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Where's the manna?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Joshua 5:11, 12
The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain. The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate of the produce of Canaan.

2 Corinthians 5:17
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

After forty years the old men had died. Even the great Moses didn't enter Canaan. Joshua and his young warriors celebrated this first Passover in their new home, and a day later ate something other than manna for the first time in their lives.

Not that they and their fathers didn't want something else to eat. Untested taste buds cried out for what the elders recalled from the good old days. Give us flesh! In Canaan they would have all they wanted.

The elders had called Canaan the "promised land." God promised them a land of their own, where they would have all the milk and honey (and eventually meat) they could eat. This promise became their property, and when it didn't materialize immediately the Hebrews complained and demanded and murmured. They lost their perspective, somehow mistaking God as their servant instead of their source.

Jesus came to Canaan two thousand years later, calling the people to a renewed dependence on God. He fed five thousand with a few pieces of bread. He filled fishing nets that had been empty. He brought back the glory of manna. His God was king, not servant. He only did what his "Father was doing." And then he said, "Follow me. Do as I do."

Another two thousand years later, here we are. Citizens of the land of spacious skies and fruited plains, not needing much manna from heaven, claiming our inalienable rights to pursue happiness and buy every kind of insurance imaginable. We have inherited great prosperity; it is very difficult not to both take it for granted and want to hold on to it with tight-fingered fists.

God's message hasn't changed: "Follow me and become a new creation. I am everything you need." And far too often my response is not much different from that of the Israelites; in the words of Rod Tidwell to Jerry Maguire, "Show me the money." And let me keep it and save it and invest it for tomorrow. Thanks, Lord.

There's something wrong in the kitchen cupboard. The mice are playing late at night. I have to replace the cheese every morning. One of these days they're going to bite my hand.

Maybe I need to change my prayer.

Lord, I WANT to want you more than life. More than the good life. More than health and wealth. Oh Lord, you're beautiful. More precious than silver.

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