April 28, 2017
READ: Exodus 16:1-26
Eat this food today, for today is a Sabbath day dedicated to the Lord. There will be no food on the ground today (v.25).
My eldest daughter is extremely helpful at home—caring for her younger siblings and even baking cakes for their birthdays. But in her desire to be helpful, she sometimes takes on things that she shouldn’t—such as trying to discipline her siblings or demand that they sit up straight at the table. When she does those things, I have to tell her to stop. This isn’t necessarily because what she’s trying to promote is wrong, but because what she’s taking on is her parents’ role and too heavy for her shoulders.
In Exodus 16, God commanded the Israelites to “stop” as well: to cease gathering manna on the seventh day in honour of the Sabbath. In fact, one meaning of the Hebrew word for Sabbath is “to cease, or stop”. Part of the reason God commanded this was to see if the people of Israel would obey (v.4). But we also know from Jesus’ teaching in the gospels that “the Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27).
Because of this, I think another reason God commanded them to stop gathering manna was to remind them of where their provision truly came from—not from all their gathering and hard work, but from Him. In stopping their work, they were forced to remember that He alone was their true provider. His instruction to cease gathering was therefore far more than a command to stop working: it was a declaration to stop trying to be God and do what only He can do.
If we’re honest, so much of the stress and burdens of our lives come from us trying to be God—to do what He alone can do. What rest we can enjoy when we allow our heavenly Father control!
365-day plan: Ezra 3:7-13
Read Matthew 6:25-27 and meditate on the fact that we have a heavenly Father who cares for all of creation but loves us more than anything else He created.
What are you trying to take on that only God can do? How can you learn to rest in His power and provision?