Give us this day our daily bread (Matt. 6:11)
Some of the best-known stories in the pages of the Bible are bread stories.
As Moses led the Hebrews out of Egypt and through the wilderness, God provided bread from heaven every morning. The people were to gather what they needed for that day. Trying to stockpile bread for tomorrow ended in rot and decay (Exodus 16:4).
Jesus replicated God’s gift of wilderness manna when he fed a multitude with a few loaves of bread and some fish. Gathered in a desolate place, thousands had more than they could eat (John 6:11-12). Later Jesus would say that he himself was the bread of life, the bread that comes from heaven and gives life to all people (John 6:35).
And then there’s Elijah and the widow discovering the daily deposit of oil and flour (1 Kings 17:14).
The wilderness manna, the oil and flour, the multitudes fed with fishes and loaves: we naturally regard these things as gifts from God, great blessings that speak of God’s love and grace. But in Deuteronomy 8 we learn that often God uses blessings to test us.
In his farewell address to the people of Israel, Moses recalled the story of God’s faithful provision, and he challenged the people with these words:
Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD (Deut. 8:2-3).
We associate testing almost entirely with pain. But God does not test us solely in trouble and affliction. Testing is not confined to the heartache we experience in loss and grief, in illness and death, in physical pain and mental distress. Such things test us, to be sure – but just as often God tests us in blessing.
The blessings and gifts reveal the posture of hearts as much as the suffering does.
When we wake up every morning and find fresh oil and flour, the miracle of daily bread on the ground, the test is this: will we love the oil and flour? Will we depend on bread? Or will we love the God who meet us daily with more grace and sustains us in wilderness places?
How has God met you with daily bread? How have you been blessed today – and what does the blessing show you about the affections of your heart and the object of your hope?
Prayer: Gracious God, your blessings often expose what’s in our hearts. As the Psalmist says, “You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” But somehow our trust is easily drawn away from you to whatever it is that your hand provides. We depend on the bread or the paycheck or the thing we possess. Today, O God, we give you thanks for your many gifts to us, asking for grace that sustains us in suffering and keeps us looking to you in blessing. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
One thought on “Tested in Blessing”
Great way to start my day!
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