In the previous post, I shared some of my musings from personal life and study of the Lord’s Prayer, recorded in Matthew Chapter Six. Picking up the passage at verses 11-13, I discovered some powerfully personal issues facing me.
Give us this day our daily bread
God’s daily provision for His people began 4000 years ago. Remember the journey through the desert that lasted for forty years? No drive-through McDavid’s for burgers on any of their paths. No roadside convenience stores for snacks and tasty beverages at the rarely seen oases.
According to Exodus Chapter Sixteen, the daily diet for the millions of God’s trekking people had a name, Manna, which literally meant What is it? I remember in my university days, one menu item lived up to its name, Mystery Meat; but at least, we didn’t have it every day.
God provided food for His people every single day, though He had strict instructions that no Tupperware or Zip-Loc bags would be allowed. Those who broke the rule and took more than their family needed, storing up a portion for the next day—just in case—found the manna unusable due to the presence of maggots.
On the sixth day, the people were ordered to collect enough for two days provision for their family’s needs, because manna wouldn’t be provided on the seventh day—the Day of Rest. Of course, people being people, some ignored the instruction and found only dry ground on the seventh day. Oops, God really meant what He said.
Living in one of Africa’s most under-developed countries, our missionary community made it a practice to return from home assignment furloughs with special treats to share with others for those extra-special occasions. A box of Brownie mix is a treasure, reserved for such celebrations. The problem came when we repeatedly passed the box by, waiting for just the right time to prepare the chocolate treat.
At last, the time had arrived. We didn’t worry much about the long-passed expiration date; all of us had become used to eating expired foods. Lifting the packet out of the box squelched our joy; the bugs had already consumed our treat, leaving only a few bits of powder in one corner. However, this was better than the day we opened the lid on a white cake mix, only to find it filled with live spiders.
Everyone in our community is still working on celebrating special occasions a lot faster than we did the first few terms in Africa. Hard to break that hoarding habit, you know?
On one occasion outside of Africa, we saw the Lord supply our daily bread in an amazing way. We had a grocery list, but God’s provision to pay for the items hadn’t yet arrived. With the larder totally bare, the call to fasting seemed imminent.