Bread – Plenty

June 18, 2014


Readings for Wednesday, June 18, 2014, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Num. 11:24-35; Rom. 1:28-2:11; Matt. 18:1-9; Psalms 81,82,119:97-120

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There is an episode in Israel’s journey through the wilderness toward Canaan which is described in today’s readings from Numbers. With my translation of the measurements into English measures, the reading is, in part, as follows:

Then a wind came up, and it brought quail from the sea and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and a day’s journey on the other side, around the camp, and about [six feet] high. And the people rose all that day and night and all the next day, [36 straight hours] and gathered the quail. Those who gathered at least gathered [60 bushels]….and the Lord struck down the people with a very great plague…” Num. 11:31-33

There is a tendency among us to horde, to gather up and store not only enough to be plentiful, but enough to be truly independent. And yet God tells us to ask Him for “our daily bread,” recognizing that we are truly dependent upon Him and not ourselves. Without this dependence, we make idols of our stuff, the means to obtain our stuff, or ourselves.

In Numbers today, God teaches us an object lesson. When God provides plenty, pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered.

What should the Israelites have done? How much quail can one person eat in a couple of days? Surely not 60 bushels. Then why pick them all up?

God overwhelms us with riches beyond our dreams. Do we take them all and put them in our storehouses? Or do we take what we need for the day, leaving it in God’s hands to provide for tomorrow?

This is not an e-mail urging you to not plan for tomorrow, because that would be dishonoring to God as well. What it does mean is that, if you have been blessed with plenty, remember Israel and the wilderness and don’t gather all 60 bushels of quail.

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© 2014 GBF

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