Manna and Work and Learning

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will 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 or not they will walk in My instruction. 
And it will come about on the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.”

I taught on this briefly in my class on the Pentateuch the other day.  As I was teaching I realized that in this passage there is a good illustration of the value of faithful, diligent work.  I pointed out to the class that God provided Israel food, known as manna, to eat while they were in the wilderness.  (On an aside, it is interesting that God continued to do this for 40 years while He judged the unfaithful, unbelieving first generation—which is called “grace.”) The point I made was that the people had to gather enough for each day and no more.  If they tried to get more manna to store up for the next day it would rot.  The exception would be on the sixth day, when they would gather a double portion and not work on the seventh day.

Two points to make:

  1. This is a simple expression of how God values work from His people.  They could not gather up a lot on one day so that they could be lazy for one or two days later.  Rather, they had to get up and get out and gather enough each day or they would not eat.
  2. In doing this God also instructed them to gather a double amount on Friday so that they would not need to gather on Saturday.  What God was doing was training them for when they receive the command to honor the Sabbath and not do any work.

OK, those are the quick observations, but I think they are good ones worthy of reflection.  Let me expand on one of them a bit.  Fridays were opportunities to operate by faith.  You had to trust that God would not rot the extra manna so that you could eat on Saturday, the sabbath.  This worked even among the generation who were faithless.  In other words, though they were a ungodly generation who would not believe God’s promises to enter the promised land they would believe the lesser (smaller?) promise that God would not rot the extra manna gathered on Friday.  This makes me wonder about those who call themselves “Christians” who don’t believe God in the “big” things, but keep believing Him in small things.  Are they truly His?  What makes them different from unbelieving Israel?  See as a key passage on this point.

As I watch events continue to unfold at an amazing rate in my country I think about the state of the average church in America.  There is faith, but is it really faith in Christ as Lord of all?  Do we really believe that all authority is His or only “sorta-kinda-maybe-if-I-feel-like-it?”  Do we believe that in Him all things shall be judged and do we believe that by Him all things shall be made new? When we say, “Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness” do we have a clue what that really means as we craft church services that look more like a bad Disney production than a serious encounter with the one True God through the careful, blunt exposition of His Word?  Goodness, do we even think it really is His Word?

I think I live in frighteningly revealing times.  Times where men are called to work as unto the Lord and they choose to let the government work for them.  Times where good is called evil and evil is called good.  Not by the world, but by the Church!  A time where a cool app is more interesting than reading Leviticus because it seems so old-fashioned and bloody and stuff.  I think I could go on, but I won’t because I think I will just read some and then sleep.

Just some random thoughts that came to me as I studied and taught from the Pentateuch.  Welcome to my world.

About Matt Henry

Middle-aged pastor trying to figure out how to be missional in his world. Loves his wife, his children, and his dog Bear. I have a love of woodworking even though woodworking doesn't always love me. The name is xagete but is pronounced exegete.

Posted on June 27, 2013, in Bible Observations, Church, Missional, Politics, Theology and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I went past the first church I served at the other day. They got a new sign that goes with the name of the church. The sign reads “RETHINK CHURCH” in large letters with the “E” reversed which I suppose is cool. I don”t think it’s a bad idea to rethink church but I’m cynical enough via personal experience to believe that what they really are rethinking is marketing. Interesting post Matt, thanks.

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