The Stale Bagel
In our house, we very seldom eat bread. So the other day when I had a sudden craving for toast, I opened the bread tin and was delighted to find a really tasty looking seeded bagel in there. I thought it would be lovely toasted with a bit of peanut butter on it! Nothing wrong with that, I hear you say. Well, did I mention that the sell-by date on the packaging was over a month ago? As I said, we don’t usually eat bread, so I rarely have reason to open the bread tin! Needless to say I didn’t take a chance on the ‘long-life’ bagel. It may have looked okay on the outside, but who knows what bacteria was breeding inside!
Last night I woke up in the middle of the night, and while I was lying there, in that place between awake and asleep, I started thinking about that bagel.
I was thinking about the Israelites, and how, as God led them through the desert, He fed them with manna from Heaven – fresh manna every day (Exodus 16)
God – The provider of fresh manna every day.
Manna from Heaven was what God used to sustain the children of Israel enroute to the Promised Land. He stipulated that they were only to collect what they could eat for that day. They were not to hoard manna for future consumption.
Sometimes in our walk with God, we try the ‘long-life bread’ approach.
We remember what God did last week, or said to us 3 days ago, and try to nourish our hearts and encourage ourselves on these things. Yes, The Bible teaches us to store God’s word in our hearts, and to remember His deeds, but what I felt God speaking to me about specifically this morning was trying to feed myself spiritually on yesterday’s stale bread.
If I’m tired, I need to watch out that I don’t become lazy in my approach to the “bread” that God provides for me – the food of His Word. When you’re tired, or when you haven’t eaten properly for a while, it can be quite a dangerous place to be, because you can become hungry quite quickly, and then if we aren’t ‘gathering fresh manna’ every day, we may become tempted to fill up on spiritual junk food.
Spending experts warn shoppers never to go grocery shopping when hungry – studies show that people tend to make more impulse buys and buy more junk food on an empty stomach.
The same is true spiritually. When we are daily full and satisfied with God’s Word, we will not be so easily tempted by spiritual junk food. Or by yesterday’s old bread!
Then Moses told them, “Do not keep any of it until morning.” But some of them didn’t listen and kept some of it until morning. But by then it was full of maggots and had a terrible smell. Moses was very angry with them.
What had nourished them yesterday was now maggotty and bad for them today!
God knows your spiritual nutritional needs:
“Some gathered a lot, some only a little. But when they measured it out, everyone had just enough.” Exodus 16:17
Some days even just a verse or two pondered, mulled over, prayed through, is exactly what I need to sustain me for that particular day. I just ‘gather a little’, and my heart feels full and fed and strengthened by God’s Word. But then on the other hand, an intensive three-hour Bible study session will never leave us feeling overfed:
You can’t overindulge on the Word of God.
Just because I have ‘gathered a lot’ today, doesn’t mean I don’t need to gather fresh again, tomorrow.
Some gathered a lot, some only a little. But when they measured it out, everyone had just enough. Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough. Each family had just what it needed. Exodus 16:17-18
The time to gather manna was in the morning, before the heat of the day:
After this the people gathered the food morning by morning, each family according to its need. And as the sun became hot, the flakes they had not picked up melted and disappeared. Exodus 16:21 I find, when I soak up God’s Word, early in the morning, before the ‘heat of the day’ – all the demands that the day brings, I am sustained with His strength for that day! God’s Word is better than any protein shake out there!!
God knows what you need. When you approach Him hungry and expectant, He will never send you away empty.
Jesus – The bread of Life!
Jesus makes it very clear in John 6:35 that “bread from heaven” was Himself. “I am the bread of life”.
I heard someone say recently “Jesus’ disciples were so blessed to have actually spent time in Jesus’ company. To have walked and talked with him!” And I thought to myself, yes, they were blessed, but do we forget sometimes how blessed WE are? We have been given the Holy Spirit, who lives inside each one of us, if we belong to Jesus. Jesus has promised that he will never leave me – ever. His presence is always with me.
We have access to His words, His thoughts, His constant leading through His written Word. The early church didn’t have the Bible as we have it we have today! We are so blessed!
When we get up early, read and ponder the Word of God, we are in fact eating of the Word of God, the bread heaven.
In Matthew 4:4 Jesus said “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”
Manna sustained Israel; it gave them life—even the strength to fight battles when necessary.
In Matthew 6:11 Jesus teaches us how to pray, he tells us to ask The Father to give us fresh bread daily. “Give us this day our daily bread.”
Let’s live on today’s bread – today, and trust God to supply fresh bread tomorrow. He will!