The Manna Principle
Welch writes: Ã¢â‚¬Å“The manna story is the
story for all worriers.Ã¢â‚¬Â In chapter six, he develops what the story of GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s provision for the Israelites has to say to we who fear in the 21st century.
True to his earlier advice, the author notes what the story says about God. Despite the grumbling of the people, God heard them (Ex. 16:9-12). God doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t hear because of the us or the quality of our prayers, He hears because He is the God Who Hears (Ps. 94:9)
When God hears, God delivers. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Every instance of God hearing is followed by his mighty actsÃ¢â‚¬Â (p.74). Welch makes this interesting recommendation regarding prayer:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ask any Christian where he would like to grow and he or she will say, Ã¢â‚¬ËœI would like to pray more.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ As a remedy, some seek accountability or discipline themselves to pray and pray longer. A better strategy is to know God as the One Who Hears and remember the many stories of how he listens. Let it sink in that God is not like us. (p.74)Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“When GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mighty acts are on display, it means he is nearÃ¢â‚¬Â (p.75). This will become one of the most common themes of comfort to GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s people. It means he is active, protecting, and comforting.
The author also observes that the story involves a test. The test can also be expected in our own experience. He explains that the purpose of the test is to help us see how our hearts harbor mixed allegiances. Seeing the truth about ourselves enables us to turn back to God. Welch explains how the test of gathering only enough manna for one day, and the test of not gathering on the Sabbath were uniquely designed to thwart our tendency toward independence. Trusting God for the future is the way to escape fear and worry, not trusting our own ability.
Welch concludes the chapter by showing that the physical food provided to the Israelites was only the beginning. It points to something even better. He seeks to demonstrate this by pointing out how Jesus used this story in His temptation, quoting Deut. 8:3 (Ã¢â‚¬Å“man does not live on bread aloneÃ¢â‚¬Â). Ã¢â‚¬Å“GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s deliverance is better than food, a clean medical scan, or having our candidate win the election. His deliverance means he will be with us; we will be able to withstand temptation without giving in to sin; and we will be able to stand firm even when attacked by our fiercest adversary, Satan the AccuserÃ¢â‚¬Â (p.80).
My own journey
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s so easy to disconnect from the stories we read in the Old Testament. I can consider the manna story a significant milestone in the IsraelitesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ journey with God without feeling its impact on my own journey. But that is a story about my Father. What the story highlights in my FatherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s character is still true today. I want to do a better job of claiming that spiritual heritage (Ã¢â‚¬Å“I remember once when my Father heard people cry out in desperation . . .Ã¢â‚¬Â). In particular, I hope that this will have the effect that Welch suggests in encouraging my prayer life.
Welch says that the manna story is the story for worriers. Can you think of others?
What do the mixed allegiances in our hearts do to contribute to our experience of fear?
How can we grow spiritually to the point where GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s presence, and deliverance as He brings it means more than the outcome we naturally cherish (review p.80 quote)?