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Steve Mickel: Daily Bread, Exodus 16:4-5

July 3, 2024

Audio Recording

Reliance on God’s provision tests our faith, humility, and dependence on God, even when living in abundance.

Westside Church
Westside Church
Steve Mickel: Daily Bread, Exodus 16:4-5
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Sermon Transcript:

You're listening to a live recording from Westside Church in Bend, Oregon. Thanks for joining us.

This passage we're going to talk about today is like, lord, give us this day our daily bread.

And as I thought about this, I know there are people in the room and online and around the world who genuinely and desperately need to pray that prayer today because they don't know how they're going to eat their next meal. I think about those that are suffering from starvation in Gaza and Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. I think about these places where starvation is real and they don't know where their food's going to come from. And so when you think about this, lord, give us this day our daily bread, you're thinking, yeah, that's a good one to pray.

But for most of us in this room and those that are watching online, do we really need to pray that prayer?

I mean, I'll be honest with you, I'm gonna have bread tomorrow whether I pray for it or not today.

And you're thinking right now, that is so entitled.

And you're right.

That is so arrogant and you're right. But practically speaking, because of where we live, oftentimes, do we actually have to pray that prayer? And if we have to, is it to. Is it so that he would answer that prayer? Or is there other reasons to pray that prayer?

Is there other reasons that we. That Jesus instructed us to pray to our father in heaven, hallowed be his name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, and give us this day our daily bread. Is there other reasons besides our need for bread, daily bread, that we should be praying that daily prayer? So I want to talk about that for a little bit today because we've been in this series. We're looking at the ancient narrative of the Exodus, the people of Israel that were fleeing Egypt and tied it into the prayer of Jesus in Matthew, chapter six. And we're uncovering, like, deep parallels between these two narratives, between these two timeframes, you know, with this. I mean, the Lord's prayer is about. Is a plea for deliverance. It's a plea for provision. It's a plea for liberation.

It's a plea for forgiveness. And it's the same things that God is challenging the people of Israel to live as they are wandering in the wilderness during the exodus.

So today I want us to look at the part of the story in Exodus chapter 16 in which God poured down manna from heaven and kind of talk a little bit about why, why it's important for us to pray that daily prayer. Give us this day our daily bread, even if we don't need it.

Verse four. Then the Lord said to Moses, I will rain down bread from heaven. I just. For whatever reason, I love that phrase, rain down from heaven. I just think, yeah, please, God, rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. And in this way, I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. I just love it when God tests us. Don't you love it when God tests you on something? We'll talk about that. On the 6th day, they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days. Why do they gather twice as much on the 6th day as they do any other day?

Sabbath. So they don't have to gather it on the 7th day, because God set apart the 7th day as a day of rest so they wouldn't have to work. And so he's saying, gather more on the 6th day so you don't have to work on the 7th day. So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, in the evening, you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of Egypt. And in the morning, you will see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumblings against him. So they were a little unhappy with how things were going in the wilderness, and so they're grumbling to God. And God responded. Verse 13. That evening, quail came and covered the camp. And in the morning, there was a layer of dew around the camp. And when the dew was gone, thin flakes, like frost on the ground, appeared on the desert floor. And when the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, what is it? For? They did not know what it was. This was something brand new. Never before existed. And Moses said to them, it is the bread the Lord has given you to eat. This is what the Lord has commanded. Everyone is to gather as much as they need, say, need as much as they need. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent. And the Israelites did as they were told. Some gathered much, some little, based on the size of the family. And when they measured it by the Omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much. And the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone. Say, everyone. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed. Then Moses said to them, no one is to keep any of it until morning. And the entrepreneurs in the room and the capitalists are thinking, that doesn't make any sense at all. Why wouldn't you keep it? I mean, let's store it for a rainy day.

Yeah, right. This is kind of the way we think, right? And this is. God is. But again, God is testing them. And this is. And so he's saying, this is like, don't keep any of it until morning. However, as you and I would do, some of the people, some of them paid no attention to Moses. They kept part of it until morning.

But in the morning, it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them. I think he was probably more angry with them because they made the camp smell bad than they disobeyed God. Verse 21. Each morning, everyone gathered as much as they needed. And when the sun grew hot, it melted away. And on the 6th day, they gathered twice as much. Two omers for each person. And the leaders of the community came and reported this to Moses. And he said to them, this is what the Lord commanded. Tomorrow is to be a day of Sabbath rest, a holy sabbath to the Lord. So bake what you want to bake, and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning. So they did. They saved it until morning, as Moses commanded. And that did not stink or get maggots in it. Eat it today, Moses said, because today is a Sabbath to the Lord, you will not find any of it on the ground. Today. Six days, you are to gather it. But on the 7th day, the Sabbath, there will not be any. Nevertheless, some of the people went out on the 7th day to gather it.

Maybe there's some out there, but they found none. And then the Lord said to Moses, how long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions? Bear in mind that the Lord has given you the Sabbath. He's given it to you as a gift. That is why on the 6th day, he gives you bread. For two days. Everyone is to stay where they are. On the 7th day, no one is to go out. So the people rested on the 7th day.

And the people of Israel called the bread manna. It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey. So, 40 years later, fast forward. So, 40 years later, the Israelites have been eating manna every day for 40 years in the wilderness. And they come back in deuteronomy. Chapter eight. Moses, they're about to cross into the promised land. And Moses reminds them of this story, of this moment. And he and what? I want you to think about it for 40 years they've been eating the same food, bread from heaven. Praise God for the miracle. Bread from heaven. For 14,600 days.

Anybody, did anybody's mom make them the same thing for every lunch all the way through grade school and high school?

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They just don't taste the same to me anymore. I'm just like, you know, it's not 14,000 days, but it feels like, it feels like I had peanut butter, this and then potatoes. Potatoes, I guess, were pretty cheap to buy back when I was a kid. We had potatoes for everything, potato soup and potato salad. And I hate potatoes. I just dont like them anymore. French fries ill eat, but I dont like potatoes.

But he reminds them in deuteronomy, chapter eight. He comes back to this 40 years later after walking through the wilderness and God's provision every day. And he says, verse two. Remember how the Lord, your God, led you all the way in the wilderness these 40 years? And he comes back to this to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart.

And now we start to get a glimpse of why Jesus might actually ask us to pray this prayer every day, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known to teach you, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. There's a few reasons I want to highlight. Just three reasons I want to highlight why I think this story and the subsequent excellent prayer of Jesus is so important in our lives and why he asks us to pray a prayer that maybe we don't actually always need every day. But it's important in our lives nonetheless. The first thing is that praying for our daily bread reminds us that it is the Lord who provides.

See, most of us live in the context of abundance. Most of us live where we don't have to pray that in order to have bread on the table.

Most of us live in this place of comfort. Like, look. And what can happen is we can start to believe.

Look at what I've done with my own hands.

Look at what I've created, look at what I've worked at.

And by the way, I know that it may not feel like abundance and especially in this moment, moment of inflation and everything costs a lot more. But most of us don't have to worry about bread, a meal on the table.

We might have to worry about our kids preschool and college and our retirement fund and other things like that. But we don't have to worry necessarily about food on our table. And so I think praying for our daily bread, which is something, by the way, I do almost every day when I pray the Lord's prayer. It's more about reminding ourselves who God is and where our abundance comes from, who it is that is responsible for the life I am now living.

God says several times in these narratives that this Manna miracle is a test. Don't you just love tests? And when God does these tests, it's like, why, God? Why do you do tests? Because what he's trying to get at is he's trying to show us what's in our hearts. Remember, Jesus would say later, where your treasure is, there is your heart also. So what's in our hearts and what comes out of us when we are tested?

What comes out of us when we do lack? What comes out of us when we don't have food on the table?

What kind of faith arises? What kind of trust comes out of us in those moments?

That's why sometimes we feel tested by God.

For many of us, we can quickly turn our eyes on ourselves. We can look to ourselves, boast in our own work ethic and our ability to make money and our strength, rather than in our weakness. And God is trying to get us through this story and through praying every day. God, give us this day our daily bread, a daily humility and dependence upon God. God, I recognize again today that without you, I will lack all that I need. A second reason why this narrative in prayer is so important is that receiving our daily bread, so recognizing that it's God who provides and then receiving that from God's hand, reveals the glory of Lord.

You may have noticed this as I read deuteronomy eight, two and three, that you might have recognized a passage that Jesus quotes. In Matthew, chapter four, Jesus quotes deuteronomy. He's being tempted by the devil. So he's in his own wilderness, just like the Israelites are in their wilderness. He's in his wilderness, and he's fasting for 40 days, and he's super hungry, and he's like. And he's very, very weak. And the devil shows up and tempts Jesus to turn the rocks that are around him into bread. And the devil is acknowledging something that I think sometimes we acknowledge, that you can do this. You can provide for yourself right now. You don't need to wait.

You don't need to wait. On God. You don't need to trust in God. You can do this, Jesus. You have the power to provide for yourself.

And Jesus, quoting deuteronomy, says in Matthew four, four, man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. And what he's saying is, he's saying, I'm dependent not just on God for my bread, but for everything else.

I'm dependent on him for everything. I cannot live just on bread. I need every word that comes from him for life.

Anybody watch the debate this last week? Did anybody watch it?

Yeah, it was super, super entertaining.

That's all I'm going to say about that. But what's interesting to me, which is true in most every election since I can remember, is that most elections in the United States are about the economy.

Matter of fact, stats show that if the economy is going well, the incumbent will typically have a much better chance of winning. And if the economy is not going well, then the challenger has more opportunity to win. It's just kind of the way we think about our lives centers so much around the economy about how. How do we, how does it feel in the home when we're buying groceries and when we're paying our rent? And how does it feel to us if we don't like how it feels, then we're going to look for someone else that might be able to provide better than the other guy.

And what this shows us is that even at a subconscious level, we have put our hope in a man or a system rather than in God. We're putting our hope in our trust in, in something other than God, to provide for our daily needs. And this is so, so dangerous for our hearts, for our souls, because guess what?

Either of both of them are going to disappoint us.

They can't do what God only was made to do for us, to provide for our deepest needs. So there's this subtle and not so subtle trend for us to depend upon the government to provide for our daily needs.

And what happened to the manna when the people tried to make more than they needed for that day, right? It got spoiled and started to rot, and God was disappointed in them. And I think when we trust God every day for what we need, yes, it's risky, but it produces life in us instead of death.

When we trust him every day for what we need, daily provision reveals God's glory. I remember this is gonna sound like an old grandpa's story, and I'm not even a grandpa, but it's gonna sound like that. And we kinda sneer at these stories because it was like, well, God doesn't do that anymore. So I was a young kid, I don't know, probably five or six years old, my dad worked at the dairy, Eberhard's in Redmondhe. That was one of his jobs. He had two other jobs. He worked part time in the church there in Redmond, and then he had another job and he was just, he was gone from. I remember he went to Everhard's at two in the morning and worked while I was at school, and then went to another job and worked and never really saw my dad for probably about twelve years. He's just really worked hard to provide for us. And it's noble, by the way. I'm not saying that's innoble, that's noble. That is amazing. He worked so hard. But there was this momentous moment, I remember this where I could see my parents were really worried and we didn't have any food in the house. And I mean, I think we probably had a jar of peanut butter. I gotta be honest with you, we always did. But other than that, we didn't have anything and there was nothing for dinner.

And as a kid, you just, like, this is not. You're just thinking there's always going to be dinner. You don't think that there's not ever going to be dinner in the context that I grew up in.

And so when that happened, I'm like, this is serious. Like, we're gonna end up on the streets. You know, you started thinking, worst case scenario. And I just, I remember my parents. I could hear them in their bedroom praying for God to provide.

And you guys, I'll always remember this because that had such an impact on me, is that within the hour of their prayer, we get a knock at our door and somebody, you know, a door ditched us, or whatever you call it. They knocked on the door and by the time we opened it, they're not there. But there's bags of groceries just on our porch, you know, and some of you are like, come on, you know, God doesn't do that anymore. You know, we hear these stories and we think it, you know, like, God doesn't have to do that stuff anymore.

So in a sense, we've kind of, kind of worked our way out of our need for God.

In deuteronomy. Back to deuteronomy eight, Moses prophetically speaks to the people about a time coming when they cross over into the promised land. And in the. I'm just going to read all of it's going to be up there. But I'm only going to read a few verses here. In verse seven, Moses says, it's really interesting. He's prophetically speaking to them. So Moses knows he doesn't get to go to the promised land because he disobeyed God by hitting a rock, more than he should have for water to come out for the people of Israel. So he lacked dependence upon God in that moment. And then, so then he doesn't get to go into the promised land, but the people do. And so he's prophetically speaking over them about what they're going to experience in the promised land. It has so much to do with us. In our current context, Moses says, verse seven. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land. A land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills. A land with wheat and barley vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey. A land where bread will not be scarce. I and you will lack nothing.

A land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.

When you have eaten and are satisfied.

Praise the Lord your God, for the good land he has given you. Moses is saying, don't forget God. Don't forget who brought you here. Don't forget who provides for you. Don't forget when that day comes and when you have abundance and you don't have to pray that prayer, God, give us this day our daily bread anymore. And there's just always, you're never going to lack anything. Don't forget to praise God. He goes on verse twelve. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase, and all you have is multiplied in those moments, what might happen is your heart will become proud, and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. And then in verse 16, he gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. You may say to yourself, my power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me. But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.

Even the very ability for you to work hard and to make a living comes from God. And so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors. As it is today, we cannot forget where our provision comes from, where it has come from where it will come from. There is a sense that our abundance is directly related to God's blessing upon our life.

And whether we have much or we have little, Moses is reminding us. Praise God. Thank God. Ask God for provision.

I'm learning that as I pray this prayer every day, Lord, give us this day our daily bread. I'm realizing that I'm just thinking about all that I have as a gift from goddess. His glory revealed in me is on display in the family that I have and the work that I get to do and the stuff that I have around me, my income. He is the lifter of my head and the provider of all good things in my life.

Receiving our daily bread reveals the glory of the Lord in your life.

We must acknowledge him. And there's one more brief point here that I want to make and then we'll kind of close things up here. And this is, this is so important in the context of how we live in the United States is practicing the Sabbath reminds us that God's provision results in rest.

Remember, they were to gather right twice as much on the 6th day so they didn't have to work on the 7th. But what I see in our context and what I grew up in in my context is, is that you should work as hard as you can every single day.

And if you get to a point of abundance, then you can rest. You know, I had a pastor friend who just worked way too hard just burning both ends. And I knew he was going to burn out. And I said to him, hey, you know, you're going to burn out and you should rest. He says, I'll rest when I die.

And I'm like, well, that's going to be sooner than you think, you know. And it was kind of like, just like it's so hard for us to rest.

I think we're the most restless people.

We just work and we work and we toil.

And yes, I think being a hard worker should be a value. But isn't there a limit?

Isn't there a point where we just, our work ethic begins to encroach on God's provision, where we start to fill the space that God always intended to fill in our lives, that we start to take on more of that responsibility and we're just driven and we drive and we go and we go and we go and we never rest.

And our soul suffers.

And our relationship with God and our relationship with others, it was never meant to be that way.

And God is saying to the Israelites, take a break.

To remind yourself that I will provide for you and it will produce rest in your life.

It's really difficult in our day and age, I think, to take a day off competition.

You know, what if somebody else gets, you know, they're working seven days, they're getting ahead, and I'm gonna get behind. So there's that. Then there's also this, you know, that I really can't make ends meet, and I get that.

I understand that that's, like, real.

But can I challenge you to push against that, that idea that if I don't work more, then I won't provide for my family?

Think about that. Just push against that just a little bit and say, well, maybe I'm not supposed to work so hard, and maybe I'm not the only one responsible for what provided for my family. Maybe.

Maybe you're not giving God a chance, and you're thinking, oh, that's so risky.

Yeah, it's a life of faith.

It's almost like, what Malachi, some of you might remember this passage in Malachi. He's a prophet in the Old Testament. He talks about this idea from a financial perspective, and he's saying he's challenging people to give 10% of their income to God. So just right off the top 10%, and he challenges people to test God. So you know how we don't like God testing us? This is your opportunity to test him.

Just turn the tables just a little bit. Test God in this. And Malachi is saying, test God by just start giving him 10% and see what God might do.

And you're thinking, that sounds more like a test for me again, right? Yeah, that's kind of the way it works. But. But this idea that I'm going to give and see what God might do is I'm going to test God to see if he actually will pour out his abundance in my life. And I think it's the same with the sabbath. Taking a day of rest is almost like, I'm going to test God in this God. I'm going to take, I'm going to slow down, and I'm going to take one day a week where I'm not going to work to make a living, to make income, and I'm going to trust you, God, that you will provide that extra day of income in some other way.

Now, taking one day, by the way, it doesn't have to be Sunday. Thank you, chick fil A, for making it on Sunday, because I always want chick fil a on Sunday. Anybody else? It's like, come on, you could do any day of the week. They chose Sunday, but that's all right.

But take a day for me. I try to take Saturdays but I'm traveling a lot now so it can't always be on Saturday. So sometimes I take Monday and I think God's okay with that. The point is that I'm taking a day to breathe to say, you know, I'm not going to trust myself to work on this. I'm going to trust God while I'm not working to provide for me and so I'm going to take a sabbath. Just like giving financially to God reminds us that God is who he is who provides. Taking a day of rest without work reminds our soul that it is not by our toil and striving that produces blessings in our life. It's by God's hand and his alone. I love what Hudson Taylor said. God's work done in God's way will never lack God's supply.