As we have been journeying toward the cross, we have jumped back and forth through history catching a glimpse of the people of God at different points in their journey and seen how God has worked in them and through them. Last week we caught a glimpse of God’s people living out the consequences of choosing their ways over God’s ways and the promise God made to them and the life which could be theirs if they were to trust God and live the ways God called for them to live. We heard God speak of a renewed covenant, one in which would wash the people clean of hundreds of years of unfaithfulness and turning from God, giving them an everlasting covenant dependant upon an everlasting God. The Sunday before last we looked at Abraham at a low point in his life, after he had turned from God and what God had planned for him and saw how God in all God’s graciousness reach out to him and reinstated the very promise God had given to him in the covenant God had made with him. The week before that we stood with
Just in case we are at all fuzzy on where we are in the Israelites’ history; let us all make sure we understand where we are. These are not people whom God brought up out of
You may remember that God had promised the people who had come up out of
The people in our story today spent the majority of their lives walking circles around the desert, making laps around the
Their entire lives these people have lived traveling from place to place. Their first memories were of going out with their mother in the morning and carefully collecting the miraculous bread called manna off the ground. Each of them can remember playful evenings watching the birds fly into camp and land right before them. They had chased the birds in games of catch and then had gathered them up for dinner. They had lived the entirety of their lives knowing that the manna would fall in the morning and the quail would come in the evening. What took faith and trust in God for their parents was common place for them. This was just the way God worked. This miracle of provision was just the way life was. Manna fell in the morning and quail practically alighted in the cooking pot each the evening.
But now they have entered the Promised Land, they have crossed the Jordon. They have come to live in the land of the promise and God is calling for them to trust God to help them continue to drive out the people whom inhabit the
As we look at them and their lives, we would say that their lives have been far from normal, but it was normal for them. It was the way life was. The manna always fell, and the quail always came. Wandering around the desert was a way of life. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night was how they saw God. But these common place miracles were about to change. How God choose to work among them was about to change. Their way whole of life was about to change, how they trusted God was about to change. They were going to bed with the unleavened cakes and the parched grain from their first harvest in their bellies and in the morning they would awake and the world would be completely and utterly different, for them this new world, they would find all around them with the coming of the morning light, would seem almost utterly unrecognizable. With the new day, with the new dawn would come a new way of life. The text tells us that after their first Passover, after they had eaten the unleavened cakes and the parched grain from their first harvest in the land of promise, the manna fell no more and the quail no longer alighted on their lawns each evening. The entire way which God had always worked in their lives changed.
This passage is sandwiched between the crossing of the
We know how to trust God with the things we trust God with right now. There are ways in which we know God works, there are ways which we have always known and seen God. We are comfortable with the way God has been working. We are comfortable with the miracles that God is giving to us daily, in fact often times we take them for granted. We have been trusting God. We have being living life the way we have always lived life and have trusted God with the things we have always trusted God and God sees our complacency. God sees that we no longer really see the work which God is doing in our lives every day. We have come to expect the manna; we have taken the quail for granted. This is what God looks like, this is how God works. This is our reliable, unchanging God, we know who God is, we know God. Or at least we think we do. And then one day we wake up and the manna is not there. And we stare long into the night waiting for the quail to come. God looks at us and says, “The time of manna and quail is over. I need you to trust me in a new way. I need to you to know that I am not a tame God, who does what you expect, when you expect. I have brought you this far. You no longer need me to work in the ways I have always worked. In fact if I continued to do so, you would not grow, you would not become the people I am calling for you to be, you would not become who I know you can become. So stop staring into the horizon waiting for the quail to come and take my hand let me show you what is beyond the horizon, let me lead you into a new morning and if you come I promise what I have for you on the other side will be greater and bigger and much more exciting than manna and quail, follow me and I will truly blow your mind.”
We are the people of
I have said it before and I will say it again and again, we are living in a time of change. The world around us is changing more rapidly than many of us would like. Things are changing all around us and it is scary. But God is here God is leading us. We are the people of God following God into the promise land, trusting God in this land, this neighborhood, this new world which is all around us, which God promises to win for us. But first we have to trust God. We have to trust God with God’s promise. We have to trust God with the way God chooses to work and sometimes that means that God will no longer work in the ways God has worked in the past. Sometimes it means giving up the very works of God we have come to rely on, the very works of God we have always known, so that God can work in new ways, so that God can do new amazing things in our midst. This is scary, the miracles, the ways God has “always” worked are like the manna and the quail. They are wonderful, miracles which showed us that God was at work amongst us, but now they are gone and God will work in a new way. We just need to stop looking to the ground in the morning and staring at the horizon in the evening, instead we have to take Gods hand and walk with God toward the unknown, which lies beyond the horizon and trust God with the dawning of a new day.