We continue a sermon series at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church that follows the Hebrew people in their journey towards the promised land. We were thinking last week about how God led the people through the Red Sea and into the desert. Our sermon “Turn of the Tide” can be found here.
This week we discover that being in the desert presented its own unique set of problems. Not least of them was finding enough to eat and drink. Such was the scarcity of natural resources that some of the people began to complain against Moses that they would have been better off if they had never left Egypt.
In the model prayer that Jesus teaches His disciples, the Lord's Prayer, we find Him using the phrase “Give us this day our daily bread.” Some commentators point out that the intention behind the phrase “daily bread” is that we ask God to sufficiently supply our needs on a daily basis... not ask God to give us so much material blessing that we don't have to really on God to provide for us anymore!
This idea of “sufficiency” is not often stressed within our culture. We want to take care of ourselves and the idea of “dependence” is not one that we easily embrace. Yet when it comes to spiritual growth, the last thing we need to seek is the kind of independence which creates a gulf between our self and God. For spiritual growth we need to totally rely on God, upon the teaching of Jesus Christ, and the direction of the Holy Spirit. We also need to travel in the company of others to learn with them, and from them, how to be a community of faith.
As they traveled through the wilderness together, the faith of the Hebrew people was deeply challenged. Could God really supply what they needed every day of their life to get them through? Even in the desert? We read the story in Exodus 16:2-15 and discover how God provided... on a daily basis... meat and bread in the form of quails and manna.
When we travel through difficult days it can be tempting to complain, or even look for somebody to blame. None of us are immune from having a “fair weather only” faith. The sad reality is that disasters and tragedy are no respecter of persons or places but a troublesome part of the fabric of all of our lives.
When we face such times, so often, all we have left is a prayer to carry us through. When everything else is stripped away only then is our true reliance and dependence on God revealed. All of which is a way of saying... be thankful for the daily bread we have already received and let us pray that God will continue to supply what we need to face tomorrow... whatever tomorrow may bring!
For some music “Guide Me Oh Thy Great Redeemer” sung in English and Welsh to the tune 'Cwm Rhondda' by the choirs and congregation of Tabernacle Welsh Baptist Church, Cardiff. The hymn and tune are often called “Bread of Heaven” due to a line in the hymn. Often used as the informal anthem of Wales, and sung with great fervor at Welsh rugby matches, this was from the B.B.C. program “Songs of Praise” broadcast on 16th September 2012.
The Reverend Adrian J. Pratt B.D.