Bible Reading – Exodus 16
Exodus 16:4 Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.
One evening in October during my freshman year of college, I was going through my evening routine to get ready for bed. As I grabbed my toothbrush from it’s travel case, I noticed suddenly that the bristles were faded and mashed. I realized it was time to get a new toothbrush, but as a college student on a very tight budget, I decided I would wait to get one until I went home for Thanksgiving break the next month. My parents seemed to always have a stash of extra toothbrushes, so rather than spending the dollar, I would simply wait and let my parents take care of it for me! I gave it no more thought, brushed my teeth and went to bed. The very next day, as I woke up, I had completely forgotten about my desperate need for a toothbrush. I went to classes and chapel, and as a typical college student, I couldn’t wait to see what was on the menu for lunch. As I arrived at the dining hall, the lunch line wrapped around the interior of the circular building. As I stood in line, trying to see what food students were grabbing, I noticed something strange. At the entrance to the serving area, there was always someone counting how many people went through, but today there was a rather large box as well. As I watched, I noticed that everyone who went through the line was given a small gift. When I finally got to the front of the line, I was able to see that the large box was full of toothbrushes. Immediately, I remembered my need I noticed from the night before, and it hit me almost as if God had called me on the phone and said, “Your parents don’t take care of you. I do.” Every student who went through the lunch line that day received a brand new toothbrush for free because God knew I needed one. While it may not be the biggest miracle, it is definitely one of the most personal miracles God has done in my life.
As I continued to reflect on what just happened, I couldn’t help but regret not having prayed for that toothbrush. What an amazing story that would have been to say I can pray down toothbrushes from heaven! Instead I realized that God knew I had a need and wanted to take care of me more than I wanted Him to. I realized that the toothbrush was donated before that day, meaning God knew I would have a need even before I realized I had the need. And He set in motion an answer to that need before I would even know I would need help. In the entire time I was in college, I only remember one occasion in which the entire student body received something while going through the lunch line, and it was that day. I could have waited for my parents to give me a toothbrush. I could have found a dollar on the ground and decided to purchase one that way. But I had to learn that it wasn’t really a toothbrush that I needed, it was God.
For the children of Israel, God knew that they needed bread, but we see in their attitude in chapter 16 that they were used to relying on Egypt for the provision. It was good for them to get to a place of desperation because it helped them realize Who truly provided. They always needed God, but until He was their only choice, they trusted other things or people to take care of them. In times of desperation, we realize it is not our jobs that take care of us, not our friends and family, and it isn’t our country that provides for us. It is God. Sometimes He blesses through our jobs, but it is He that is providing. Sometimes He blesses through people, but the provision comes from Him. Sometimes He blesses by doing something we never could have imagined such as raining bread from heaven. No matter how He provides, we can trust that He knows our need before we do, and He has an answer for that need. And no matter how the provision comes, it is God Who we should give the praise and thanks to.