Then Moses said, “Eat that today, for today is a Sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field. Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none.” Now it happened that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none. Exodus 16:25-27
The miracle of the manna one of the strangest miracles in all of the Scriptures. And while it’s one of the strangest, it is almost certainly the most common. Meaning, this miracle happened continuously while the children of Israel were in the desert. That’s about four decades of manna! Moses told them to go out (almost) every single day and gather manna, but they were only allowed to get enough to last for one day.
That’s where some of you stopped reading. If you’re anything like me, that command sounds crazy! I mean, didn’t the Israelites have plenty of other things to do besides gather manna? There were millions of them with kids, flocks, herds, tents … But still they had to go out six mornings a week and put some fluffy, previously unknown edible substance in some buckets so they could take it home and eat it. Six. Days. A. Week. (If you can’t tell, leftovers are real life at my house).
Anyway, if the children of Israel went out and gathered up too much manna (so they could skip the process the next day and just eat the leftovers) it would rot and fill with worms. Talk about incentive, I guess. But there was one exception: the Sabbath.
They didn’t have to scoop up manna on the Sabbath. In fact, they couldn’t. It wasn’t just forbidden; it wasn’t even there. On the sixth day of every week, the people had to gather up two days’ worth of manna so they could eat on the Sabbath without having to go out and work for it. This was the only time each week when the leftover manna remained fresh and edible for the next day.
While there are great discussions out there on Sabbath practices, this is not intended to be one of them. The point I want to make here is that God is thoughtful about His instructions for us. Many times He asks us to work, to make effort, to produce in labor and sometimes, He asks us to rest and put our trust entirely on Him to provide for our needs.
Which of these is two is harder for you to get a grip on? Which one comes more naturally, working or resting? My guess is, like the Israelites who had to be trained, you and I are much more comfortable with working for our provision. After all, if you don’t work, you don’t eat, right? That’s not always the case with God.
Sometimes the work is in the act of trusting.
Take a minute and thank God for the example He gave us in the Israelites. We can see through them that work equals the way to provision, but so does rest. God is faithful to provide for us in both situations, we just need to pay attention and follow His lead and instructions.
So, what are the places in your life where you need to work harder? What are the areas where you need to rest harder? He will give you every single thing you need. So, take Him at His word and let Him lead by example. He created and modeled rest and work for us way back at the beginning and He doesn’t change.