The very first time that God asks man a question is found in Genesis 3:9. Genesis 3:9 reads But the Lord God called to the man “Where are you?”
The reason the Genesis question is so notable and beautiful is because this question is regarding the broken fellowship that has occurred between God and humanity. This question occurred immediately after the fall when Adam and Eve chose to take a different route apart from the path God had chosen for them. Adam and Eve decided to separate themselves from the Lord.
It wasn’t just a physical distance that had occurred, but a spiritual one. Their sin had distanced them from God, and God in His mercy and intense love for Adam and Eve called out “Where are you?”
This question in Genesis is a question that confirms that God wants fellowship with us. God loves us, He cares about us, and He wants to know where we are. Yeshua reiterated an identical question to His disciples in Matthew 18:12 which states:
“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost?
If you are far from God, He is asking the question “Where are you?”
The New Testament is filled with rich, enigmatic stories that can only be properly understood if kept in their cultural context. John 1 contains one such story.
After Yeshua called Philip to follow Him, Philip immediately became a fisher of men himself and went to share the news of the Messiah’s coming with Nathanael. When Yeshua saw Nathanael approaching, He said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” Nathanael’s response was one of surprise. He realized that Yeshua had an intimate knowledge of who he was. Yeshua saw beyond his exterior; Yeshua read his heart.
“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.
Yeshua answered Nathanael with these words:
“I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”
This verse may lead one to believe that Nathanael was doing something very secretive underneath that tree. Something he didn’t want anyone to know anything about. However, this isn’t the case at all!
If one dives into the Hebrew roots and culture of that time and understands this passage from a Jewish perspective, John 1:48 makes beautiful and perfect sense.
In those days, it was customary for rabbinical students to pray under the fig tree. Those studying the law under the fig trees were taught to pray while they were under the tree. They were also taught to pray for the coming of the Messiah because the rabbis believed that if one hadn’t prayed for the coming of the Messiah under the fig tree, one hadn’t prayed at all.
Nathanael knew that Yeshua was Who had been praying for under that tree.
I recently read an NPR article titled Secrets of the Very Old and Healthy. To summarize the NPR article – the secret to longevity to simply being active. Scientists have figured out that aging gracefully has a lot to do with staying active. I believe that being active is one key to long life, but the Bible gives us even more powerful tools for longevity.
In the Book of Exodus 16, we see the first instance of God providing food for the Israelites – manna to be exact. There are several lessons that I’ve learned about this particular chapter.
The first lesson in the manna is that we MUST trust God for our daily provision.
When God first provided the manna, the Lord gave specific instructions to gather what they needed for the day. Of course, not everyone listened to God’s instruction. Some people gathered enough for two days. The people who gathered for two days discovered that their manna had maggots in it. They couldn’t eat it. The lesson is that we have to trust God for our daily provision. When we try to provide for ourselves we fail – and by fail, I mean that we cannot rise to the competence of what God can provide for us when we trust in Him. We have what we need when we allow God to provide for us.
Only God can provide for us physically and spiritually. When a person tries to provide themselves with what they think they need spiritually – it’s called religion. Religion can do very little for a person’s soul. It’s far better to be spiritual than religious. Only the Holy Spirit can provide the spiritual abundance we need to sustain and strengthen us.
The second lesson in the manna is that what God graciously gives, we must industriously gather.
God provides, but we must do our part too. We can’t sit idly by and do nothing. Faith without works is dead. We are co-laborers with Christ. We have a role to play, and it’s easy to become unbalanced – some people rely on themselves completely and have lots of work without faith – and others have faith and no works. You have to trust God completely and solely, but God expects you to do your part. We must pray, seek His Face, listen to His voice, walk in obedience and love, and make good decisions. God expects us to choose blessings and life. God provides everything we need to live a godly life, and He has equipped us for the work that He’s called us to do, however, let’s not forget that we have a role that we must fulfill. As God provides, we must be industrious in using what He has provided.
The third lesson in the manna is that when you honor God’s Word, He provides everything you need for the following day.
God told the people to gather twice as much on the sixth day so that they could rest on the seventh. Once the Sabbath day arrived, some people went out into the fields expecting to find manna to gather. But, there was no manna. However, because of God’s instructions to gather twice as much on day six, the people still had provision. The Israelites were learning that God prepares a person for their future when they are obedient to Him and listen to His instructions. The Matthew Henry’s Commentary says this; none are ever losers by serving God.
The final lesson in Exodus 16, is that Christ, Himself is the True Manna.
Yeshua calls Himself the Bread of Life, and indeed, He is. Manna sustained the Israelites for many years, and they had all the nourishment that they needed. If you’ve ever studied nutrition, then you know that the body needs many vitamins and minerals to function. Whenever there is any deficiency of any kind, illness and sickness creep in. A deficiency in any vitamin or mineral will cause symptoms. For example, if you’re feeling fatigued you might be lacking vitamin D; or if you’re cold all the time, there might be an iron deficiency. However, the Israelites were healthy and strong – Scripture says there was none feeble among them. The manna had everything they needed to stay strong and healthy – and so it is with Christ – He is everything we need! Everything we need is in Yeshua – He is the Bread of Life, the True Manna.