Our Daily Bread

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This morning I took meat out of the freezer for this evening’s supper. I made soup and dessert. I filled the bird feeder. I don’t usually overthink these tasks. But I did this morning.

I had read Exodus 16 earlier in the day. That story finds the Hebrews  out in the Desert of Sin. Apparently they had run out of food and begun to complain to Moses and Aaron. “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt!” they muttered, but loudly, “There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death” (16:3).

Really? You sat around all day stuffing yourselves with prime rib? What happened to being slaves under vindictive taskmasters? What happened to making bricks without even the raw materials to work with?

But let’s move past the “spin” being put on what had been a bad situation now conveniently forgotten.

For the next forty years, while one generation gave way to another, God would provide daily food for the Hebrews. But they would still complain despite God’s provision.

That’s what made me think this morning. I take for granted there will be something to take out of the freezer, something to make soup with, some with which to create dessert. I even assume I can feed the birds. I don’t complain about what I have, but I’m not always as grateful as I should be. Because, whether it be the manna the children of Israel ate over those forty years or what I put on the table in 2017, God makes the provision.

When Jesus taught His disciples the basic bones of prayer He included this phrase “Give us today our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). That includes all our basic needs. But the sermon goes on to talk about how important it is to not worry about food and clothing because the Father knows what we need (6:32). We are to “…seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (6:33).

When God answered Job’s complaint, He reminded His servant that even bird seed comes under the Almighty’s watchful eye and generous hand. “Do you hunt prey for the lioness and satisfy the hunger of the lions when they crouch in their dens or lie in wait in a thicket? Who provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food?” (Job 38:39-40). Apparently the Hebrews, the birds, and sometimes us, have to go without for a bit to learn the lesson of dependence on God.

So today I give thanks, being reminded once again that it is God who provides everything, even down to the bird seed.

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