Today we enjoyed a braai fellowship with a few beloved brothers and sisters in Christ. Although people throughout the world tend to roast chops and boerewors (sausage) outside over the coals … in South Africa, we call it “a braai” … and it certainly is a highlight meal. Some enjoy a slow cooker … we enjoyed a slow braai. The meat was done to perfection and everyone, including the children has sufficient food to eat. The other aspect of a braai is the fellowship. No there was no alcohol (often that is the reason for a braai) … but the cool drinks and juice refreshed us. We enjoyed the food, the drinks and each other. When Jesus is the center of fellowship, it is sweet. You’ll recall that yesterday, I addressed the issue of Israel grumbling because of a lack of food … and the Lord provided them with quail and manna (the equivalent of chicken and bread). Please read Exodus 16:15-35 and then 1 Corinthians 10:
1 Co 10:1 I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.
Like Israel, we Christians are also on a journey and sometimes the journey could be compared to the Desert Wanderings. For them it was because of repeated and progressive sin and rebellion and this would suggest that ours might also be through barren lands because of our own persistent rebelliousness before a Loving, Caring, and Merciful God … who is Holy! Look at a few comparisons between them and ourselves.
God gave the quail and the manner freely. The people did not work for the food. God sent it without cost. There was one stipulation however … they needed to go and collect the quail and the manna! They needed physical food (manna) to sustain them … like we need spiritual food (manna) to sustain us. Isaiah presents this perfectly:
Isa 55:1 Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the
richest of fare.
That spiritual manna comes from God and is free of cost to us … but we need to go and collect it! You collect it each time you have daily devotions … but more … you collect it when you gather around the Bible for expositional preaching.
God satisfied everyone. Although they needed to good and collect the quail and the manna, with the head of the household having the added responsibility to see that everyone was nourished … the sufficiency of the meal for each one was not dependent upon the quantity collected, but on the Lord who satisfied each one. You and I might differ in the volume of Bible we read and time spend in prayer, yet it is the Lord who knows each one … and each capability … and accordingly He satisfies each desire and need.
God’s spiritual food is received by faith. The quail and manna’s provision and nature were not understood, provided it was looked for and received by faith. This is so true with reference to our spiritual manna. The nourishment from God (The Word) can only be understood as The Word (that is, God’s Word) when it is looked for (search the Scriptures) and received (in the heart) by faith … believing this is from God to the believer!
God’s Word is gathered in humility. As the Israelites gathered the quail and the manna, they did so on bended knee … that is, in humility. Many study the Word in an academic manner without searching for the spiritual food involved. God wants you to gather the Word in humility without the pride of “Biblical Knowledge and Achievement” but with a deeper understanding of the Lordship of Christ in and over your life.
God’s Word ought to be gathered early in the day. The manna was breakfast! Some people say they are not morning people, yet our Lord showed us an example:
Mk 1:35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
Starting the day with Jesus sets the pace for striving for holiness throughout the day.
God’s Word needs to be worked well. The manna after being collected needed to be ground or beaten before it could be baked. Working the Word of God requires hard work … to understand what God was saying to the people of that day, then to the people of all time and lastly to me personally today. Without doing the hard work, spiritual lessons will never be learnt. Try to get what Paul is saying to Timothy as he is inspired by the Holy Spirit:
2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Before the Word can equip you, it must teach you the right way, rebuke you of sin and errors, correct you by showing you the right way and then train you to do life God’s way. Your part is to work that Word diligently and intentionally in the soul.
Dear God, help me to use spiritual manna You provide to achieve maximum present and eternal results. Amen.