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Bread From Heaven

August 1, 2022 | by: Luke Shelnutt | 0 comments

We live in a society that promotes self-empowerment and independence. We are often told that we have the power to determine our own destiny, that we have the inner strength to accomplish whatever it is we want. A quick search on Google would reveal quotes such as:

“Your greatest self has been waiting your whole life; don’t make it wait any longer”
~Dr. Steve Maraboli

“5 daily reminders:
(1) I am amazing.
(2) I can do anything.
(3) Positivity is a choice.
(4) I celebrate my individuality.
(5) I am prepared to succeed”
~Shawn Thomas

“Power can be taken, but not given.
The process of the taking is empowerment in itself”
~Gloria Steinem

While I believe these people likely have good intentions in what they say, in reality they are doing more harm than good. What we need is not to believe that we are independent, self-empowered people; we need to understand that we are fully dependent on God, and it is Him that strengthens us to accomplish anything.

So, we look to Israel as our example! In Exodus chapter 16, we see the people of Israel were struggling to find food to eat. They began to grumble and complain to Moses, wishing they were back in Egypt. [1] But God, in His great patience towards Israel, graciously decided to provide food for them. Every day He would provide them with quail at night, and manna in the morning. [2] They were only to collect what they could eat for the day; if they collected more, the food would rot. [3] Every day, the people of Israel were reminded of God’s great faithfulness, grace, and provision for their lives.

Let’s look at four ways in which this shows us our dependence on God.  

First, we see God’s power displayed. The people of Israel were reminded of their dependence on God as they struggled to provide food for themselves. God did not have such a struggle, rather He had the power to provide the food they needed. As Israel collected the quail in the evenings, they were to remember that it was God who brought them out of Egypt, not themselves. As Israel collected the manna in the mornings, they were to remember that it was God who graciously provided for them, they were not the ones who made it. [4] In seeing the power of God every day, Israel was reminded that they are fully dependent on this all-powerful God.

We too ought to recognize that we are in total dependence on God. In a society in which we’re often told that if we put our mind to it, we can accomplish anything, we must remember that it is God who has the power, not us. We are completely dependent on God.

Second, we see God’s grace is displayed. It had only been a couple of months since they had departed from the land of Egypt, and they had already begun complaining. [5] Despite their grumbling, God still graciously provided for them. He did not provide food for Israel because they had deserved it, but He provided food for them out of the abundance of His grace.

Similarly, God has blessed us in many different ways, all of which come from His gracious hand. Any “successes” we may experience in this life are not due to our great abilities or skills, but rather it all comes from the gracious hand of God who provides it for us. It’s not that we deserve it or that we have earned it, but it is solely because God is gracious.

Third, we see that we are dependent on God every single day. God could have given them an abundance of food all at once. God could have made it so that their bellies were supernaturally full without having to eat any food. Instead, God provided for them their daily needs. [6] For me, this would have been very difficult. I like to plan… I like to prepare. I would have wanted to gather all that I possibly could so that I could have the security and confidence that I would have food to eat the next day. God did not allow for this to happen. In fact, if someone grabbed more then they needed, the manna would melt and the quail would be eaten by worms. [7] This required the people of Israel to look to God every day and trust that He would provide for them the next day.

Do you see the faith it would take for them to go to sleep every night, not knowing if there would be food for them tomorrow or not? The only reason to believe there would be food the next day is because God promised there would be. It would require faith to say, “God will provide for me tomorrow”. Every night that they picked up their quail and every morning that they picked up their manna, they were to remember the power, and goodness, and grace of God. They needed that daily reminder. Don’t we need the same thing? Are we not quick to forget God’s daily provisions? Are we not quick to forget how good God is to us every single day? We may not know exactly what tomorrow holds, but we do know that His promises are true. We can trust, and have faith, that God will always keep His promises. [8] Every single day.

Lastly, not only do we see Israel’s dependance on God to provide food for them, but I believe this is also a beautiful picture of our reliance on Jesus Christ for salvation. Jesus says that He is the living bread that came down from heaven, and if anyone eats of this bread they will live forever. [9]

Just as Israel could not provide food for themselves, we too cannot provide salvation for ourselves. But by the power of God and the grace of God, He provides salvation for us. And we can be assured, that if we truly reside in Him, we will have this salvation every single day and throughout all of eternity. Nothing can separate us from His love. [10] We can wake up tomorrow morning knowing with confidence that He still loves us.

Luke 2_edited-1My hope and prayer is that we would not create a false confidence in ourselves, but instead that we would rely fully on God. If you have fully trusted in God for your salvation, then I encourage you to fully trust Him in your daily needs as well.

How can we trust Him with something so big as eternal life, but not trust Him for what tomorrow holds? Remember that God is powerful, remember that He is gracious, and remember that He is with us every single day. Humble yourself before God, recognize your dependence on Him, and trust in the hope and promises of God.

Luke Shelnutt is the Youth Minister at Grace Bible Church.

  1. Ex. 16:2-3
  2. Ex. 16:4-8
  3. Ex. 16:19-21
  4. Ex. 16:6-8
  5. Ex. 16:1-2
  6. Ex. 16:16-17
  7. Ex. 16:19-21
  8. Titus 1:2; Joshua 21:45
  9. John 6:51
  10. Romans 8:38-39