<image courtesy of Lawrence Op>
We all face moments during life’s many battles when we come to the incontrovertible realization that we just do not have what it takes to push through:
…the obstacles are too big
…circumstaces are too hard
…finances are too tight
…we’re sorely outnumbered
…and, most disconcerting of all, hope seems too far gone.
God knew the people of Israel would face these same things as they went about the impossible business of conquering the land they had been promised and later began the process of nation building. So, it’s interesting that before they fight the battle for the strategically significant city-state of Jericho, the Israelites find themselves being reminded of God’s power, and are in a situation where they must trust God’s plan of action even though it couldn’t have made too much sense at the time when this happens:
10 On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, while camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, the Israelites celebrated the Passover. 11 The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain. 12 The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate of the produce of Canaan. (TNIV)
The Passover was a celebration of God’s provision of rescue, safety, and leadership. Then for the first time, after this importrant celebration, the people eat of the land around them. THIS IS INCREDIBLY SIGNIFICANT—for forty years, the people had eaten strange breadlike stuff called “What Is It?” (manna) as God daily provided for every detail including food and clothing-—daily provision which served as a daily reminder that God and no one else was actually doing the providing.
But here’s the deal:
Something happens when we have experienced God’s provision—we expect the next time his provision comes, it will be in the same manner of before. So, we do the same things, pray the same prayers, and try to break God’s provision and grace down into a formula of words and activity. Yet that simply isn’t what we see, nor what we should expect.
What if the Israelites had waited for manna in the new land?
THEY WOULD HAVE STARVED.
Instead, God provided now for the Israelites from this new land itself. Don’t be mistaken; though the provision came off the land, God was just as much providing animals for meat, and plants for harvest as much as he sent manna like rain and quail like an invading horde in the desert.
I don’t know what battles you’re facing today… and I don’t know in what ways you are crying out to heaven for provision. But I do know this as I fight and wait with you: God is our provider. He has granted provision and will continue to do so simply because he loves us; but we must recognize he will not always provide in the way we expect, desire, or have seen before.
Provision and rescue are coming. We just need to be cautious that we aren’t looking for manna and quail when God is giving us a new way. Remember how God has provided in the past, and anticipate his movement… in his much-higher-than-ours way.