Our Daily Bread

In Exodus 16 we find a story that displays God’s character and teaches us how we’re designed to relate to Him. He had delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and was personally guiding them. But the people began to complain about the lack of food in the wilderness; they forgot God’s deliverance and presence, and questioned His character and intentions. In response, God fed the Israelites with a daily supply of manna that He provided, sustaining them in the wilderness for 40 years.

DEPENDENCE & REST || The Israelites were utterly dependent on the Lord for their daily bread. They needed Him to provide what they could not produce for themselves; they couldn’t go even one day without Him. The Israelites were taught to rest, and to trust that God would provide a double portion to enable that Sabbath rest.

HUMILITY || The dependence on God’s daily provision was meant to produce humility in the Israelites. In Deuteronomy 8, Moses reflects this in his warning to the Israelites to not become proud. They were called to remember that it was God who delivered and sustained them and to respond in praise and thanksgiving.

TRUST || God’s character and faithfulness were on display as He sent the manna each day. Even though the manna itself was mysterious, something the Israelites had never seen before, they could trust God in the unknown.

OBEDIENCE || Part of the purpose of the manna was for God’s people to learn obedience, listening to His voice and following His instructions. His intentions toward them were pure, and His commands were for their good.

Just as God revealed Himself to the Israelites as He provided for them, so we too can learn these lessons as we draw near to Him. We are made to walk in humility, dependent on our Creator and overflowing with thanksgiving. He is always good, always trustworthy. And in Christ, God has offered provision for our deepest need—salvation and rescue from the bondage and penalty of sin. Jesus is the Bread of Life, given by God so that we might have life in Him:

“Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now He offers you the true bread from heaven. The true bread of God comes down from heaven and gives life to the world…. I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’”  — John 6:32-33, 35

In salvation, and in all of life, we are fully dependent on the Lord — for grace, strength, growth, joy, life. He knows our need, and He is faithful to provide. He is our rest.

Whatever you are experiencing today, remember this story of a God who sees, loves, teaches and provides… and look to Him for your daily bread.

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Current Reads You Don’t Want to Miss

Made for More, by Hannah Anderson

51oE2p8o39L._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_We have been created in the image of God, and that determines both our identity and our purpose. We are designed to live in dependent communion with God and to display His image as we walk in relationship with other people. We cannot seek our identity in anything else — it’s only in God that we can understand who we are.

I’m reading this book with the ladies of my church and am loving it so far. The sequel, Humble Roots, will be on my reading list soon.

 

The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life, by Jeremy Pierre

51eX0AgZErL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Our hearts are always thinking, feeling and choosing. Everything we do is an expression of an intricate matrix of beliefs, desires and commitments. Those functions are designed to be unified and directed toward the worship of God.

This is a well-written, practical text full of great examples of how the heart is expressed. It’s an excellent read so far, especially for counselors and pastors.

 

Humility, by Andrew Murray

31NfxHOPt+L._SX355_BO1,204,203,200_ Humility is the place of complete dependence on God, and is the only rightful posture of the creature.

This is a book I first read years ago and go back to continually. It’s short but weighty, so I’m chewing through it slowly.

Reframing Your Story

Have you ever taken a photo and zoomed in really close, but later wished you had captured the entire scene? When people go through a period of suffering or intense emotion, or experience any kind of trauma, their thoughts and feelings are zoomed into the pain and it’s all they can see. Even once they are far-removed from the event, the memories often hold nothing but grief and heartache. Their vision is limited and they can feel completely paralyzed. The pain is in focus and everything else has been cropped out of the picture.

Unlike that photo, when it comes to your current or past experiences, you still have the option of changing the focus and reframing the story. Instead of keeping the pain front and center, zoom out and seek to view your story from God’s perspective. This doesn’t mean ignoring or dismissing the pain — just taking it out of focus so you can see the bigger picture.

The rest of the scene includes God’s character and how He displays His faithful love. In the midst of suffering, God promises His presence and comfort. He draws His children near in order to know Him more and experience His love in times of struggle. He is always good and He is always at work. Ask your loving Father to expand your vision and reframe your story by seeing it as part of His story. Then those memories won’t consume you with a flood of pain, but will inspire you to praise God and give thanks for His grace and faithfulness.

 

His bow is on the strings
And the tune resonates in the open space
To show us how emptiness sings:
Glory to God, Glory to God!
In fullness of wisdom,
He writes my story into his song,
My life for the glory of God.

 

-from “How Emptiness Sings” by Christa Wells

The Humility of Image Bearers

We were each created by God, made in His image. Though the image in us has been marred by our voluntary enslavement to sin, it is still present. This identity as His image bearers is what defines our value and our purpose.

As creatures, our natural right position before God is one of humility as we yield to Him His rightful place of honor and authority. We exist to glorify and exalt Him. Just as the moon has no light of its own but merely reflects the sun, so we are only reflectors of His glory and image; we are not the source or center of anything. Humility is “the sense of entire nothingness that comes when we see how truly God is everything.” We are to be empty vessels that are filled up and used by Him. Our design as God’s image bearers is to be wholly dependent on Him — that is the essence of humility.

Pride is the loss of humility and the root of sin. Pride can be expressed in a multitude of ways, including taking control, exalting ourselves, going our own way, rejecting God’s leadership, and redefining our own identity. The kingdom is for those who have nothing in themselves and seek nothing for themselves. So here’s the question — who or what are you seeking? If we would grasp the fact that our value and identity are found in God, we could stop seeking them elsewhere and instead let Him define us and give us purpose. In pride, we constantly strive to exalt and protect ourselves. But humility rests in our union with Christ, remembering that our life is hidden in his…

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

Colossians 3:1-4, NLT

When it comes down to it, humility is a matter of worship and affection. Who will we serve, and what will be our posture before God? Humility is a basic component of our salvation — admitting the depth of our sin and our need, and quietly resting in His grace rather than relying on ourselves. And humility is “the first and most essential element of discipleship.” The initial step toward obedience is recognizing the holiness of the Father and submitting to His authority.

Humility is often misconstrued as something negative and undesirable, but that is far from true. In reality, the path of humility and service is the way to freedom from sin and self. Humility is joy — living as we have been designed to live…in dependent communion with our loving Creator.

 

* quotes above are taken from the book Humility by Andrew Murray