Recognizing Need

Read: Exodus 16

The people of Israel ate the manna forty years . . . till they came to the border of the land of Canaan. (v. 35)

It seems that when the God of the universe wants to shape a people, he takes them to the desert, an uninhabitable land. There, everything else they lean on, trust in, and are familiar with is stripped away. The human condition—the proclivity to forget what God has just done, to grumble, to want what you don’t have and decide what you do have isn’t all that great—becomes awkwardly apparent.

The people of Israel arrived at this point on their journey out of slavery very quickly—the 15th day of the second month of freedom, to be precise (v. 1). The brutal reality of forced labor and poverty of spirit were seemingly forgotten, memories of hardship traded for illusions of plenty: “we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full,” and then, the stunning accusation, “you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger” (v. 3).

What? So, now, rather than rescuer, God is persecutor?

But he would provide again, manna and quail, and Scripture is clear that in these provisions, God was also testing hearts for grumbling or gratitude. In order to become the people God envisions, a kingdom of priests, they would need to come face-to-face with their own neediness and learn to trust God in the desert, as will we. —Amy Clemens

As you pray, express gratitude to God for your own desert testing and shaping.

About the Author

amy clemens

With a bachelors in journalism from Texas Tech University and a masters from Western Theological Seminary, Amy Clemens enjoys all things writing, particularly about the life of faith. She is blessed with a family that includes husband Fred, five children, and five grandchildren.

Amy has just published her first book, "Walking When You'd Rather Fly: Meditations on Faith After the Fall," which weaves her journey from childhood abuse toward healing and spiritual growth with a practical theology for the big story of God. You can find out more about the book and author at walkingwhenyoudratherfly.com.