In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD‘s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you…. When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread the LORD has given you to eat.
Exodus 16: 2-4,15
Bread from Heaven
The future—what lies ahead—is totally unknown to us and often wildly unpredictable. But that doesn’t stop us from having feelings about the future. How do you feel about your future?
In his book Enlightenment Now, cognitive scientist Steven Pinker finds that majorities in fourteen leading countries believe the world is getting worse rather than better. Pinker goes on to say, “This bleak assessment of the state of the world is wrong.” Using statistical insights, Pinker shows that people are living longer, healthier, and happier lives.
So why aren’t we more optimistic? Just because things are getting better, doesn’t mean they are good enough. Just because we have made improvements and advancements doesn’t mean we have achieved perfection.
For the Israelites, life was getting better than it had been. However, you would not know that from today’s Bible verses. Just one month earlier they were all slaves in Egypt. They seemed to think they spent their days in Egypt gorging themselves. They even went so far as to suggest it would have been better if they had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! But their recollection of those days was incorrect.
Selfishness is always easier to spot in someone else. Our own reactions to the troubles and frustrations of life are all too often just as selfish and sinful as the Israelites in these verses. The sinful nature of all mankind can be most ungrateful.
Certainly, God could shower us with blessings that make life in this world more pleasant. And he does! Our lives are already filled with comforts and conveniences that previous generations would never have imagined. But these can never truly satisfy us. We need something better. We long for the perfect life. Whether we realize it or not, we desire someone divine.
In John chapter 6, Jesus told people that the Bread of Life is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. His listeners longed for this bread. Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life.… Whoever comes to me will never go hungry and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. Whoever believes in me will have eternal life.”
Your life might not be everything you think it should be, but it is probably better than you realize. Give thanks to God for all the blessings from his hand. The Lord who loves you gave his one and only Son so that you might have life to the full. You can confidently say that the best is yet to come.
Heavenly Father, you know how quick I am to gripe and complain. Help me to see how you have opened your hand and given me many good things. Fill my heart with gratitude and appreciation for your many blessings, especially your Son Jesus Christ who lived, died, and rose again so that I might have eternal life. Amen.
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