The Lord Provides but Seldom in Excess

Exodus 16

The nation of Israel had become a nomadic people, at least until they reached the promised land.  They had brought as much food, flock, and provisions as could be carried with them.  One to two million people eat a lot of food.  It would be like the inhabitants of the city of Indianapolis, Indiana moving to Pennsylvania in wagons and on foot.  The provisions for such an enormous group would be almost impossible to take all at once.  They would travel somewhere between two to less than ten miles a day and then set up camp.  This was a very long and demanding journey.  The truth is, journeys that end with a promised land are more challenging than those that do not.  When provision became low the people once again complained.  There days of slavery had created an entitlement mentality even though the provisions from the Egyptians were meager.  The same mentality was transferred to Moses and his leadership.  God provided for their needs with quail in the evening and manna in the morning.  The manna did not have to be worked for any harder than picking it up from the ground.  Along with the provision came instruction.  Do not leave the manna until the next day or it will spoil.  On the sixth day collect enough to last two days in order to honor God on the Sabbath and it will not spoil during that time.

There was only these simple instructions.  How hard could it have been to follow such simple commands?  It seemed impossible for this people to honor God in what He asked.  No amount of miracles seem to change them from being a people who followed only when there was immediate gratification.  They wanted a cosmic bellhop who came running whenever their selfish whims needed to be met.  Fair weather believers have been in the church forever, they still are today.  For the Lord it was a matter of respect, for the people it was a matter of want.  The question for yesterday’s believers is still pertinent today.  Can God find people who will serve when the provisions are enough and not in excess?  Will they serve when there is enough for today but tomorrow’s will have to come by faith?  Hebrews 3-4 speaks of God’s frustration with this people when “stiff-necked” they didn’t follow by faith but by compulsion.  It is possible to make the same mistakes in this present time.  It is written in Hebrews to warn God’s people to not fall into those same spiritual traps.  Christ posed a passionate question for modern Christians, “When I return will I find faith on the Earth?”  He wasn’t asking would He find people who believed in His existence.  He was asking would He find people who had an utter dependence upon Him.  Will they be able to say, “With faith in action I follow God my Provider, God my Righteousness, God my Sanctifier, God my Deliverer, God my Banner, God my Creator.”  It is not the one who serves in word only but in word and deed who can say with confidence, “Lord, Lord” on the day of reckoning.

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