Exodus 16: What God Wants

Exodus 16: 16-18.

     This is what the Lord has commanded: “Gather as much of it as each of you needs, an omer to a person according to the number of persons, all providing for those in their own tents.” ’

     The Israelites did so, some gathering more, some less. But when they measured it with an omer, those who gathered much had nothing over, and those who gathered little had no shortage; they gathered as much as each of them needed.

The Israelites are barely out of Egypt and are already complaining that they’re hungry. God hears the griping and decides to rain bread—manna—on them. But there’s a catch. God issues instructions on how this will be handled as a test of their obedience. The people are told to collect as much as they need. Of course, folks will be folks and as soon as the manna hits the ground, the industrious ones are scooping it all up and the lazy ones are taking it easy. Then the magic occurs. God had told everyone they could have an omer and later when they checked, that’s all anyone had. Effort made no difference.

God wanted everyone to have what they needed and he wanted everyone to have enough. In this manifestation of the Kingdom of God, there are no “haves” and “have-nots.” No one corners the market and “prices” don’t rise or fall along with supply and demand. And everyone has enough. Those who work hard, those who work a little and those who work not at all have enough. The Kingdom will have other tests of character, but no one will go hungry.

Jesus revisits this point when he teaches us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” He talking about our daily allotment—just enough.  Not what we want, but what we need. There’s no saving up, hoarding or gorging. We need to keep it simple. The covenant promises we’ll have what we need.    —The Houston Pilgrim


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