Saturday, January 15, 2011

Manna from Heaven

"mann hu" is what the Hebrews called the manna from Heaven. It means "what is it?"

Exodus 16:31 says, "Now the house of Israel called its name manna. It was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey."
Manna is what was provided from the Lord for the wandering people's sustenance. Their daily bread. What they needed to be sustained and grow. Each morning going out to glean their fill for that day. Except for Fridays, when they would r...eceive a double portion...they lived one day at a time on what they were given.

Midrash (Jewish commentaries on the Scriptures) says that the way the manna tasted depended on the heart attitude of the person eating it. To those people who had an attitude of gratitude and were thankful for its daily provision for them, it tasted sweet. Delicious. Dessert for dinner!

But for the people who were the mutterers and grumblers, it was supposed to have tasted like stale saltine crackers (really much worse than that, but that's what I compare it to when I read the description). Dry. Bland. Sticks to the roof of your mouth.

Isn't it funny that that's how we can see our lives that we are given and choose each day. Approaching them with an attitude of gratitude is like the spoonful of sugar that helps the "medicine" go down. Medicine is often times bitter and unpleasant to take. But ultimately for our health, healing and restoration. Situations God allows in our lives as we choose them is our medicine. Meant for our good and to heal us and restore us to Him even as we are changed into His likeness.

And then there's seeing life as one disappointment after another. All the while muttering and grumbling about our circumstances. How unfair life has been and is. How undeserving we are of where we are and wishing things were so much better. Easier. Not so hard and painful. I think life for these people must be an awful lot like eating a stale soup cracker.

Jesus tells us in John 6:51, "I am the living bread which came down from heaven." Looking at the word bread, you can find that the Greek form is autrov. This is from the primary root aiuto which has as its definition to take upon one's self and carry what has been raised up, to bear.

Are we taking Him at His word today? Is He the living bread? The One we allow to take upon Himself our cares, our burdens, our bitterness over the circumstances and choices of our lives and carry them away? Does the manna of our lives taste sweet like honey? Does it leave the taste of wholeness, peace and forgiveness in our mouths?
Or are we bearing our own burdens? Muttering and grumbling over what we have or don't have, and always envious of what we think we should have had in our past and now in our present lives? Does life taste like a stale saltine?

"According to your faith, be it done unto you." Mt 9:29

Friday, January 7, 2011


The Hebrew word for contentment is ya'al. In the Bible, part of being content is being willing or pleased to start something that requires our submission. Our determination to undertake a course of action no matter how hesitant or reluctant we are. Or afraid.

Doing what we need to do, even if we don't want to do it. We have a resolved determination to do so no matter what challenges or difficulties lie ahead. We "Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead." Knowing we are self-sufficient.

Not self-sufficient as in we think of it today. It isn't so much about thinking we can provide for ourselves without the help of others or independence, so much as it is a walk of faith after taking a "leap to faith".

If we've had any life experiences that were difficult, challenging, almost soul and will breaking in their scope, we know Who brought us through such hard times. We felt His arms around us. His love carrying us. Providing. Keeping. Guiding. He was and is building up our trust in Him and what He will do for us based on past experiences.

Like Abraham sacrificing Isaac. It was nothing short of full trust in God providing whatever was needed at that time and place, based on His doing so in the past for Abraham. Abraham knew Who was in charge and that what was about to happen was fully for his benefit. He trusted God to resurrect Isaac if it came to that need. He was content with what God was going to do for him.

In Phillipians,I don't think Paul was talking about self-sufficiency the way we define it. I think he was talking about learning through these life experiences with God to accept where we are as sufficient. Sufficient to draw closer to Him. Sufficient to continue building up that relationship of trust and love. Faith in a God Who always meets our needs and is always working for our good.

Paul had learned not to count on himself or others to fix what was wrong in his life. He was content to be invited to trust a little deeper. Move a little closer. Change just a bit more into the Likeness. He had learned to accept, and even be thankful, for his own lot in life. It was perfectly tailored for him.

And it was enough for him.