September 5, 2004
Author: Rev. Jonathan K. Twitchell
Each week as we conclude our time of prayer, we repeat the words that Jesus used to teach his disciples how to pray. We pray the Lord’s Prayer, not so much for the sake of the words, but to remind us of the structure and manner in which we are to pray—praising God, seeking His kingdom, affirming our dependence upon Him for each day, seeking forgiveness and forgiving others, asking for guidance and deliverance, and concluding by praising Him once more. As we affirm our dependence upon Him, we pray these words: “Give us this day our daily bread.”
On the one hand, our prayer can simply be read as a prayer for food and sustenance. On the other hand, it is really an affirmation of our complete and total dependence upon the Creator. We recognize that we are asking for the bread for today, not worrying about the bread for tomorrow, for we trust that He will provide that in time for tomorrow.
The concept of “Daily Bread” really was integrated in the hearts and lives of the Israelites while they were wandering in the wilderness during the Exodus. Food had become scarce and they had begun to complain to Moses saying that it would have been better if they had died by the plagues in Egypt instead of being led out into the wilderness to starve to death. Hear these words from the book of Exodus, chapter 16:
4 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. 5 On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days."
6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, "In the evening you will know that it was the LORD who brought you out of Egypt , 7 and in the morning you will see the glory of the LORD , because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we, that you should grumble against us?" 8 Moses also said, "You will know that it was the LORD when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the LORD ."
9 Then Moses told Aaron, "Say to the entire Israelite community, ’Come before the LORD , for he has heard your grumbling.’ "
10 While Aaron was speaking to the whole Israelite community, they looked toward the desert, and there was the glory of the LORD appearing in the cloud.
11 The LORD said to Moses, 12 "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.’ "
13 That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, "What is it?" For they did not know what it was.
Moses said to them, "It is the bread the LORD has given you to eat. 16 This is what the LORD has commanded: ’Each one is to gather as much as he needs. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent.’ "
17 The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. 18 And when they measured it by the omer, he who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little. Each one gathered as much as he needed.
19 Then Moses said to them, "No one is to keep any of it until morning."
May God add His blessing to the reading of His word.
If we were to continue reading the story, we would learn that some of the Israelite did not seem to trust the promise, were afraid that there wouldn’t be any more manna, and so they decided to gather more than they were told to and keep the extra in their tent. We’re told that the extra manna became maggot infested and that Moses became angry. Manna truly was to be the “Daily Bread” of the Israelites in the wilderness. They were to trust each day that God would supply just enough for today, and not to worry about tomorrow, for He would supply for tomorrow as well.