Exodus 16:3b NLT
'There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.'
Dependency is not something we commend in our social construct. Often those who are dependent are looked down on and find themselves described as scroungers. We pride ourselves on independence, an ability to take responsibility for ourselves. Sadly, not everyone is as independent as they might like. Others move from independence to dependency through ageing or life-changing events, such as a serious accident. The other side of the coin is that as a society we define so much with reference to the individual. As a result a large swathe of society’s communal space is only accessible to those who remain independent.
The Israelites, rather like us, stumble from one crisis to another. No sooner has God intervened on their behalf, than they find themselves moaning about the lack of future provision. Their moaning, like ours, is always the precursor to despair. They are unable to find how they might sustain themselves, and have as yet failed to discern that God, who delivered them from the hands of Pharaoh’s army, is capable of sustaining them through every wilderness they wander into.
This, I think, is the major struggle for us all. Is it really possible to live my life wholly convinced and then dependent upon God’s ability to care for me? Declarations of conviction can roll off the tongue easily enough and are supported by innumerable scriptures. Yet, I feel more comfortable when I take responsibility for myself and look to God for assurances to run alongside my own independent stewardship. In honesty I hope I can entirely trust God, while in practice I find it difficult to place all my confidence in God’s provision.
I also have to distinguish between my choices and God’s provision. As with Israel, manna and quail may not have been their menu preference. But it is a provision and God’s choice for the season they find themselves in. On every walk of faith, there is the need to acknowledge personal dependency on God and the courage to test this dependency.
QUESTION: What does it mean for you to ‘live by faith’?
PRAYER: Father, they called you ‘Jehovah Jireh’, the God who provides; help me to see that in you too.