Trading Manna for Maggots
One of the most remarkable stories to me in the whole Bible is when God provides manna from heaven for the Israelites. Historians tell us that there were approximately 2,400,000 Israelites who left Egypt and went into the desert. God provided a ½ gallon of manna for each of them every day. That equals 1,200,000 gallons a day. Every day. For 40 years. That is an astounding 17.5 Billion gallons of manna. That’s a lot of manna.
In reading about this miracle, we can learn a lot about God’s provision and our own sinful tendencies. God gave the Israelites very clear instructions on when and how to gather manna. Still, many people ignored God’s instruction and did it their own way. The people’s way was generally done out of a fear that they would not have enough food. They did not want to rely on God and trust Him every single day. Interestingly, the people who tried to hoard their manna ended up eating less than those who didn’t. The Bible says that each person ended up with the amount they needed for a day regardless of how much they gathered; so, if someone wanted to save manna for the next day they had to eat less than they needed for the current day. They intentionally went hungry one day in fear of not having enough the next. The next day, whatever they hoarded had been overtaken by maggots.
What does this miracle teach us about God’s provision? Philippians 4:19 says, “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” God provided for the people of Israel every single day for a very long time. He also provided only enough to meet their daily needs – one.day.at.a.time. Each night the Israelites had to go to bed hoping that the next day God would provide. Each morning He did. Perhaps it became easier to trust after seeing God come through over and over again, but I bet there were many who felt anxious each night wondering if they would eat the next day.
We have this same promise today. God promises to meet our needs each day in accordance with His riches. Each day. Faithfully. He doesn’t promise more, nor does He promise less. The promise is good, but it requires trust and it requires that we gather what we need for today and trust that He will provide for tomorrow.
Many of us struggle with gathering more than we need and hoarding it for tomorrow. Typically, we do this out of fear. This fear and hoarding always leads to rot in our trust and leads to a belief that we are meeting our own daily needs. This was the danger for the people of Israel and this is the danger for us. When we hoard, we are putting our trust in the thing we hoard and telling God that we don’t need Him to provide the next day. When we do this, we exchange the miracle for maggots. If the Israelites could have gathered 40 years of manna on day one, they would have missed the daily miracle of God’s provision. While it is tempting to hoard, hoarding damages our faith as it attempts to replace God with our own efforts. Don’t let hoarding and fear get in the way of God’s daily miracle of meeting your needs in accordance with HIS glory.
I’ll take manna over maggots any day.