Document Sample
					                                           August 10, 2008

                                Our Daily Bread
                                       EXODUS 16: 2-5, 13-21, 31-32
                                       Rev. Darryl C. Evans

      The Israelites have seen God’s mighty power. They have seen miracle after miracle. They
saw Moses perform 10 Plagues in Egypt against Pharaoh. They saw the Red Sea part. They
even saw a Pillar of Fire guide them by night. So right after so many miracles – right after the
greatest event the Israelites have ever seen – right after the Exodus – the people …complain.
      It’s only been a month, and the people complain about food. They complain so much that
they accuse Moses, the one who liberated them, of trying to kill them. And they say, “We wish
we had died in Egypt!” In other words, they would rather be enslaved and miss the biggest
event that has ever happened – because they are not eating what they want. And it has only been
30 days. 30 days after witnessing the greatest miracle the world has ever seen.
      So God responds with yet another miracle. God sends bread from heaven, which the
people call “manna.” Manna is fascinating. The word “manna” can be translated. The word
“manna” actually means, “What is it?” Just imagine the Israelites going out in the morning and
seeing all this stuff – this food that looks like frost on the desert floor – And they stoop down to
pick it up, and realize it tastes like honey, and they say to themselves “We have never seen
anything like this before… what is it? What is it!?”
      Sometimes we all want to see a miracle, but can you imagine seeing one every day? A
miracle that happens every single day – except on the Sabbath – but every other day, the
Israelites literally wake up to a miracle. Every day they gather “manna.” Every day they gather,
“What is it.”

      So, what is it? What is going on? Often when suffering comes – whether it’s a loved one
hurting, or when we are just trying to pay our bills or scrape by – we ask God “why?” We ask
God for help. We ask God to move in our lives. It’s natural to do. But what about when we are
not suffering? How often do we ask God what He’s doing in our lives when there is no crisis?
Have we stopped and asked God to open our eyes to see what He’s doing now?
      The Israelites were surrounded by miracles. Every day they had a miracle – every day God
was working in their lives – every day they even say, “What is it?” without ever really asking it.
They weren’t really looking for an answer. They didn’t really see what God was doing in their
lives through the manna. Instead they just gather it. Every day they gather the bread. 6 days a
week. Every week. Week after week. Every month. Month after month. Every year. They do
this for forty years. That’s 12,480 times. 12,480 miracles. That’s one of the interesting things
about manna: it is both a miracle and a part of daily life at the same time.
      Imagine that our whole lives we woke up to manna. Imagine that we woke up to a miracle
every day of our lives. Sooner or later, we would loose perspective. Sooner or later, we
wouldn’t recognize the manna for what it is. Sooner or later, we’d take that miracle – that grace
– for granted. The Israelites were surrounded by miracles. But eventually they became blind to
the Hand of God right in front of their faces. Always saying “What is it?” without ever really
asking it. The initial amazed question “What is it?!” simply a thing called “manna.” God’s
grace is strewn everywhere. But that grace – that manna – is not seen by the Israelites for the
reality of God’s work that it really is.

                                               PAGE 1
       So what is the manna in your life? What is God doing all around you and in your life?
Where are we passing by what God is teaching us, just as the Israelites passed by the manna?
The manna was a visible sign of grace. The manna was grace. And the Israelites partook of it
everyday without really seeing that manna for what it was. They ate it every day forgetting it
was grace, even though it was all around them.
       It’s so easy for us humans to loose perspective, just as we said already in the Prayer of
Confession. God does have things to show us. The Holy Spirit nudges us to look at the broken
areas of our lives, so that we may grow. And how much different is that work of the Holy Spirit
than the world. The problems of the world will pounce on us; they will shout for our attention.
And when we look to the problems in our life, we end up doing the same thing the Israelites did.
We complain. We complain and forget God’s great deeds. We complain, and we stop seeing
the grace that is all around us.
       It’s easier to look for God when we are hurting. And if you’re hurting today, make no
mistake – God is there. But most of the time when things seem fine, how often do we step back
and look for God’s hand in our lives? What is the manna in our lives? God is the One who
cares about our lives – and his hand is all over the place, just as the manna covered the desert
floor. The question is do we see it for what it really is… Are we seeing God’s grace? Or are we
hardened – do we miss it like the Israelites did?
       Where is God working in the everyday that we might be just passing right over?
Something as important to life as bread. Something so common we see it every day. Something
that is so important and as common as daily bread. Yet we take it for granted. Even though we
ask for it every week in the Lord’s Prayer, that God would “give us this day, our daily bread.”
But do we really mean that, or do we just gloss right over it? Do we want God to open our eyes
to it?
       The story of the manna calls us to see God not just in miraculous events, but in the every
day. Because if we only see God in the miraculous, if we think God only works in those
mountain top experiences, or that He only works in those rare events like the splitting of the Red
Sea, or the 10 Plagues in Egypt, then we’ll be missing out of so much. And if we only see God
in the miraculous, then as soon as we can’t see the miraculous – or as soon as we can’t recognize
the miraculous right before us – then we may think God is absent.
       Just like the Israelites. They had the miraculous every day. But even if we have a miracle
every single day, even if we have 12,000 miracles, then sooner or later we will even fail to see
the miraculous.
       And the truth is, we don’t need a miraculous event to see God. Because just like the
manna back then, the God’s grace can be found everywhere. We only need eyes to see it. It’s
seen in the Creation – in all its beauty. It’s in seeing a soul finally taking a long hard look at its
areas of brokenness and receive the healing touch of God. It’s in manifesting the Kingdom of
Heaven that constantly breaks into our lives. Like when you see a person healed from their past.
Like when you see those needs provided for by a little food pantry just down the road.
       Like manna, God’s grace is all around us – do we have eyes to see it? Because when we
do, then we are open to God teaching us about that grace. And grace is so important that we
need a fresh serving each day. Having it each day helps us not to wander from God, which is so
easy for us to do.
       God teaches us many things through the manna. That grace calls us to live and be in so
many ways. That grace tells us what life is about: It is about going God’s way, not our own. It
is about sustaining needs, not gluttonous desires. It is about being present now, not wishing we

                                               PAGE 2
were somewhere else. It is about focusing on God, not our trials. It is about praying, not
complaining. It is about remembering what God has done in the past, so we know how to live in
the present. It is about looking to God every day for living. It is about receiving grace. It is
about knowing who God is – that God is someone who cares for us so much that He even
responds to prayers for daily needs – daily bread.
      Daily Bread isn’t what we want; it’s what we need. Daily bread has us look to God every
single day because God extends His grace to us every day. Just like the manna, every day God
reaches out to us, and gives us what we truly need – He gives us a fresh slice of daily bread.

                                 First Presbyterian Church
                       211 W. 2nd Street / Washington, NC 27889 / 252-946-4616
                                    Summer Service at 10am

                                              PAGE 3