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The Day the Manna Died

The Day the Manna Died

From the Stewardship Today Archives, March 2010

Following the Exodus, the Old Testament children of Israel wandered for forty years in the wilderness. During years and years of generational change, God fed them with quail and with manna. The fifth chapter of the Book of Joshua notes the day this era came to an official close. “While the Israelites were encamped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, they celebrated the Passover on the evening of the fourteenth of the month. On the day after the Passover they ate of the produce of the land in the form of unleavened cakes and parched grain. On that same day after the Passover on which they ate of the produce of the land, the manna ceased. No longer was there manna for the Israelites, who that year ate of the yield of the land of Canaan.”

The land of Canaan proved to be a fruitful region indeed, a “land flowing with milk and honey.” And the Israelites had labored to produce none of it. God provided. They ate bread made of grain from fields they hadn’t planted. They drank the wine of grapes from vineyards they hadn’t planted. They ate the fruit of trees they hadn’t planted. God provided. He sent them manna when they had no provision, then he directed them to a land with abundant provision. He provided.

Fresh bread, fruit, wine and more must have been welcome. After all, how many ways can you prepare manna? After forty years, it may have become less than exciting fare, though there’s no indication the Israelites complained much about the taste. Some did try to stock up, but there was no need. God sent a daily supply. Clearly, a new supply—both abundant and varied—superseded the old. It is how God addresses our needs. Our legitimate needs he promises to meet. So, with the disappearance of one solution or set of resources, another will surface. We may face great financial hurdles in our day, but the Lord is surely unfazed by the challenge. Perhaps certain resources on which we’ve long depended must disappear for us to discover the “lands we’ve yet to till.”

Stewardship Today is a monthly devotional newsletter designed to assist Catholics everywhere in developing a greater understanding of the role of stewardship in everyday life.
All we are, and all we possess, are gifts from God for our use and for the blessing of others. Through wise stewardship, we invest our time, our talents and our treasures to the glory of God.

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