The length of the night’s life has waxed old; a new day rests just beyond the horizon. Looking in from the outside one can neither determine whether it is the end of night or the beginning of day. It is that uncertain time when one could assert both; however, a definitive conclusion of night or day still remains elusive. In this perplexing time of being neither night nor day, there is an ever greater perplexity at work.
The weatherworn tops of tents speckle the landscape, painting an alluring contrast against the dark sand in which they rest. Fast asleep, the portable city has yet to resurrect from its slumber. Peace has descended. Yet, at second glance, one begins to realize there is more to the picture than a mere tent city’s slumber.
There is a miracle taking place, a miracle that even to this day arrests attention and baffles understanding. Presently descending from the heavens we find the first ever care package. The drop is just has precise as its younger siblings that will follow a few thousand years later. Manna is peacefully drifting down from the heavens in nearly every direction. In a world of almost 197 million square miles, manna strategically falls on this little splotch of desert plain.
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In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus tells us to pray: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11, King James Version). I believe the line of the famous prayer is one of supplication regarding both spiritual and physical needs. God, the Creator of the universe, understands that there are certain needs that must be met on a daily basis. One of the most basic of these needs is food, daily bread. The omnipotent God that formed Adam from the dust of the earth is not oblivious to the needs of humanity and the Lord's Prayer ties directly into that understanding.
Further along in the same passage of Matthew 6 we read this wonderful reminder, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they” (V. 26, English Standard Version)? Once again, God sustains all life on our fragile little marble catapulting through the abyss we call space. Many of us reading this article are blessed beyond measure and don’t give a second thought to our next meal. We have money, and if we need food, we simply go to a restaurant or to a grocery store to purchase whatever we feel like eating. However, if we rewind back to the original audience in the text, we find people living in a much different situation than our own. Food in a hostile desert climate was scarce. The infrastructure and logistics we have today were not in place that made storing food almost impossible. In short, food would have been at the forefront of their minds often.
The Bible tells us that we are to bring our supplications to God. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (KJV). I believe that sometimes we feel that we only need to pray about the big problems in life and attempt to handle the small stuff on our own. However, what must be understood is that God wants a relationship with you. If it is important to you, big or small, it is important to God. Returning back to our discussion of daily bread we see that God works in both the big and the small areas of our lives.
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The heart of our discussion and the point of the article is quite simple: daily bread. The Lord’s Prayer reminds us that we are to bring our spiritual and physical needs to God daily. Not only are we to bring them to God, but Scripture reminds us that God has a daily portion of spiritual and physical nourishment for us. As I pose the question: what does God have for you today and are you actively doing your part in receiving all that God has for you?
In looking back at the beginning of our discussion, we find ourselves in the vast nomadic camp of the Israelites. God provided for them daily with manna because food wasn’t exactly abundant out among the sand dunes of the desert. There is a lesson to be learned from Scripture, though. God gave the Israelites daily manna. Meaning, every day they received a new portion of manna that was only for that day. If you read the whole account, you’ll find that those who tried to horde away a manna stash ran into some serious problems. Lack of faith and trust in God causes us to horde away what God gave us yesterday or last week instead of trusting his providence for tomorrow. The lesson the Israelites teach us is this: the Israelites could not use yesterday’s manna as nourishment for tomorrow’s labor.
2 Corinthians 4:16 says, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day” (KJV). Again, the verse exposes this day by day strength, renewal, and nourishment that Scripture is teaching us. We have seen how the Israelites received daily manna from God to strengthen them for that day. We have also covered how the Lord’s Prayer teaches us to pray for the daily bread of spiritual and physical impartation. 2 Corinthians 4:16 notes that even when the outward man, the flesh, may not feel it there is an inward, spiritual, renewal that God in working in us, through the Holy Ghost. This point brings us back to the overarching point of our discussion: does God have for you today?
One of my favorite quotes is by C.S. Lewis, it says, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Every time I hear or read the quote I ask myself: what is God speaking to me about today, and am I listening? Are you listening for the voice of God in your life today? Because He is speaking. Where all of this jargon about daily bread meets praxis is quite simple, conscious observation. Are you conscious of what God is working in your life today? We rush through life at a million miles per hour; our mad dash blurs all the fine details that God is working. Are you even aware of the nourishment you may need today spiritually? What do you actually need from God today? There is daily bread that God has for you today, but do you know what it is?
I challenge you today to take a second, pause your activity and do two things:
- Find out what area you need daily bread – that being strength and help from the Lord – today.
- Then, once you know, pray and receive the portion that He has for you today.