When Good Things End
Joshua 5:10-12 (ESV)—While the people of Israel were encamped at Gilgal, they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month in the evening on the plains of Jericho. And the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. And the manna ceased the day after they ate of the produce of the land. And there was no longer manna for the people of Israel, but they ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.
As easy as that it slips away.
That which God had provided for 40 years, sustaining his children day after day, week after week, year after year—was now relegated to history.
A generation earlier, the wandering mass cried out in desperation from the barren desert, "...Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” (Exodus 16:3 ESV)
Then, in a foretaste of His ultimate provision of bread from heaven that would truly satisfy, God responded: “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not..." (Exodus 16:4 ESV)
Astounding. "I am about to rain bread from heaven..."
40 years of God's faithful provision. The goodness of God laid out on the desert floor each morning. His gift of mercy renewed each dawn. Sustaining his wayward children for the journey.
Then one day. Finished.
What happens when good things end? When the gifts cease?
I've grasped at these good things from God. Those provisions God gave for the journey became so precious to me that when they ceased I was unwilling to let them go.
God provides what is needed for the season. And what he provides today may not always be required for tomorrow's pathway. Yet we can be assured that God will always supply us for the journey.
It is interesting that the manna ceased just following a national remembrance of the Passover, that feast symbolising their deliverance from slavery by God's own hand. God's faithfulness in bringing Israel out of Egypt and into the land He had promised was followed by ceasing the good gift of sustaining desert bread.
God's chosen people were now in the land of promise, the land flowing with milk and honey. To continue with manna when the rich produce of the land lay on their table was to spurn the new season God had brought them into.
And so it is for us.
God's sustaining gifts to us are wonderful, but not ultimate.
Look to the giver of the gift, not the gift itself. Sometimes God provides just for a season. Yet even then, know that when that season ends, God will remain your sustaining provider.
There has only been one gift that will sustain you for eternity:
John 6:47-51 (ESV)—Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”—Jesus
Look to the bread of heaven. He will never fail you. Good things will come and go, even things God mercifully provides in the deserts we wander. But these good gifts will one day fade away in the glorious light of Jesus.
To the praise of His glory.