Daily D – Exodus 16:4
Exodus 16:4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. This way I will test them to see whether or not they will follow my instructions.“ (CSB)
This past Friday morning, the team I was working with arrived at the church where we were leading training. A group of women from the small, urban church in New Jersey across the river from New York City were serving a breakfast with enough food for twice as many people a were gathered. Fresh baked goods, fruit, and coffee were offered to everyone walking in the doors. It was quite a feast on a cold morning with light snow falling.
My gut was full before I arrived. Starbucks in our hotel provided me with a Grande Sumatra coffee and oatmeal with blueberries, our younger granddaughter’s favorite fruit. Their provision, naturally, came in exchange for a fee. Having learned how to squeeze every penny out of a dollar from my bride, I made a note to enjoy breakfast the next day with everyone else at our training event.
The next morning, there was again an abundance of fresh-baked croissants, eggs, fruit, and something I had never before eaten for breakfast. A large pot of chicken noodle soup emitted an unusual aroma for that time of day. The dear ladies insisted I take a large bowl. It was a perfect and perfectly unexpected complement to the bread, fruit, and coffee. I enjoyed the feast with two men from Bangladesh. I asked questions. They told stories. We each left the room with deep gratitude for God’s good gifts.
If you have read these almost daily missives for very long, you recall how often we consider how God guides and provides. He knows what we need before we need it. He has prepared the way before us, including the provisions we require. These early chapters of the Hebrews’ exit from Egypt include several opportunities for the people to learn that God is their provider. He also teaches them that it is rebellious for us to act as our own provider when he has already given instruction and supplies of what we need when we need it.
The last sentence in the verse above is important for our understanding of how God leads us to trust him: “This way I will test them to see whether or not they will follow my instructions.”
Following God’s instructions is a lesson we get to relearn often. The sooner we learn that God is our path leader and provider, the more fruitfully and effectively we will live. There is so much more joy in the journey when we follow the steps and the directions of the one who is in charge.
Two complementary truths turn our lives in the right direction:
* Where God guides, God provides.
* God shows us the way we should go.
Our best next step, now and always, is to hear and obey God. When we hear what he wants us to do and where he wants us to go, we will find he provides what we need all along the way. He knows our best work is done with others. Moses had Aaron, and then, following wise guidance from his father-in-law, he had a team of capable leaders who made it possible to expand his work. He led better and broader by empowering others. (See Exodus 18.) This, too, was God’s guidance and provision.
Where do you need guidance and provision today?
What are your best next steps along the way?
Here is a prayer I pray every day: “Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul,” (Psalm 143:8 NIV 1984).
I will hear and obey God, trusting him to show me the way I should go, and provide what I need for the journey.
Our Father, in all these years of getting ahead of you, falling behind you, swerving out of your path, and being drawn back into the way, I can confidently say that your way is the best way. Where you guide, you provide. The best things in my life have come in those moments when I was walking most closely with you. Keep me close today. Show me the way. Amen.
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Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.
Psalm 52:8, 9 ”But I am like a flourishing olive tree in the house of God; I trust in God’s faithful love forever and ever. I will praise you forever for what you have done. In the presence of your faithful people, I will put my hope in your name, for it is good.“