The term “Daily Bread” is generally attributed to the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6 and Luke 11. I drew the 2010 ornament title from this scripture but the ornament’s lesson is from the story of manna and quail recorded by Moses 1500 years before Jesus appeared on the scene. In Exodus 16, we read how God responded to the Israelites hunger by providing a daily portion of bread and meat to them in the forms of manna and quail. This provision would continue for the duration of their 40 years of wandering in the desert. God’s provision is later recalled in Deuteronomy 8 as the people are challenged to remember and remain obedient to God as their memory of his miraculous provision fades with time.
The elements of this story that we related to was how this provision of food was attributed as a trial, a blessing and a discipline.
- The trial occurred when they experienced hunger and cried out to God for relief.
- The blessing arrived in God’s response with food to satisfy their need.
- The discipline regarded following God’s instructions to the letter – to gather only enough for a single day. If more was gathered, the extra amount rotted before the next day as well as other repercussions from being out of favor with God.
The last two years of joblessness and underemployment have brought the realization of daily need into our perspective. God taught that EACH DAY we are to literally depend on him for THAT day only – like the Israelites 3500 years ago. Furthermore, we saw how God uses the very hunger that he wove into our nature to draw us to himself. As God nourishes our bodies, he challenges us to consider that he can meet our spiritual hunger as well.
I contend that a belief system should offer a plausible explanation of life as it really is. Christianity “works” because it speaks to life as it is, both physical and spiritual. Bible lessons connect the two. While God gave us natures brimming with hungers and passions, when we satisfy them at just the physical level, we fall short of our full potential.
When God made us with bodies that need food to survive, he created a world able to more than meet that need. However when the Israelites are later challenged to remember how God responded with manna and quail, another idea is introduced – that “man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 8:3).
Thousands of years later, Jesus affirmed these lessons by demonstrating the rich connections between the spiritual and physical realms. While Jesus performed feeding miracles on several occasions, his radical pronouncement, “I am the bread of life.” (John 6:48) echoed Moses’ words of Deuteronomy 8:3. In his discourse with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, he distinguished between the properties of the well’s water that only temporarily quenches thirst and the living water he provides that offers eternal life. (John 4:13).
So I offer you my 2010 ornament, “Daily Bread” to share how God showed us this year how we need to turn to him anew each and every day for all the sustenance we need – physical and spiritual. For “his compassions never fail. They are new every morning.” (Lamentations 3: 22b-23a)
Give us each day our daily bread. (Luke 11:3, NIV-1984)
go out each day and gather enough for that day. (Exodus 16: 4)
man does not live by bread alone (Deut 8:3)
I am the bread of life (John 6:48)
Scripture References: Matthew 6: 11; Exodus 16: 4, 12; Deuteronomy 8: 3, Lamentations 3: 22b-23b; John 6: 47-50
- Daily Bread (Matthew 6:11, NIV-1984):
Give us this day our daily bread.
- Manna and Quail: Sustenance in the desert (Exodus 16: 4-5, NOV-1984):
4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. 5 On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.”
- Hunger that bread alone cannot quench (Deuteronomy 8: 1-5, NIV-1984):
1 Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the LORD promised on oath to your ancestors. 2Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.
8 I am the bread of life. ( Jesus) (John 6:48, NIV-1984)
- Provision when needed (Exodus 16:12):
“I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.’”
his compassions never fail. They are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22b-23a)
- Life-giving water (John 4:5-13, NIV-2010):
5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”