But today let us consider a unique period in history when food was delivered directly from God when He miraculously provided the manna during the wanderings of the children of Israel in the wilderness for 40 years. Perhaps they called it MannaHub™. First it was seen as a tremendous miracle; a rather fascinating, labor free way to receive daily bread and it “tasted like wafers made with honey” (Exodus 16:31), which sounds pretty good to me. But over time it became a source of discontent and grumbling (Numbers 11:6). Isn’t that the way we so often are concerning God’s blessings?
Surely many in the younger generation merely took the manna for granted as they had grown up with this miraculous provision since birth. They had acquired no taste for other varieties of food so they didn’t necessarily realize what they were missing. They probably just thought that’s how food was always provided.
But when our second daily text was written the people had crossed over to the Promised Land and were then instructed to eat from provisions of the land which would have also meant a resumption of labor. The next morning, for the first time in forty years, the daily provision of manna no longer rained down from heaven. You might say the divine MannaHub™ delivery was suspended.
The provision of manna was miraculous, for a specific reason and for a specific season. The reason is they were unable to stay in one place and cultivate any land, the season was their 40 years of aimless wandering. But when they entered the Promised Land and settled down it was a time when God knew the people could return to the normal means of provision as “they ate of the produce of Canaan”.
God provides but not always as we expect. We have read testimonies of miraculous provision like that of the manna. Several weeks ago we had breakfast at Ella’s Place, a family-owned restaurant in Elizabethtown, PA. The owner is an Egyptian and very outspoken Christian. He told us about a miraculous provision many years ago at the Lillian Trasher orphanage in Egypt. The orphanage was very short on provisions and the leaders actually had the children sit down for their expected meal without any means to provide food for them, except to pray. As they were praying a milk truck broke down in front of the orphanage and the driver called the dairy to see what he should do and was told to give all the milk to the orphanage!
But the norm is that humans cooperate with God in working to prepare our food; from the hardworking farmer, the trucking industry, food processing plants, grocery stores, right down to those who prepare it in the kitchen to serve a delicious meal to their family. As I reflect upon my life I realize in one way or another I have worked in each of these fields. My first job was at a Kroger Supermarket in Independence, MO. While in college and early in our marriage I did both farm work and drove a truck. In the course of our chaplaincy work we have served at food processing plants like Turkey Hill Dairy, Herr’s Snack Foods and Martin’s Bakery.
We also often pray that God would bless the hands of those who prepare our food but in doing so let us also consider the preparation that begins way back on the farm and through each step of the process till it graces our table including the person who bags your groceries! Bless those hard working laborers as well in your prayers and thank them personally when you see them!
Consider His care in your life today. Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread”. God is our Provider and desires our dependence on Him as an expression of faith. For a specific time in Israel’s wilderness wandering He provided a MannaHub™ delivery service. But in His ordained order He usually has designed our cooperation in working and demonstrating responsibility.
In God’s timing and in accordance with His specific plan for our lives He could send manna (miraculous provision). But unless provision is supplied in this manner He has ordained that we work to provide for ourselves and others in our charge. Surely the ceasing of what had become routine was just as mysterious to the people as the initial provision, but God was in control. He still is and He always will be!
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber