Once upon a time there was a group of people who were enslaved by another race. For centuries, the enslaved were forced to grow crops and build cities for their masters. They received no compensation or rights, beyond room and board. Generation after generation of people were born, lived, and died in slavery. Their children were taken, their workers whipped, their women threatened. As an enslaved people, they cried out for help.
Someone heard, and He provided a way out.
He drew the oppressed away from their oppressors and into a desert where they were free to worship their Rescuer and become a free nation. But then they looked around and realized that in the desert, there was no room and board. They had never been in charge of their own selves; they had only ever strained to please their masters. But now, their slavery seemed like sweet safety and predictability. As a newly freed people, they cried out for help.
Someone heard, and He provided something safe and predictable once again.
When they crawled, bleary-eyed and anxious, out of their bedrolls in the morning, there was food on the ground. Delicious, honey-flavoured flakes that needed neither growing, tending, nor weeding. They had simply to harvest its goodness and be satisfied. Every morning the same safe and predictable meal arrived, and every day they were nourished by it.
Then came the sixth morning, and they were told to collect enough of the wafers to last for two days, because the following day was to be a day of rest. What is a day of rest to a people who have been worked to the bone for centuries, a people who have been enslaved to the will of others, living solely for the gain of another race? No days of rest, just a striving that never ceased.
So the next day, some of the formerly enslaved people did what they always did – they got up and went to work. Only, their Rescuer had spoken truth. There actually wasn’t any work to do because there was no food on the ground. Their striving had to cease. He had provided freedom from slavery, predictable nourishment, and rest from striving.
We strive night and day to fill up our bank accounts, our gas tanks, our stomachs, our cupboards, our love tanks, our spirits. We are slaves to the urgent physical needs of our days, and to the urgent emotional needs of our souls. We walk an endless stairwell of needs.
For what are you striving today?
This story from the ancient book known as the Bible teaches us that you and me, slaves to the powers of this world and to our own natures, can stop our constant striving, because God will provide.
Granted, his provision may not look as we expect. In the book of John, when someone reminded Jesus of this ancient food-gift, he shattered his listeners’ preconceptions about God’s provision with these words:
“It is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven…I am the bread of life.” (John 6:32, 35)
God is the Provider, and He is the Provision. He will always provide what we need because what we really, truly, actually need, is simply more of Him.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@wise4salvation”]God is the provider, and He is the provision.[/tweetthis]
Those same slaves, the people who didn’t know how to be free and had no culture of their own, were given a commandment. Their leaders were to collect some of the food-gift and put it in a jar to be kept for generations to come. They were to remember their Rescuer’s provision by keeping a physical reminder of it nearby.
When was a time that God freed you from that endless stairwell of needs? When has He provided exactly what you needed, exactly when you needed it? When has He given the answer before the question, provided peace in an impossible situation, or given a glimmer of light in your darkness?
Do you remember?
I encourage you today to take the memory of that grace-gift and put it in a jar to be kept for generations to come.
Perhaps your jar looks like a journal, or a blog, or a list of 1000 gifts, or perhaps it is actually a jar. But we are a physical people, and we need to remember God’s works with tangible tokens. From Passover to Holy Communion to this bit of bread in a jar, these physical objects are reminders of God’s goodness.
This week, may your fears be stilled and your strivings cease.
PS Enjoy this gorgeous song that always reminds me of my true Provision:
(if the embedded video doesn’t work, copy this link into your browser and remove the space: https: //youtu.be/wNRFumI2ch0 )