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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Friday, June 14, 2024
The Echo
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More than manna

A devotional highlighting our need for the Bread of Life

Picture yourself hangry. 

You miss a meal or two, a switch is flipped and somehow an empty stomach manages to transform you into the worst version of yourself.

“Hangry” is a slang term used when someone is angry because they are hungry. Just one hangry person can be a lot to handle, but imagine leading a whole nation that is complaining. 

This was the reality for Moses as he led the Israelites through the wilderness. However, the Lord didn’t let them starve. God always gives his people what they need, when they need it.

“And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not’ (Exodus 16:4).”

The Lord heard his people’s grumbling and promised to provide what they lacked. The reason for this was so that they would know he is the Lord and learn to depend on him alone. Exodus 16:21 says, “Morning by morning they gathered it, each as much as he could eat; but when the sun grew hot, it melted.”

God gave enough strength for only one day. 

God had determined what was the right amount for each individual’s need (Exodus 16:18). Some weren’t satisfied with this daily provision and became greedy. When they tried to stash away the manna for the next day, it became like that splotchy, green bread molding in the back of your refrigerator.

God wanted the Israelites to rely on him alone for daily strength. The Lord knows us personally and understands our individual struggles and temptations. Like the Israelites, He wants us to rely on him for daily strength.

I sometimes wonder if God’s provision is really enough. Choosing a major seems impossible without knowing the big picture of life after college. God hasn’t shown me what the future looks like. But, he has given me “manna” — just enough strength and guidance to make the decisions for today. I don’t actually need to know the whole story of my future because I trust the One writing it. Like the writer of the classic hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” says, I have “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.” 

When we think of the future, it’s easy to worry about what we’ll eat and wear, but our heavenly Father knows our needs (Matt. 6:31-32). In light of this, Jesus instructs us: “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble (Matthew 6:34).”

How can we avoid worrying about tomorrow? We can pray. Jesus taught his disciples to pray using these words: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). When we ask God for “daily bread,” it means more than yeast and flour. “Daily bread” could be God-given strength to not retaliate at a coworker or coach. It might mean strength to forgive the friend who constantly disappoints you or to love those who have wronged you most. 

God’s faithful provision of today’s “manna” builds our trust that he will also provide the strength we’ll need tomorrow.

In Matthew 4:4, Jesus tells us the true source of this strength: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Corrie Ten Boom is an example of one who courageously relied on God’s Word for daily strength. During World War II, Corrie and her family hid many Jews in a secret room in their home, which led to the family’s imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp. Corrie and her sister valued Scripture so much that they risked their lives by sneaking a Bible into the camp. In God’s word, they found strength to endure each day. Ten Boom said, “Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength — carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.”

Worry reveals the weakness of our sinful human nature and the painful weight of this broken world. We want more than “manna.” We long to be forever satisfied.

Jesus told his followers: “The bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world … I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes me in me shall never thirst” (John 6:33).

When God provided manna for the people of Israel, he was feeding their temporary, physical needs as a picture of what he can do to meet our eternal spiritual needs. The hunger of our hearts can’t be filled with bread. This is why we need a Savior. Jesus came down from heaven to save us from our sin so that he might be our hope for eternal life.

Jesus is the “bread of life,” and lasting fullness comes only through him. So let’s stop trusting ourselves. Instead, let’s keep praying for “daily bread” — for our strength to come from God alone. He is enough manna for today. Praise God for giving us a Savior who rescues us from all our grumbling! In Christ, our souls can be forever full.