Listen to audio above while reading full transcript below (available for download at www.biblestudyministriesinc.com) ….
As we come to look in God’s word I remind my heart and yours that there is a principle of Bible study that we can’t live without, and that’s total reliance on God’s Holy Spirit. It’s His book, He wrote it, and only God can glorify God and only God can reveal God. So, we’ve got to trust Him to teach us. He’s the Teacher. Before we pray together I want to share this verse from Hosea 14;8, part of a verse, “It is I who answer and look after you. I am like a luxurious cypress. From Me comes your fruit.” The Lord reminds us, “I’m watching out for you and looking after you; from Me comes your fruit. You don’t get it any other way.” With that in mind let’s bow together and commit our session to the Lord.
Father, thank You again that You’ve gathered us together, and we do trust the Holy Spirit that lives in our heart to turn our eyes to Jesus in a fresh way. We thank You for every part of the Bible, and in a special way for the book of Exodus, as we meditate together. Take us beyond the sacred page, beyond the written word, and beyond the dead letter, and point us to Christ. We pray that Your manifestation of Yourself would set each one of us free in the way You would have us set free. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen
We’re looking at the third outworking of redemption; once you are saved by power and blood you can expect God to do these things in your life. The first one is the glory cloud. If you are saved by power and blood you can expect to be guided, and that’s illustrated by the glory cloud. Then, once you are delivered and have crossed the Red Sea, you can expect God to put a song in your heart, illustrated by the song of Moses and the dance of Miriam. Since Christ is our song, the relationship with Him must be maintained. You remember that they lost their song in three days because they took their eyes off the Lord. We’ll be guided no matter what, but you can lose your song if you take your eyes off the Lord.
Then we’ve been on this third principle pictured by the manna, the quail, and the water out of the rock, and that is that God is our Provider. I can expect to be provided for if I’m saved by power and by blood. God is determined to reveal to us that He is the One thing needful. Sometimes we say, “I have needs.” You don’t have needs. You only have one need, one thing is needful; we need the Lord. That’s the only thing needful. In our discussion of how God provides illustrated by the manna and the quail, and so on, the way He guided them then is the way we can expect He will guide us now. So, we look for principles. We look at the history, we take out the facts, and then we ask the Lord to show us the principle. Once you see the principle, there are unlimited applications. If you just try to apply the facts you’ll have one or two applications. It’s very important to get to the principle, and then there is an unlimited application.
So far, looking at this one picture—God is our Provider—we’ve looked at five principles of how He provides. Actually there are five more that we’re going to look at. Let me mentioned the five we’ve already discussed, and then we’ll get to our new material. The first is this, and we can always expect it, He’s faithful to provide our needs. Don’t misunderstand that. I’m not saying He’s going to provide your needs. I’m saying that you need needs, and He will provide needs. We need needs, and sometime we need tribulation, and sometimes we need trouble, and He is faithful to provide our needs. It’s bigger than providing rent and providing the mortgage money and filling the pantry, and filling the gas tank and paying the bills. What we need are opportunities to trust Him. Nobody will trust the Lord unless He must. We always must. We don’t always know that we must, so He will provide the opportunities that we might trust Him. That’s the first principle.
The second principle, we notice that when He provided it was when they were grumbling, and when they were griping. They had in their hearts this attitude of not being thankful and being discontent, and He had to bring it to the surface so that it could be dealt with. While they were grumbling and while they were griping, He said, “I will rain bread from heaven on them.” The principle is that it’s all by grace. They were not only undeserving, but they deserved the opposite. They were ill-deserving. I am not only undeserving; I am ill-deserving. Will God provide for gripers like we are? The answer is yes; because of His grace and mercy. That’s another principle.
Then the third principle we looked at; He provides in such a way that He allows us to taste the futility of what is not Christ. Remember in Exodus 15:22-27 He gave four water stories, all piggy back, one right after another. First there was no water; then there was bitter water; then there was sweet water; then there was well water. In every case—no water, bitter water, sweet water well water—that’s not Jesus. We didn’t yet come to the rock where the water flows out. So, we call those “cisterns that can hold no water”. There are many people who try to find cisterns that hold no water. Everything God does is to crowd me to Jesus. So, sometimes He lets us be empty, so that we will be crowded to Christ.
Then they began to look by sight, and they saw this body of water, and they got all excited because they are moving by sight, but then they found it very bitter. I’ve seen young lovers who go by sight, “This is the perfect guy or woman,” and then when they get connected they find it to be pretty bitter. It’s marah. God allows that, because He wants us to go to Christ the food of life, Christ the drink of life, the water of life, the bread of life. He allows those things.
Then there was the water that was made sweet. Remember he threw the tree in. The whole idea that there is restoration is a wonderful thing; He restores my soul. I’ve run the Lord, and He’s restored my soul, and I can’t thank Him enough. Restoration is wonderful, but it’s not Jesus. I want to see the Prodigal in the arms of the father, but not forever. There’s a party to be had; there’s singing and dancing and the fatted calf and the ring and the robe, and a lot of people say, “God brought me back and I’m so thankful. I’m restored.” Move on into life. He’s come to give us Life. So, sometimes He restores us but that restoration is not Christ. Verse 27, “They came to Elim where there were twelve springs of water, and seventy date palms, and they camped there besides the water.” Remember that Elim was an oasis in the desert. The principle is that they came to the place of blessing. Blessing is not Christ, and sometimes Christ dumps blessing on us, and if we look to the blessing, guess what happens, the cloud moves. They must have been so discouraged to see that cloud move. “Lord we’ve finally come to an oasis. How about letting us stay here a while.” God says, “No, that not Christ. Let’s move on.” So, they went back and camped by the Red Sea. He shows us cisterns that are not Christ.
We looked at principles four and five, and I’ll just mention those. Remember Deuteronomy 8:3, “He humbled you, and let you be hungry. He fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.” They were in the desert and they didn’t have ordinary means of provision. They don’t have the orchards and vineyards, but they have the word of the living God. The principle is this; when ordinary means fail, God is not in bondage to ordinary means, so He rains down manna from heaven. So, if your ordinary means fail, God is not bound to that. He can and will provide, and He just illustrated that. If you don’t listen to the Lord, like in Jonah’s case, He’ll speak to the wind, or the storm, or the worm, or to the sun. He’s got many means and He’s not in bondage to ordinary means.
Finally, we looked at the last principle; God’s provision is supernaturally natural. Here’s what we mean by that. It’s not a question it’s supernatural. I don’t know of one miracle with more miracles crowded into that one miracle; this is like a cluster of grapes in one miracle. It lasted forty years. That’s a miracle; every day for forty years. Then worms would come if they kept if over, but not every day; just Sunday through Friday. That’s a miracle! Then on Friday they had a double supply that didn’t turn to worms. That’s a miracle! Then there was no manna. It rained every day manna but not on Saturday, the Sabbath. And then the manna suddenly came to stop, when they ate of the land of Canaan. That’s supernatural. Then they put manna in a jar and kept it for generations, and nothing turned to worms. I see all these miracles, but I say it’s supernaturally natural. For forty years God provided, raining down and raining down, and then they came to Canaan, and then all of a sudden they’ve got to plow, plant, and go to the orchard, and now it’s natural; it’s coming from the earth. It’s still God and He’s still the Provider, but sometimes we miss Him when He does it naturally. We gave the illustration last time of the plant that if it came up all at once, you’d be applauding. You drive by an orchard you don’t even think about it because it’s stretched out over time, but it’s the same Lord. His provision is supernaturally natural.
In chapter 8:9 of Deuteronomy, “I’m going to bring you to a land where you will eat food without scarcity, in which you will not lack anything; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper.” It’s still God’s provision, but now go get your shovel. He provides it but it’s in the hills. You’ve got to dig it out. Psalms 104:27-28, talking about the creation, the creatures and the birds and the animals, “They all wait for You to give them their food in due season. You give to them, they gather it up; You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good.” I love that expression, “You give, and they gather.” He doesn’t drop a nut in the squirrel’s mouth. He doesn’t drop a worm in the bird’s nest. They have to go out and gather, but it’s still Him. The provision is supernatural; it’s a miracle. But when He does it naturally, may God help us to take our eyes off the provision and keep our eyes on the Provider. It’s still the Lord. And after a forty hour week and you are sweaty and tired, bow your head and say, “Thank You, Lord, You provided.”
I have five more principles to share, still illustrated by the manna and the quail. I’d like to take four of them, and then the fifth principle we’ll begin next week and that will take us to Christ, the living rock who is the bread of Life and the water of Life. The way we get these principles is that I look for the facts and then I ask the Lord, “What does that illustrate, and what can I expect? You are their provider, and you are my Provider. I should be able to expect the same thing.” This unveils His heart.
The sixth principle is illustrated by the fact that they had to go out every morning and gather manna. Exodus 16:14, “When the layer of dew evaporated, behold, on the surface of the wilderness there was a fine flake-like thing, fine as the frost on the ground.” Verse 21, “They gathered it morning by morning, every man as much as he should eat; but when the sun grew hot, it would melt.” Many have taken that and there are different principles. Some say that what is illustrated here is, “Rise early and seek the Lord the first thing of the day. That’s what they did. Every day they had to go out early and seek the Lord, so start the day with the Lord.” That’s good advice.
Another one emphasizes “every day”, and not only rise early and seek the Lord, but do it every day, make it a habit, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday etc. Others emphasize that it’s always there. The Lord will provide and it’s always there. Exodus 16:21, “They gathered it morning by morning, every man as much as he could eat. When the sun grew hot it would melt.” I read one commentator, and I don’t incline to this position. It’ seems like lately I live to disagree with commentators. He said to notice that it melts by noon. “If you fail to have a quiet time in the morning, your day is going to go bad.” That’s how he looked at it, “You’ve got to get up every day, and if you miss it, by noon it’s gone, so you’ve missed it for the whole day.” I’m not saying any of those things are wrong and it’s good advice, but I’ve found a principle illustrated by going out every day that touched my heart in a slightly different way. I can summarize it in four words, and the four words are these, “don’t worry about tomorrow.” Do you see how that is illustrate there? Go out today and don’t worry about tomorrow.
It’s the same truth our Lord shared in the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 6:30, “If God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” Matthew 6:11, “Give us this day our daily bread.” I don’t use the words, but sometimes I think my heart prayed, “Lord, give us this day my weekly bread; give us this day my monthly bread.” We like to think about the future, and so on. I think the principle taught here is to not worry about tomorrow. Matthew 6:25, “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”
Notice that argument, “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” How is that a reason to dismiss anxiety from my heart. I think it’s easy to answer; who made the body? Well, you say that the Lord made the body, of course. Man didn’t make the body. The Lord made the body and He’s the author of the body and the author of life. The principle is that the lesser is included in the greater. If He gave you life and your body, don’t you think He’ll take care of it? You don’t have to worry about that. He’s the author of it, and the lesser is included in the greater. So, don’t worry about tomorrow because your body is more than clothing, and life is greater. It’s sort of like Romans 8:32 where He says, “He who has given His own Son, and with Him will freely give us all things.” Of course, you’ve got to understand the “with Him”. Someone says, “He gave me the greatest gift and gave me Christ, and now I can ask for anything. I want my pink Cadillac.” No, no; what He gives is with Him. If it goes contrary to Him you aren’t going to get it. With Him He freely gives us all things.
The logic is, if He loved you enough to give His Son, is He going to withhold anything from you? There will be no unsupplied want in your life or in my life. There will be no sorrow in your life that is unsanctified, because He’s going to take care of that. If something is denied you’ll end up praising Him that it was denied. If any door is closed, you didn’t want to go through that door anyway. We need to understand that.
Matthew gives a couple of reasons why we shouldn’t worry. The first is that it’s not necessary, and that’s because of Matthew 6:26, “Look at the birds in the air. They don’t sow nor reap or gather in the barns. Your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” Verse 32, “Gentiles eagerly seek these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” I’m not going to get into whether we should ask for physical things, but I’ll tell you this; it’s not necessary. If you need it, you’ll have it. If you don’t have it, you don’t need it. Your heavenly Father is watching over you and taking care of you.
The second reason He gives for not being anxious is that it won’t help. Matthew 6:27, “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” Matthew 6:34, “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Somebody one time asked, “Why are you pacing and walking back and forth?” He said, “Well, it’s like a rocking chair. You don’t get any place but it gives you something to do.” We worry just because it gives us something to do. You don’t need to worry and it’s not going to help. Tomorrow’s problems that you are worrying about today might not even come. In fact, tomorrow might not come. Psalm 31:15, “My times are in Your hand.” May God teach us that!
If that’s true that I don’t have to worry about tomorrow, then just extend it. Do I have to worry about the next couple of years because there might be ungodly people ruling? I don’t have to worry about anything. God provided a daily provision of manna, and He arranged it so they didn’t have to worry about the coming day. He’s teaching them to trust His faithfulness. He’s there today and I promise, or He promises you, you don’t need my promise, He’ll be there tomorrow. He’ll be there every tomorrow, no matter how many tomorrows come. I don’t have to worry about tomorrow or next week or next year or retirement or old age or failing health. I just live right now in union with Christ. Let me close that section with Lamentations 3:22, “The Lord’s lovingkindness indeed never ceases. His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him.’”
That brings us to the seventh principle of guidance, and I’ll state it in these words and then break it apart and tell you why I worded it that way. His faithful provision is designed to lead the obedient heart into rest. I call attention to that because there were two commands given. They weren’t obeyed but they were given. One is Exodus 16:19-20, “Moses said to them, ‘Let no man leave any of it until morning.’ But they did not listen to Moses, and some left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and became foul; and Moses was angry with them.” The first command was “don’t keep it overnight or it will breed worms”. The second command is Exodus 16:22, “Now on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one.” Verses 27-29, “It came about on the seventh day that some of the people went out to gather, but they found none. Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My instructions? See, the Lord has given you the Sabbath’ therefore He gives you bread for two days on the sixth day. Remain every man in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.”
The commands were simple; don’t keep it overnight and don’t try to gather it on Saturday because it won’t be there. God wanted to faithfully provide, but He gave them commands, and He’s not saying, “If you don’t obey I won’t provide.” Obedience is not a condition of God’s provision. That’s not the point here. The point is, if you walk in New Covenant obedience it leads to rest. That’s why we have this about the Sabbath. Some people were not obedient, in verse 20, and it bred worms and became foul. Moses was angry with them. They tried to store up God’s provision, even though the word was clear; don’t keep it overnight. They hadn’t learned at that point that the Lord was their portion; the Lord Himself. This is all pictures. They began to look to the provision rather than the Provider. When you look to the provision we need to see the principle involved, but it turns to worms. Every time I look to the provision instead of the Provider the provision will turn to worms. It’s like Matthew 6, “No man can serve two masters. He’ll love one and hate the other, or he’ll serve the one and despise the other. You can’t serve God and mammon.”
What are we to understand by that graphic picture, “It bred worms.”? I think for them it was literal and it really happened. It got maggots and however that was; they ended up with worms. But it’s also a principle. Let me share that principle by quoting a couple of other scriptures. Proverbs 28:19, “He who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty.” I want you to notice what it doesn’t say. It doesn’t say “plenty of poverty”. It says “poverty in plenty”. You have plenty, but there’s poverty in it. There’s worms in it. It’s not like you don’t have it. You have it, but it doesn’t satisfy. Haggai 1:5-6, “Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Consider your ways! You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes.” All of us have experienced in our own lives these things. We have a great harvest, but it doesn’t satisfy. When I’m cold I put on a coat, a blanket, and a fire, and I’m still cold. He’s illustrating the truth. I’ve got a good job and I have money, but it looks like I have a bag with holes in it. It keeps going away.
Amos 8:11, “’Behold, days are coming,’ declares the Lord God, ‘When I will send a famine on the land. Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, but rather for hearing the words of the Lord.’” It’s a famine of satisfaction. You see it every time you look at Hollywood. They’ve got mansions and go on cruises and have their fancy cars, but it’s full of worms. They are not satisfied, because the heart needs the Lord. That’s all that satisfies. We need Him. You can have all this stuff. I don’t have to look to Hollywood or Washington to get this principle. I’ve got to look in the mirror and get this principle because every time I look to provision it turns to worms. It doesn’t satisfy and it can’t satisfy. We need to walk in living union with the Lord or everything will be vanity, vanity and vexation of spirit.
So, His faithful provision is designed for those who obey the Lord to lead them to rest. Now, they take that second part. I told you there are two commands. One is that it’ll turn to worms and don’t keep it overnight. Here is this gather double on Friday, and don’t gather on Saturday. Let me point out that we’ve not yet come to Mount Sinai. The reason I point that out is because we think about the fourth commandment, the Sabbath Day. This is before that. This was not given as a commandment. In fact, when you think about the Sabbath Day, that’s God’s eternal idea. That didn’t begin at Sinai, and it didn’t begin with manna. When God created; remember six days God rested. Rest is God’s eternal idea. It’s a great principle. In Exodus 16:23, “Then he said to them, ‘This is what the Lord meant; tomorrow is a Sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field.’” Exodus 16: 25, “Moses said, ‘Eat it today, for today is a Sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field.’”
All of that is fact. Let me try to bring you principles, because what we’ve come for is to see Christ. We want life. We don’t just want to study how they do it and what they gathered. The principle is this; we read in verse 27 & 28, “The Lord said to Moses, ‘How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My instructions?’” And then in verses 26-27, “Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none.” Remember that we’re discussing provision. How does God provide? Here is what I’m saying. Now I’m going to apply it. God provides every day, we don’t worry about tomorrow, but there is coming in your life and mine a day when He doesn’t provide. On that day He didn’t provide, “I will not rain manna from heaven.” There’s a day when He doesn’t provide, and what am I supposed to do? Rest; that’s why He puts the Sabbath there. “In the day when I don’t provide I want you to learn to rest.” That’s what He’s saying.
We can take this seven as a week, or as God’s number. It can be seven days or seven months or seven years or seven decades. The point is, we get used to a routine; every day God does it this way, and we get used to that. There comes a day when God changes the routine to teach you to rest. You go out and look around and you say, “Where is God. He’s not there and He’s not providing.” And then God reminds you that before you got to that day He had already made provision. He makes provision for the day He doesn’t provide. Are you following what I’m saying? God provides in advance. Someday something is going to come into your life and you are going to say, “Where is God?” And God says, “I’ve prepared you for this. I’ve already instilled in your heart what you are going to need in the day that I don’t provide.” What am I supposed to do? Rest; Sabbath rest. That’s what I think is illustrated here. I can always expect that the obedient heart will be led to rest. When He provides, when He doesn’t provide, I still have the Sabbath rest. When we get to Sinai He’ll enlarge on the Sabbath and we’ll learn a little more from rest to worship, and so on. Just obey the Lord and walk in union with the Lord, and trust His faithfulness, and when you come to that day when He doesn’t rain manna from heaven, He’s already made provision in your heart, and you’ll be able to get through that day in rest. That’s what He’s talking about here. When that day comes and He doesn’t provide don’t get anxious, if that job fails or your health fails or unforeseen bills come in, or unexpected responsibilities or whatever, the Lord will be there and you might say, “How in the world am I going to deal with this unbearable loss?” He’s already made provision. You didn’t expect Him not to provide, and you went out looking for it; that’s disobedience. Don’t do that. If He doesn’t provide, just rest. May God help us learn that!
Let me give another principle connected with verse 4. The Lord said, “Behold, I’ll 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 or not they’ll walk in My instruction.” Verse 16-18, “This is what the Lord has commanded, ‘Gather of it every man as much as he should eat; you shall take an omer a piece according to the number of persons each of you has in his tent.’ The sons of Israel did so, and some gathered much and some little. When they measured it with an omer, he who had gathered much had no excess, and he who had gathered little had no lack; every man gathered as much as he should eat.”
I need to keep reminding myself and you that these are pictures; they are great spiritual realities illustrated by these pictures. God said that everybody was going to end up with an omer. That’s about three quarts according to the commentaries. That’s not the important thing. The important thing I want you to see is that your provision is measured, carefully measured by the Lord. Listen again to verse 18, “When they measured it with an omer, he who gathered much had no excess, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man gathered as much as he should eat.” Everyone ended up with the same. What I want you to picture is that it’s all measured and they ended up with the same. We’re going to tweak that a little, but the point is you have Christ, if manna is a picture of provision, and I have Christ, and we’re going to end up with the same.
I want you to try to picture two and a half million people going out every day and the command is that everyone is going to end up with an omer. I don’t imagine the young children could gather as much as the older people, and maybe there are some elderly people, and I don’t know if some couldn’t even get out there, and so on. I don’t know how you picture it, but if you think that two and half million people, that everyone had an omer vessel, and so they filled their little vessel, they didn’t have an omer vessel. Each one was to gather what he could gather. Some gathered little and some gathered a lot. God just commanded them to gather. I think it’s important that He didn’t say, “You all have an order of authority. I want the elders in the family of the tribes, and the father’s go out and gather and bring it to your children. He didn’t say that. It wasn’t the elders that were sent out. It was people; everyday people, and they all went out; the young, the old, the children, and everybody went out.
Galatians 3:28-29, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs.” As I said, they didn’t have omer pitchers and vessels. They all went out and gathered; some gathered a little and some gathered a lot, and then they had a manna pile. They all took their manna and I don’t know if they did it with each tent or each tribe or what, but they had this big pile of manna. To their amazement when it was measured out, everybody ended up with an omer. That was the amazing thing; nothing left over. You had piles of manna and when they separated it, that’s how God provides.
So let me apply it a little. Praise God for our elders, for our leaders! Praise God that they provide manna for us, but some people are under the impression that it’s the pastor’s responsibility, it’s the elders’ responsibility to gather enough omers to feed the people, and it’s got to last a whole week. They gather it and then it lasts a week and then the elders have to go out and make sure they have more, so it will last a week. The reality is that everybody goes out. I need your Christ, you need my Christ, we all gather Christ; some gather a little, some gather a lot, and we put it into a big pile, and when it’s in the pile I can’t say, “You just took some of the manna I gathered.” You don’t know what’s in the pile; it’s just all Christ. It’s how God provides for the body; you see the Lord and I see the Lord and we gather every day and when it’s all over we all have enough, and we all have the same Christ. We all have the same Christ that is pictured by the omer; nobody has less and nobody has more, but we all have different capacities. So, you might have a glass, a someone else might have a cup, someone else might have a pail, and someone might have a bucket, someone might have a tank, and I might have a thimble, but my thimble is full, and your cup is full, and your glass is full. What we do is that we gather the manna, you share your Christ and I share my Christ, and whatever my capacity, everybody ends up full, and that’s what I think is being illustrated here; how we need to see these wonderful principles. It’s how God provided then, and it’s how God provides today.
We come to the ninth principle which is a little bit different. We’ve looked at the manifestation of God’s heart as a Provider in all of these principles. It’s all mercy; it’s all grace, that He would provide whatever needs that I need, that’s mercy. He’s not in bondage to provide a certain way, that is mercy. That He does it supernaturally natural, that’s all mercy. That He meets my capacity and fills me up, and uses every other person to help me, that’s mercy, but this next to the last principle in my understanding reveals the heart of the Provider more than all of those other principles. Now we’re going to look at the heart of the Provider. When I study the Bible I look for first time it’s mentioned, last time it’s mentioned, where it’s mentioned fully, and so on. This is the last time manna is mentioned in the Bible, and that becomes a summary and a clincher, and it drives home the revelation of His heart. I’m talking about Revelation 2:12-17. This is His message to the third church in Asia. Remember that He addressed seven churches. This is the church of Pergamum.
Let me give you the background again with Deuteronomy 8:3, “He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.” It’s the mouth of the Lord, what God says; that’s what satisfies. Having said that, when He addressed the church of Pergamum, when John had the vision of Christ in Revelations 1:16, “Out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.” The picture for Pergamum is “the one with the shining face who speaks; every word that proceeds out of His mouth, a sharp sword coming out of His mouth.” Revelation 2:12, “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write….The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this.” We’re talking about the word that comes from His mouth. I’m not teaching Revelation now, and I’m not teaching church of Pergamum, but I’ll call attention to verse 14-15. There were two groups that were teaching false things. One was the Nicolaitins and they were teaching false doctrine. The other was the teaching of Balaam. I’m not concerned now what those teachings are. It’s not the word of the Lord. That’s what we need to know. It’s not the word of the Lord. What He’s saying is, “Thus says the One who has the sharp sword, this is my word, you don’t have to listen to that false teaching or teachers. Here’s my word to you. Every word that comes out of My mouth…” Then in verse 17, addressing overcomers, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.” That’s the last mention of manna in your Bible, and you got three things; hidden manna, the white stone and a name that nobody knows but you.
The principle, brothers and sisters in Christ, is as simple as it appears complicated. The principle is that truth is a Person. If you look at truth as a Person, and not some academic thing, it’s always simple. The simplest number is one; God is One. There’s nothing simpler than God. You know how complex God is, but He’s One. It’s simple. The reality here is simple. What is hidden manna? Hidden manna is manna that’s hidden. Alright, for example, Matthew 11:25, “At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.’” Hidden manna is unrevealed manna. It’s manna that hasn’t been revealed; it’s still hidden. He’s going to reveal it to babes, but it’s manna that God has, special manna, and it’s not revealed yet.
What is the stone? I’m not going to get into all the commentators with the Urim and Thumin and white stone and all that stuff. The point is… When you see white in the Bible it’s always pure. You’ve got white hair, white horses, whiter than snow, and the great white throne is always the purity. But a white stone is just a gem. It’s precious. It’s a gem; it’s a pearl, a precious gem. Put it together. It’s the heart of God. I have a revelation that’s hidden, food, manna, and it’s hidden, and it’s precious, like a white stone. Then He says got a new name. I’m not talking about Fred and Sam and Marsha and Sharon and so on. I’ve got a new name and you aren’t going to get that name. What He’s saying is, “I’ve got a name for you that you haven’t seen before. I’ve got a precious revelation to feed your soul. It’s precious, and it’s for you and has your name on it.” When I study the word under the guidance of the Holy Spirit I might discover a new name. I’m a saint. I didn’t know that. That’s a new name for me. I might be reading and it says “prisoner of Christ”. That’s a new name. I didn’t know that. And I might read and, “He’s the Potter and I’m the clay.” I have a new name; clay. I didn’t know what it meant to be called “clay”. He showed me and said, “I’m the branch.” I never knew; that’s a new name for me. I’m the bride of Christ, I’m a prisoner of Christ, I’m a bond slave of Christ. These are all new names. He said, “If you will be an overcomer,” and the Bible defines overcomer as a believer; that’s it. If you believe, you are an overcomer. He said, “If you would just believe Me, I will give you a revelation, precious and tailor made for you, and nobody else knows the name. It’s just for you. That’s why I say this last revelation, last mention shows us God’s heart, because God is in heaven and He’s longing to unveil Himself. He wants us to know Him, so He says, “I have this very precious personal hidden manna. I want to unveil the manna and give you something so precious, and it’s got your name on it, and it’s for you and nobody else.” Nothing is more precious than that.
I hope God helps you not be anxious about tomorrow. I hope God teaches you to walk in simple obedience and be led into rest. If a day comes when He doesn’t provide, He’s already taken care of that in advance. He made provision for that day. No provision from Him, but He’s made provision for it. May God help us there! Then, don’t think you don’t have your omer. You have Christ in your heart. You don’t have more Christ than I have, and you don’t have less. Everybody has Christ. Come before the Lord and gather light, and let’s put it all in a pile, and then He’ll fill you and He’ll fill me and He’ll meet your capacity and He’ll meet mine. He wants to meet us. May God teach us what a Provider He is illustrated by these wonderful things!
Next week we finally arrive through all this provision stuff at Christ, the food and drink of life, the water that comes out of the rock. Let’s pray together.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word, not what we think it means, but all that You know it means. Work that in our heart. Lord, you’ve inspired it to mean what You want it to mean, so teach us that. Give us hidden manna, and show us how precious it is and give us a new name. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen