Posted by: rcottrill | September 27, 2017

Day by Day the Manna Fell

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Words: Josiah Conder (b. Sept. 17, 1789; d. Dec. 27, 1855)
Music: Munus, by John Baptiste Calkin (b. Mar. 16, 1827; d. May 15, 1905)

Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Josiah Conder, as a child, was one of the early recipients of a smallpox inoculation. But something went wrong, and from the subsequent infection he lost the sight of one eye. Nevertheless, in adulthood he became a newspaper editor and wrote books on a variety of subjects, including six volumes of poetry and hymns. Few of his hymns are known today, but many were sung through the nineteenth century.

There are some things we can store up for future use. We do that with money deposited in the bank. We do it with food kept in a fridge or freezer. But there are other necessary things that cannot be stored long. The air we breathe is a prime example.

When diving into a pool or a lake, we take a deep breath and are able to stay under the water for thirty seconds or a little more. But we cannot take enough breaths today to provide all the air we need for tomorrow. If we breathe about sixteen times per minute, that will mean more than 23,000 breaths for today–and we’ll need another 23,000 tomorrow.

In the Bible there’s an example of daily supply that is quite instructive. When the Israelites were delivered from slavery in Egypt, they traveled into a wilderness area which lacked enough food to feed them all. To meet the need, the Lord provided manna. He said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day” (Exod. 16:4).

The next day, “when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground….And Moses said to them, ‘This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat’” (Exod. 16:14-15). Attempts to identify this as some naturally occurring substance have failed. There were supernatural aspects of heaven’s food which preclude that.

The manna fell every day of the week but the Sabbath (Saturday), and fed Israel for about forty years–so it must have been nutritious. They gathered it, baked it, boiled it, and formed it into cakes (Num. 11:8), so it seems to have served as a kind of flour. Then, as soon as the people were in Canaan, the land God had promised them, and were able to eat the fruit of the land there, the provision of manna abruptly ceased (Josh. 5:12).

Why did Lord do it as He did, providing a day by day gift of food? Why not supply a week’s worth, or a month’s worth at a time? It was to remind the people to continue looking to Him in faith, and continue obeying His word (Deut. 8:2-3). And the thought of a daily provision for Israel in the wilderness carries over into the New Testament, becoming a request in the Lord’s Prayer. “Give us this day [or, day by day] our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11). We’re to look to the Lord to meet our daily needs.

This is equally true in the spiritual realm. Daily grace for daily needs. Of times of persecution, Paul writes, “We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair….Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day” (II Cor. 4:8, 16).

Josiah Conder wrote a hymn about how the Lord is able to meet our needs day by day. Here is part of his hymn:

CH-1) Day by day the manna fell;
O to learn this lesson well!
Still by constant mercy fed,
Give me Lord, my daily bread.

CH-2) “Day by day,” the promise reads,
Daily strength for daily needs;
Cast foreboding fears away;
Take the manna of today.

CH-5) Fond ambition, whisper not;
Happy is my humble lot.
Anxious, busy cares away;
I’m provided for today.

CH-6) Oh, to live exempt from care
By the energy of prayer:
Strong in faith, with mind subdued,
Yet elate with gratitude!

1) What personal need do you pray for on a regular basis?

2) How did the Lord provide what was needed yesterday (or over the past week)?

Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal


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