Updated: May 15
Pastor Charlie Rousey
1 And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt.
2 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:
3 And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.
4 Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.
Over 20 years ago, I arrived at the first church that we would minister at full time. Everything we owned was packed in the back of a U-Haul truck while my wife and daughter sat in the front with me. Annagail was only one at the time, and Mindy was soon to be pregnant with our next daughter. The church was very kind and loaded our things into a barn and put us in a one-room apartment that was used to house missionaries. We were allowed to live here for a few weeks until we could find a place to live.
Within the week, it became apparent that we would not be able to afford even the cheapest rent in the area. As the end of the two weeks was approaching, I realized that I was not going to be able to meet the most basic needs of my family. A close family member advised me to pack all of our things back into the U-Haul, and they would pay to return us to the life we had left. Like the children of Israel in this story, I remembered what I had left and the very uncertain future we faced. During that phone conversation I had to make a life-altering decision: would I go back or keep going forward?
First, I want us to notice how God met the needs of the Israelites that day. God met their needs with “bread from heaven.” This is not bread that fell from the sky but bread that was provided to them by God. He tells them how this provision is to be received by them and that it is daily - they were not allowed to stockpile it and save it for another day. God wanted them to fully rely on Him every single day for their needs.
Next, we see why God established the daily bread routine and that is to prove their faith in Him. This desert experience was to be a training ground for them - a type of boot camp. God was showing the Israelites that He could supply all of their needs and He would do it daily. We have an urgent faith when resources are depleted, and we do not see a way we can provide for ourselves or our family. It is apparent that God wanted these people to have an urgent faith that built a dynamic trust in Him and His unrestrained ability to provide.
When that phone call was over, I had charted an unknown course for the life of my family. It almost defied the laws of logic to stay, but my decision was built upon the foundation that God is real and will care for those that trust in Him. God changed me through those few weeks. There were things that I thought I needed that I realized were not necessities, and I saw every one of our needs met on a daily basis.
I am sure the story of how God met the children of Israel’s needs in the desert has been told millions of times to the descendants of this story. This is an example to all of us about how God works and that He will bring us to places in our lives to prove us. God wants to build our faith by meeting needs that are impossible to meet on our own, and He wants us to trust Him one day at a time.