After leaving the refreshing of Elim, the Israelites journeyed on through the Wilderness of Sin. Two months of travel had exhausted their food supply and caused them to forget what God had done and what He had promised – again. As their leader, Moses was accused of trying to starve them out in the wilderness. The desert had no wheat fields or farms. They couldn’t see any way that they were going to find food. Instead of looking ahead to the promise, all they could do was remember the past. They were so focused on their problem, they couldn’t even think clearly about their past. The slavery, whipping, and abuse of their children was long forgotten. What did they remember – the pot of meat and the loaf of bread!
The story is in Exodus 16. Read it! See how God had already provided the answer before Moses asked the question? The Father was planning to give them the Bread of Heaven and quail. Provision was already on their path, they just hadn’t seen it yet. When they got to Marah and drank the bitter waters, God provided a branch to heal the waters. That branch was the symbol of Jesus, our Healer. Here, the manna is called the Bread from Heaven, which is also a symbol of Jesus.
The Glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud as Moses and Aaron were speaking to the people. Everyone could witness the Presence of God and His tender care for their needs. His Father’s heart wanted to give them good food as they travelled. What He wanted was their obedience. He gave instructions for how to handle this provision. They were told to gather only as much as they needed for that day. The unit of measure was an omer per person, or about two quarts. This is where we get the imagery of counting the omer as a daily portion. If they gathered more than one day’s portion, it went rancid. On the sixth day of the week, though, they were to gather a two-day portion. Sabbath rest is introduced here even though the commandment had not yet been given. God was teaching them to rest and enjoy his provision on the seventh day. With Jesus as the Bread of Heaven, it is a beautiful picture of how we are to have communion with the Lord on the Sabbath, a time of resting from our works and enjoying Him.
When the people saw the manna, it was strange to them, unlike anything they had seen before. They called it manna which means, “What is it?” They gathered and ate, no one having too much or too little. God’s provision is just right! But there were the hoarders, those who were disobedient and tried to store up more. Why would they do this when God said there would be more every day, as much as they wanted? What is it that makes us want to store up provision? It’s a lack of trust that God will come through again tomorrow. Oh, how difficult it is to trust for our provision! We want to be in control. In the wilderness, God can help us to trust Him if we will have humble, pliable hearts. I doubt there is anyone that enjoys this lesson. We all like to have money in the bank for our ’emergency needs.’ We want food in our cupboards so we can choose what and when we are going to eat. Yet, God thinks it’s so much more important that we learn to trust Him. Once we pass the test, He will allow us to experience abundance and choices once again, but first, we must drop the notion that somehow we are in control. The Israelites had gained a false sense of being in control while they were in Egypt. They were not free people, but they had food. They clung to that and wrongly thought of themselves as being in control. In order for God to raise us up to the place of leadership in His Kingdom, we have to be free in our hearts, not just free to eat what we like. He is always after something bigger. He wants us to trust that He is faithful to provide everything for us. In order to do that, we have to be stripped of Egypt’s provision and let God show us the Bread of Heaven.
By introducing the Sabbath principle at this point, God was also teaching them that every day is not the same. You can’t just do what you always do, some days are different or special. He doesn’t want us to get dull in hearing or obeying Him. Those that refused to listen found themselves hungry on the Sabbath. We must be aware of the times when our own desires cause us to think like the Israelites did, wanting to be in control and rejecting the counsel of God. We are God’s children and He is our loving Daddy. He wants to take care of us in every way, He just wants His kids to obey. Obedience is not hard if we have a grateful, child-like heart. It’s not enough to just acknowledge God’s goodness with our head, we must learn this through experience. If you’ve asked God for provision, then don’t be surprised when things don’t work out exactly like you thought they would. He is going to take you the through the wilderness of Sin and sift out your Egyptian mindset. He will not leave you there, however. He always has the promised destination in mind.
Has God shown you His promises for your life? Maybe you couldn’t receive the promise because it seemed too good to be true. Maybe you received it initially, but then things got hard and your circumstances became bigger than the promise. Or maybe there is still a glimmer of hope that the promise is true, it just hasn’t happened yet. How can we get back into faith? Start with getting alone with God and asking for fresh revelation of your promise. Ask Him to remind you why He created you, and what is your assignment for this season that is leading you into your Promised Land? Repent for not believing Him. Apply the blood of Jesus over your mind and your thoughts, and ask Holy Spirit to fill you with all joy and peace in believing. Settle the issue in your mind and set your sights on the future. Your spirit is already on board with God. Choose to trust Him and do what He says. You will get to your promise….
Provision is already on your path.