That is a feeling that I am very familiar with. There used to be days when the first thought that came into my head, would be: what will I be eating today? Will I stick to my diet? What can I have for breakfast, lunch and dinner? And everything in between?
Sometimes, I mistook boredom for hunger. Sometimes, I confused it with sadness, or loneliness. Sometimes, I chose bread, when I needed comfort. Sometimes, I still do. Not realising that my hunger pangs, are not coming from my stomach, but my heart.
In Exodus 16 God’s people were feeling hungry. They remembered the wonderful food they had in Egypt and they wanted to go back. This is absolutely crazy! They have just seen God do the impossible (plagues and sea partitioning, just to mention a few), and now they’re worried about where their next meal was coming from!
It’s funny how being hungry influences your thought patterns? The food may have been nice, but the conditions were most certainly not! Just like the Israelites, I sometimes forget the days of bondage when my mind is consumed with thoughts of chocolate cake.
In his amazing grace, God provided miraculous sustenance for them. And fed them manna; and it tasted like honey cakes! Every day there was enough for everyone, for 40 years!
As I read about how the Israelites feasted on the faithfulness of God, here are some of the truths I uncovered:
There was more than enough to meet their needs every day.
Their bread did not appear all baked and prepared on their plates in the morning. They had to go and collect the manna from outside, before the sun melted it away. They had measure it out, making sure they had just enough for their needs and discard the rest.
Everything we need to feed our hungry hearts are found in Jesus. He is both the Word of God and the Bread of Life. There is enough to fill the empty spaces; a specific word for a specific space. But we have to go to him and collect it. Prepare it. Receive it. Every morning.
We receive our sustenance from reading his Word AND from hearing him speak. And we can trust him to give us what we need, just enough for what we need, each day.
You can’t live of yesterday’s bread.
The leftover manna had to be discarded because it would go off. If they kept it overnight, it would smell horrible and be covered in maggots the next day.
How often do we try and make it through a whole week on a little manna from Sunday’s church service? We have to receive our bread daily. Our hearts will be less hungry if we have our fill on a daily basis.
“What is it” that you need?
Did you know that the word “manna” means “what is it?” Manna was a substance never seen before. How often do we eat the bread of fear, or worry, or uncertainty. When we are stood before an obstacle, and our heads are filled with “What?” “How?” “Why?” “When?” “Who?”
Manna is what you need most, when you don’t know what you need. The Word is full of substance that you have never seen before. Answers that you would never have considered, unless you had your daily meal.
Under a lot of pressure, with destruction on Israel’s doorstep, Jeremiah said:
“Your words are what sustain me; they are food to my hungry soul. They bring joy to my sorrowing heart and delight me. How proud I am to bear your name, O Lord.”
Jeremiah 15:16 TLB
In the very next passage that follows, he questions God’s consistency, saying that his help is as uncertain as a mountain brook; one day there is a flood, and the next day it is as dry as a bone! (Jeremiah 15:16-18 TLB)
God was not impressed by Jeremiah’s attitude. He promised to restore Jeremiah if he would repent, and what else? Speak words that are worthy, not worthless. (Jeremiah 15:19 NIV)
What do we speak when we are faced with circumstances that are beyond our control? If only Jeremiah stopped at verse 16. God honours his Word. He has to! It is impossible for him not to. (See Jeremiah 1:12, Numbers 23:19, Titus 1:2, Hebrews 6:18, Isaiah 55:11).
After Jesus was baptised, the Holy Spirit lead him into the desert, where he fasted for 40 days. I can hardly make it from breakfast to lunch, can you imagine the hunger that Jesus must have felt? I wonder if he was worried about where he would find his next meal? It’s only natural to worry, isn’t it?
I think that is exactly what his enemy was coming to cash in on. A natural function. His hunger. “Why don’t you turn that rock into bread, Jesus? Yummy honey cakes! Come on, you deserve it, after 40 days of fasting.” But Jesus answered with worthy words:
“Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Matthew 4:4 NIV
What is it that you need?
Today, I pray that we will be able to recognise the hungry pangs of our hearts, and feed it with the Bread of Life. May we be filled with the sustenance of Truth, so that when worry, fear or uncertainty comes we can respond with worthy words. We can say: “It is written…”
Today, I hear the Father say: “Child of Breakthrough, come on in. It’s time to eat! Wash your hands from the fear, worry and uncertainty and sit down at the table I have prepared for you. Feast on my Faithfulness. What is it you need today? The pantry is stocked with promises for every need you have. I have set the table, and I delight in your company. I love to see you relish my Word. All my promises to you are yes and amen. It’s time to tuck in. And Enjoy!” ❤