Friday, November 11, 2016

Lessons From Manna, Part Two

In yesterday’s post, we discussed the importance of focusing on today instead of being distracted by our yesterdays and tomorrows. Today’s lesson from manna is the reminder that God will do the miracles, but often He still requires us to do our part.

Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no. - Exodus 16:4

God said, “I will rain down bread from heaven, which is my part, and the people need to gather it up.”  God literally dropped it on their doorsteps, but they still had to gather it.  God could have easily rained the manna into their pots or bags or whatever they were using to gather it.  He could have made it like the widow’s cruse of oil that never ran dry.  He could have met the need in a million different ways, but He chose a two-step process:  the miracle and the obedience of the people.

There are times in life when God rains down blessings and requires nothing in return.  He does all the work and only hopes that we will be grateful enough to praise Him.  Most of the time, however, He has a part for us to play as well.  He’ll do the impossible.  He’ll do the big things.  He’ll do the part that we can’t do, but often, He allows us to participate in His plan.

There are people who live with the philosophy of “Well, God said He would provide for me, so I don’t need to get a job.”  Or “God is watching out for me, so I can live recklessly and trust that He won’t let anything bad happen to me.”  Or “God is the Great Physician, so I can eat what I want and do what I want with my body and trust that God will heal me when and if I need it.”  That’s ludicrous!  God’s promises and provision do not excuse us from using the gifts and knowledge He has given us.  God has made great promises to us, and He will always fulfill those promises, but keep in mind that many promises in the Bible are conditional, which means they are based on our obedience to God and His commands.  If we don’t keep up our end of the bargain, God is not required to keep His.

The fact is that God wants to bless us and the fact that He often allows us to take part in His miracles is a blessing in and of itself.  How awesome is it to watch God work?  Don’t you know the children of Israel paid more attention to their manna as they gathered than they would have if it had simply appeared in their baskets every day?  How easy would it have been for them to start taking it for granted?  To expect it?  (Which, sadly, they did anyway.)  My point is, God knows that we will notice and appreciate things more if we have a chance to be a part of it, and for that reason, He often requires us to do what we can while He accomplishes what we can’t.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some work to do.  God miraculously provided a new roof for our house so that we could keep our insurance, and at this point, His work is done.  However, I’m still working on some of the other repairs that need to be done.  He did His part, now I’m doing mine.  And you know what?  After doing a lot of this labor myself for the past few weeks, I will appreciate the result much more because I now realize exactly how much work it took to bring it about.

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