Manna, Meanies, Moses, & The Master of the Meal

In Exodus 16 the recently freed Israelites are beginning to complain. After a month and a half since their salvation from Egypt the wilderness rescue is becoming stale. Oh the glory of the day of darkness and the great rescue and baptism through the Red Sea were old news.

Image“we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full…you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger!” (Exodus 16:3)The Passover bread is gone and they come to Moses saying,

Predictably, the congregation blames the human leader. “Moses, get us bread, feed us, we are starving! Our pagan Egyptian masters were better than you!” We servants of God are easy targets and sometimes we forget to whom we are servants. Are we the congregation’s servant or God’s servant? We don’t live to serve the people what they order up, we serve The Lord and He says how, what, and, when we serve His people. It is easy to get rattled by the vocal riffraff. But hear the word of The Lord.

The very next verse Moses hears The Lord. That makes all the difference.Moses is then able to speak to the congregation reminding them of who is the true food dispenser.

“Your complaints are not against us but against The Lord.”  (Exodus 16:8)

Pastors, do not become hasty with the people, they have been fed from crock pots brimming with meat in the pagan world. Its a smorgasbord in the land of sin. Gluttony ran rampant in their previous walk. Now they are called to moderation and simplicity. Manna flakes doesn’t come in cool packaging and Super Bowl ads. The miraculous meal is basic, bland, and well, uncool, with a seriously short shelf life. Don’t think when they complain of the fare that they are complaining to the chef, for it is the supplier and their palette with which they are at odds. You are to be trustworthy in your job, but remember you job is not to rain manna, you just help them see where and how to gather. I know it is hard not to take it personally, but the one truly offended is the master and financier of the feast. Keep pointing the way, the desert air will eventually have them hunting either for the true sustenance from above or they will give up and return to their glutton-based life of sin. Friends, remember it is not the Pastor who you are to blame when you go away hungry on Sunday. We preachers declare where and when the manna will be, the manna given by God. Preachers direct you to the Living Bread. Our Father in Heaven provides it. Listen to the preacher for instructions, yes, lest you end up with a bunch of maggoty bread. But remember, you are fed by God and in the feeding I mean you are provided the opportunity to obtain it; it is your responsibility to gather and prepare at the appointed time.

The world offers up sin on a silver platter. Pastors, we offer an eternal life sustaining meal. Church, do not neglect the real food for a fancy dish of death. Pastors, offer the living bread broken for them. Help them see it and follow the instructions for life. Help them come to the table. Do not take umbrage if they walk away. Do not think you are the Master of the feast. Do not take credit. Remind them it is the Lord’s gift they are presented with. Don’t sugar coat it. And do willingly give it away to hungry sin saturated souls who are in need of real food for their sullen souls. God even gives to the complainers, which might even be you, oh pastor. Freely received, freely give.

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