11 The Lord spoke to Moses, 12 “I’ve heard the complaints of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat. And in the morning you will have your fill of bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’”
13 In the evening a flock of quail flew down and covered the camp. And in the morning there was a layer of dew all around the camp. 14 When the layer of dew lifted, there on the desert surface were thin flakes, as thin as frost on the ground. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” They didn’t know what it was.
Moses said to them, “This is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Collect as much of it as each of you can eat, one omer per person. You may collect for the number of people in your household.’” 17 The Israelites did as Moses said, some collecting more, some less. 18 But when they measured it out by the omer, the ones who had collected more had nothing left over, and the ones who had collected less had no shortage. Everyone collected just as much as they could eat.
This story reminds me of my childhood. We lived in a three bedroom house, with four children. During the time we lived there, I never had my own room, first sharing with my younger brother and then with my second oldest sister. When I was in high school, we moved to another three bedroom house when my oldest sister went to college. This time, however, my parents let me choose my own room, all to myself. I thought I’d gone to heaven.
When God answers our prayers, it may take a while for us to understand. I wanted my own room; my parents knew that what I needed was a warm bed. The life-lesson God taught me through this time was how to adapt to living with different people in close quarters – something I needed to learn.
All of us struggle with wants and needs as we pray. Some people are looking for a room of their own; others simply want a place to lay their head. Some people are chasing the job of their dreams; others are ready to take any job that will put food on the table.
For the people of Israel it wasn’t enough that they had been freed from slavery; they obviously needed to have food for their journey. Manna and quail were God’s response. It may not have been exactly the menu they wanted, but God knew it was what they needed.
Sometimes it’s only by prayer that we can truly sort out our wants and needs. And often it’s not we who sort them – it’s God!
By Kathleen Stolz
For Pondering & Prayer
The freed Israelites really were in a desperate situation when they “complained” about needing food. Without food they couldn’t continue their journey to Canaan and fulfill God’s promise to Abraham. Surely God knew they needed food. Perhaps God was just waiting for them to ask. Is there a prayer request God is waiting for you to make in order to fulfill God’s call on your life?