“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” (Matthew 6:26)
TEXT: Exodus 16:1-36
Many people have different views in mind when we talk of wilderness. Some say it is a forest where the only neighbors are the wild animals and the birds. Some say it is a desert land where it is very difficult for plant to grow. In our study today, we need to understand what wilderness was to about one million frail, civilians Israelites that God uprooted from Egypt and were journeying on to the yet to be known Promised Land in the wilderness. I mean people that had been battered by the task masters of Egyptians for about 400 years
Apart from the fact that they were traveling in the desert where there is no drinking water and where they could not sow because of impossibility of farming in the desert and also the nature of their dreadful journey:
- The people could have become sick and perish because of the weariness of the long unending journey.
- They could have fall sick due to the fierce dusty sand erosion wind that perhaps contained airborne diseases.
- The people were vulnerable to attack of enemies who thought the Israelites have come to encroach upon their lands. This of course was their common experience throughout their journey in the wilderness.
- The people could have perished under the burden of their carry-on luggages and properties that they brought from Egypt.
- They could have perished because of lack of food and water. Remember that famine drove their forefather from Canaan to Egypt
But the faithfulness of God sustained them throughout these terrible wilderness experiences because they were journeying on under the leadership of GPS. Great and Powerful Savior, or Great Providing Savior. There is no where you found yourself in your wilderness experience that God is not capable of guiding you through. “And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” (Exodus 13:21-22) Exodus 14:19-20—Please read.
The great Jehovah God is their guide, He is their shield, He is their protector, He is their defender and above all He is their provider.
BELIEVERS’ REACTIONS TO ADVERSITY—Exodus 16:2-3
Adversities are realities of life. At times it could be very hurtful and painful. At times it puts you in a state of perplexity and confusion. One may think that it was right for the Israelites to murmur because they were reacting to the unpleasant situations in their lives. But the truth is that they have reacted in flesh because we need to note that murmuring is not an acceptable spiritual standard. Murmuring comes from the spirit that is filled with confusion, anger and doubt. Praying is the product of the heart that is focus on God’s ability and the spirit that is filled with faithfulness. I Thessalonians. 5:17 Pray without ceasing.
Everyone that gathered today in the presence of God, I thank God for your life. I want you to know that people do not have to travel a lonely journey like the Israelites before they experience the type of wilderness in the journey of life. Again I want to declare that if you find yourself in this type of wilderness today, you are not alone. The Lord is with you and He will not abandon you, in Jesus name. Ruth traveled that lonely road before. Ruth 1:15-17 Ruth reacted by faith and she received uncommon blessing of God. The merciful God that stood by Ruth in the wilderness journey of her life will not forget you.
THE MERCIFUL AND GRACIOUS PROVISIONS OF GOD—Exodus 16:13-15
Murmuring in our study about the wilderness journey of Israelites was an expression of ingratitude. This obviously, is a sin punishable by the judgment but the merciful Father who understood the frailty and weaknesses of mankind did not judge the Israelites.
Have we consider the thoughtfulness of making provision of healthy food and flesh on daily basis for such a huge population of over one million people in a barren wilderness? It is amazing. The food is fat free and contained essential rich vitamins. Have we considered the faithfulness of God in the consistency of the provision for a period of forty years? Have we thought about the thoughtfulness of God for presenting the manna to them in a powdered form, because they do not have opportunity to blend or pound it? The people will just gather the manna, and bake it or use it according to their desired food.
The divine provision of God was not only peculiar to the Israelites alone. God never abandoned His servants without making adequate provision available for them.
- He provided for Prophet Elijah in those prolonged three and half years famine in kingdom of Ahab. He exhibited uncommon provision of food from uncommon source—the ravens and the widow of Zarephath. (I King 17:8-16)
- Our Lord Jesus Christ did not abandon those who came with Him to the wilderness to listen to the word of God. He did not send them back in empty stomach. With a little boy lunch of five loaves and two fishes, he fed about five thousand people. (Matthew 14:15-21)
- Above all, if God can make available His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ as a sacrifice for our salvation, Romans 8:32—He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things, He will not withhold any good thing to bless His children. The Lord will meet us at the points of our needs in Jesus name.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF PROVISION OF MANNA IN THE WILDERNESS—Exodus 16:12
Verse 12 says, “… and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God.” Obviously this was not a statement of pride, but an assurance from our Heavenly Father that He is a Merciful and compassionate Father that is mindful of the need of His children. He wanted the Israelites to know that all things are possible to him. And at the appropriate time He will rise to the occasion and meet those needs. He is abundantly able to do whatever He says He will do. God is making a powerful statement with the provision of the manna.
Brethren, lets us consider the acronyms of MANNA:
M—Murmuring takes the backseat in the presence of God—Matthew 7:7-8
A—Always exhibit patience in adversity—Matthew 6:25-26
N—Never underrate the power of Faith—Hebrew 11:6
N—Newness of God’s mercy available every morning—Lamentation 3:22-23
A—Abundance supply of our needs manifest by faith in His word—Deuteronomy 8:3
Provision of manna recognized the ordinance of Sabbath in that the gathering of manna made on Friday did not get rotten on the Sabbath day, but gathering made on other days of the week it would be infested with worm in the following day. Therefore the recipient of the provision of blessing of God must recognize and adhere to the ordinances and precepts of God
Daily provision of manna was a daily dose of spiritual food from the presence of God for the Israelites in their wilderness journey for those forty years. The word of God is the spiritual manna of the believers. The word of God is expected to dwell in us richly. Colossians 3:16. We have 24 hours or 1,440 minutes in a day, how many of these quality time do we set aside to consider the word of God? How many of it do we spend in fellowshipping with God? Remember the commandment of God unto Joshua in Old Testament “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Joshua 1:8) Let the same be the precept and commandment of God to us today.
Let us pray