Summary: Three lessons learned from Gods provision found in the manna provided for the Israelites in the desert: God's provision teaches us Obedience, God's provision teaches us Sufficience, God's provision teaches us Dependence
Our Daily Bread
Introduction: A young woman brought her fiancé home to meet her parents for thanksgiving dinner. After dinner, her mother told her father to find out about the young man. The father invited the fiancé to his study for a talk.
"So what are your plans?" the father asked the young man. "I am a biblical scholar," he replied.
"A Biblical scholar. Hmmm," the father said. "Admirable, but what will you do to provide a nice house for my daughter to live in?"
"I will study," the young man replied, "and God will provide for us."
"And how will you buy her a beautiful engagement ring, such as she deserves?" asked the father.
"I will concentrate on my studies," the young man replied, "God will provide for us."
"And children?" asked the father. "How will you support children?"
"Don’t worry, sir, God will provide," replied the fiancé.
The conversation proceeded like this, and each time the father questioned, the young idealist insisted that God would provide.
Later, the mother asked, "How did it go, Honey?" The father answered, "He has no job and no plans, and he thinks I’m God!" (Andrew Chan: Sermon central)
We don't have to worry about an earthly father providing for us, we have a Heavenly Father who does that.
We read that when the Israelites were in the desert grumbling for food, God provided for them (Exodus 16). It must have been a strange sight to see what appeared to be frost on the desert ground, and realize it wasn't frost at all but bread. Exodus 16:31 describes it as being white like coriander seed and sweet like honey wafers and we know that it was called 'Manna' this was angel food. It was Heavens Bread! in this sweet bread we see God's perfect provision.
Pastor Brian Bill shared a familiar story that you may have heard a time or two yourself: He spoke about a fictional man who fell from a cliff and was able to grab hold of a limb that was growing out from the face of the rock and as he clung to life reviewing his options he cried out “Is there anyone up there?” He was surprised when he heard a voice say “Yes. This is God!” He was greatly relieved and said “God can you please save me?” Then God said “Of course I can?” The man said “That's great! What should I do?” God then said “just let go of the limb” after a long pause the man scream “Is there anyone else up there?”
Transition: We are like that man hanging from the cliff sometimes, we often SAY that we want to please God, we just don't want to DO the things that please him. We want help, we just don't want to obey. In Exodus 16 the desert wandering Israelites discovered three things about God's provision. First ...
I. God's Provision teaches us Obedience
“This is what the LORD commanded: Each one is to gather as much as he needs. Take an omer for every person you have in your tent. The Israelites did as they were told.” - Ex. 16:16,17
Notice the first part of verse 16 "This is what the LORD commanded..." and notice verse 17 "The Israelites did as they were told."
We must do as we are told if we want God's provision. We must obey God if we want his blessings. The Israelites were told what to do and they were told how to do it. They were told to take an omer (half a gallon) for every person in their tent, and each was to gather as much as they needed.
God provided the manna from heaven but God would not have his children do nothing for it. The people had to go out every morning and gather it, and later we read they beat it into mortars, they ground it in mills, and baked it in pans and made it into cakes. We know God does not endorse idleness. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 we read “If any man shall not work, neither shall he eat.” If they wouldn't do as they were told, they would starve.
As we learned from the man hanging from the cliff: Obedience is difficult when sacrifice is required. Abraham had to take his son up the mountain to sacrifice him in obedience to God's command. And his faith was tested, and Abraham was blessed for it and his son was spared. Obedience was difficult but it was rewarded.
Obedience however, is much easier when there is hope of something good at the end of it. Naaman had to dip himself 7 times in the Jordan river if he wanted to be healed of leprosy. The blind man had to go wash his eyes at the pool of Siloam if He wanted to see again, The Israelites had to march around Jericho seven times and then blow trumpets and shout, if they wanted to conquer their enemy. Here the Israelites had to go out daily and gather bread. You see while victory and healing and food is provided there is something on our part that must be done in order to have them.