October 10, 2017

Manna for Your Marriage: Part 1

“When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was.  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. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent.’  The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little.  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 had gathered just as much as they needed.   Then Moses said to them, ‘No one is to keep any of it until morning.’   However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them.” Exodus 16:15-20 (NIV)

Imagine leading a few million former slaves through a barren, desert wilderness with the promise of a new land that was lush and fertile, a land of milk and honey.  Before they could enter the promised land, they had to go through the wilderness.  That’s a metaphor to me of marriage. Just as God promised Israel a better life and a land of promise, God offers every marriage the promise of His blessing.  Why is it then that some die out in the wilderness while others seem to flourish, stay fresh and make it into the promised land of blessing?

God used the wilderness to prepare His people, to teach them to lean on Him and follow Him, and to demonstrate His provision and power. He supplied every need if they only listened and obeyed Him.  Israel made a common mistake we make in marriage as well.  They thought that, once they got out of bondage in Egypt, they had left all their problems behind.  When the Red Sea closed in on the Egyptian army pursuing them, they thought all their enemies were gone!  They didn’t realize, until they were alone in the wilderness, that their greatest enemy was within themselves.  Selfishness, pride and self-centeredness would soon cause them to complain.  They cried out for food and, when they did, God supplied.  He gave them manna from heaven.  The Bible says in Exodus 16:14 and 31 that it was like thin flakes of frost on the ground that appeared on the desert floor and tasted like wafers made with honey. 

The Israelites called it “Manna” which means “what is it?”  Moses told them,

“It is the bread the LORD has given you to eat.” (Vs. 15)

Wow!  Think about it.  God provided fresh bread each morning for them.  All they had to do was gather it up and enjoy it!  There was one instruction though.  They had to gather fresh Manna every morning.  They couldn’t store it up because it would become stale and rotten by the next day.  As you would imagine, there are always those people that won’t listen, and the Bible tells us in verse 20:

“Some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them.”

Before we find too much fault with them, we may want to take a look in the mirror of our own souls.  Could the reason our relationships have gone stale be because we are relying on yesterday’s bread from heaven?  We need fresh bread daily.  Jesus taught us to pray,

“Give us THIS day our DAILY bread.” Matthew 6:11 (NKJV)

Jesus went on to let us know that He was the Bread of Life!  He said,

“I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever….” John 6:48-51 (NKJV)

If you want to revive a stale relationship, you need the Bread of Life!  Jesus came so that we may have life!  He is the fresh bread for starving relationships!  Sit at His table every day!  Learn from Him!  Fellowship together with Him!  Start today with an intentional daily plan to meet with God together.  If you miss a meal, don’t quit!  That would be as foolish as saying you’ll never eat again because you missed breakfast.  The Manna was there every morning for the taking.  All Israel had to do was get up and go get it!  It was fresh every day!   What’s keeping you from it?

“The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.” Lamentations 3:22-23 (NLT)