Old Testament Reading: Joshua 5:9-12
9The Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away from you the disgrace of Egypt.” And so that place is called Gilgal to this day. 10While the Israelites were camped in Gilgal they kept the passover in the evening on the fourteenth day of the month in the plains of Jericho. 11On the day after the passover, on that very day, they ate the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. 12The manna ceased on the day they ate the produce of the land, and the Israelites no longer had manna; they ate the crops of the land of Canaan that year.
This passage focuses on the celebration that took place as the Israelites finally left the wilderness after forty years. Now in the promised land, they remembered God’s faithfulness and care for them, as God provided food for them every day.
It was called “More” in our house growing up. Macaroni, tomato sauce, hamburger and spices (and on a bad day, some peas may have been slipped in – yuck!) . Maybe it was called “Goulash” or something else in your home, but in in our house, it was called “More.” What’s for dinner? More. If there leftovers you can have more. Do you want more?
“Manna” literally means “What is it?”
“What’s for dinner?”
“That’s what I asked?”
“What’s for dinner?”
It was the original version of Laurel and Hardy’s “Who’s On First?”
What God provides for God’s people is food for the journey, sustenance, and enough to survive. For forty years, God provided this gift of bread in the wilderness.
God is a God of abundance, not of scarcity. God is a God who provides for all we need. And what God provides is there very best.
There is a story about a man and wife who were celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary--fifty years of married life. Having spent most of the day with relatives and friends at a big party given in their honor, they were back home again. They decided, before retiring, to have a little snack of tea with bread and butter. They went into the kitchen where the husband opened up a new loaf of bread and handed the end piece (the heel) to his wife. The wife exploded! She said, "For fifty years you have been dumping the heel of the bread on me. I will not take it anymore; this lack of concern for me and what I like." On and on she went in the bitterest of terms, for offering her the heel of the bread. The husband was absolutely astonished at her rage. When she had finished, he said to her quietly, "But it's my favorite piece."
Jesus is the best of the bread, a treat to share with those we love. It is so easy for us to seek things in life that will satisfy our needs. We think that the right job, the right car, the right music, the right product will satisfy our needs. And when we have those things, it doesn't take long for us to look for something else to satisfy our hunger for more, for newer, for bigger, for better. We always want more, there is always more.
But when you get right down to it, what is more important than the satisfaction we receive from Jesus? What is more necessary for our lives than the bread of life? Jesus is the bread of life, come down from heaven to satisfy our need for life!!! We can turn to other things to satisfy our needs when the road gets rough, or when we get impatient, but we will always return to Jesus.
We have spent the past TWO YEARS in the wilderness, wondering if there will be enough. First it was toilet paper, then it was masks and cleaning supplies and vaccines and boosters. Now it is patience! I am sure you can list other things too.
Know that in this wilderness, God is offering you something more. More love, more hope, more promises that you are not alone.
Thank God for more! (Please God, no peas!)
Let us pray: Almighty God, thank you for always giving us what is best. May we be filled with all you give us today, and continue to nurture us on the journey. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.