God’s Schedule for Supplying Our Needs: Day by Day
Can I give you a piece of advice? Don’t win the lottery. Better yet, don’t even play the lottery. Why play if winning can be so hazardous to a person’s life? It’s a fact that most huge lottery winners actually regret winning. Ask Jack Whittaker of West Virginia. On Christmas 2002, he won the largest undivided jackpot in US history – $314,900,000. Within months he suffered multiple robberies at his home, vehicles, and office. Every day he was hounded by fortune hunters and people with sad stories. The only bright side to his win was that he gave $20 million to charity. But otherwise, the instant wealth ruined his life. His wife Jewell blamed the win for her granddaughter’s death by drug overdose. She told the Charleston Gazette, “I wish none of this had never happened. I wish I would have torn the ticket up.”
When Juan Rodriguez won $149 million in the New York Lottery, his wife of 17 years immediately filed for divorce and sued for half the winnings. In 1993 Janite Lee won $18 million in the Missouri Lottery. In 2001 she filed for bankruptcy. Jeffrey Dampier won $20 million in the Illinois Lottery. He treated family and friends to gifts and a huge Caribbean cruise. But it wasn’t enough for them. He was kidnapped and murdered by his sister-in-law.
There are hundreds of other such stories. No matter how big a prize the winner wins, it gets consumed by legal battles, taxes, crime, greedy neighbors, fair-weather friends, drug addictions, and envious relatives. Sudden wealth places enormous stress and a thousand temptations upon the beneficiaries.
I think about this whenever I read how God provided for the needs of His people through the wilderness. God didn’t give His people a storehouse of supplies and roadmap to the Promised Land. No, He personally guided them through the wilderness as a pillar of cloud and fire. And He only met their needs for one day at a time over a period of forty years. God fed them with fresh manna, the bread of heaven, each and every morning (Exodus 16:4-34). And they were only allowed to gather enough for each day’s needs.
This pattern of “daily supplying their needs” was strictly enforced by God. God wouldn’t allow the Israelites to store up any supplies. Any attempt to gather more manna than was necessary for one day resulted in overnight spoilage. Manna held over from the previous day became infested with maggots.
The only exception to this was on Friday mornings – the morning before the Sabbath. On Friday mornings God instructed the Israelites to gather a two day’s supply of manna. For there would be no manna to gather on the Sabbath day. Besides, God wanted Israel to rest on that day. And, amazingly, Friday morning’s manna would stay fresh through Saturday evening.
I’m sure that a mountain of manna in a moment of hunger would have been an impressive sight. It’s the kind of answer to prayer that Christian believers dream of, but God chose to do something just as miraculous, though less dramatic. He fed them only what they required for the day.
By doing this God forced the Israelites to leave tomorrow’s concerns with tomorrow. They would gather the food necessary for today and leave tomorrow’s needs in God’s hands. Every morning the appearance of fresh manna reminded them of God’s faithfulness and their dependence upon Him. By this process, Israel would be taught to trust God – and to be content with today’s supply.
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declared that this same day-by-day living is the pattern for the Christian believer (Matthew 6:19-34). Instead of stockpiling food in warehouses, Jesus told us to store up treasure in heaven. He instructed us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” rather than demand tomorrow’s supply today.
In his classic devotion, Morning and Evening, Charles Haddon Spurgeon wrote, “A daily portion is all that a person really wants. We don’t need tomorrow’s supplies; that day has not yet dawned, and its wants are as yet unborn. The thirst which we may allow in the month of June doesn’t need to be quenched in February, for we don’t feel it yet; if we have enough for each day as the days arrive we shall never know want. Sufficient for the day is all that we can enjoy. We cannot eat or drink or wear more than the day’s supply of food and clothing; the surplus gives us the care of storing it, and the anxiety of watching against a thief. One staff aids a traveler, but a bundle of staves is a heavy burden. Enough is not only as good as a feast, but is all the complete glutton can truly enjoy.”
Therefore, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).
PRAYER: Dear Father in heaven, help me to submit to Your leadership, discipline, and training. Teach me to trust in You during these uncertain times. Remind me, O God, that as You fed the millions of Israel for forty years in the desert, You will also take care of me all the days of my life. Amen.
(Information from: Uncle John’s Weird, Weird, World; Portable Press; Ashland, OR, 2014, pp.224-226)