If you’ve studied the Word a little bit, you know the story of the Israelites, Moses and Manna.
For a quick refresher of the story in Exodus, God had parted the Red Sea for Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. It had been around six weeks since this had happened and the Israelites were getting testy. Hangry is the word people would use to describe them today. They were hungry – famished – so much so that they even basically said “well, at least in Egypt we had ‘pots of meat’ and could eat all the bread we wanted. You’ve basically led us to the middle of nowhere to starve!”
Can you imagine? God just did this miraculous thing for them and they were considering that they should have stayed in Egypt?! He didn’t part the Target parking lot so you could park up in a coveted spot close to the door. That would be my version of modern-day miracle, just saying.
No, he parted a sea – A SEA – and the Israelites were thinking they should have stayed slaves?! Why? The knew what to expect, they were familiar with the ways of the Egyptians. They had adapted, become numb in certain ways, some I’m sure accepted that though they have been praying for this for hundreds of years, they might never be saved. They were thinking “we may be treated horribly, but at least our bellies are full.” And the unknown was and is scary. They didn’t know what to expect.
I know good and well what it means to hangry. I imagine myself becoming the Hulk (but with cute clothes) if I don’t get my 3 p.m. snack. I don’t transfer into the Hulk immediately at 3 p.m., much like the Israelites, I can handle being hungry for a bit. If I’m busy, I can push it off. Then 4 p.m. arrives and I know I need to reach behind me into my snack drawer and grab a granola bar or hit up the break room soon. But sometimes I get caught up with other things – emails, phone calls, getting magazines out of the door and out of my hair so I can focus on another one tapping my shoulder – and I forget. Some days, I’m rolling into my driveway at 6 p.m. and I am starving. I’m irritated and ready for a quick fix. I can picture a bunch of Israelites turning into angry jerks real easy ya’ll.
For the Israelites, this is where God stepped in.
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘I am going to rain bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. This way I will test them to see whether or not they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days,’” Exodus 16 says. “So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites: ‘This evening you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morning you will see the Lord’s glory because he has heard your complaints about him. For who are we that you complain about us?’ Moses continued, ‘The Lord will give you meat to eat this evening and all the bread you want in the morning, for he has heard the complaints that you are raising against him. Who are we? Your complaints are not against us but against the Lord.’”
The bread they were given daily was called Manna – “bread from the Heavens.” If they tried to keep extra, it would spoil. It was only good for the day and each day, Manna came down from the Heavens to nourish them. Only on the sixth day would there be enough for Sabbath.
So what does this story have to do with one of my favorite lipsticks? Last week, as I was layering a beautifully dark pink hue on my lips, I pulled the lipstick applicator away from me and noticed that the side of the container said Manna. It’s from Manna Kadar Cosmetics. I get a monthly bag of makeup samples and this is one that came in months ago for me to try. That day, the word Manna it just stood out to me … Manna. I remembered the story of the Israelites and how God gave them nourishment from the Heavens every day, even after they were ungrateful for his already miraculous works. He still gave them Manna – grace and mercy. It was new every morning. And it says in Scripture, God’s grace and mercy is new every morning still today. Every morning, we are made new. We get to start over. No matter how crummy I feel or how often I get agitated with God and question Him (because let’s be honest no matter how devout you are, we all go through trials that make us wonder what His plan is exactly) His love is faithful. His love for me is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. That goes for you too, ya know. Don’t snort-laugh at that. I mean it. He loves you, too. He’s never left me and He is not about to anytime soon. It’s not like he’s going to take up to a certain point and say “You know what? You got this. I got a chess game with Mother Teresa in an hour, I can’t be late.” He’s God. He can be with us, holding us as we cry out to him and still call out “check mate.”
The Israelites were hangry jerks and He still gave them Manna, which according to scripture resembled “white like coriander seed and tasting like wafers made with honey.” Think about it. When you doubt his love, remember he still loved the Israelites after they were ungrateful.
My thoughts of my lipstick didn’t stop there, I thought about how often we rush through our prayers (our very lifeline to Heaven) just to get to something else. How often do we read a few lines of scripture and then just go about a day not really letting the words setlle in our soul. When I put on that lipstick (and it’s a great color on me by the way) I get excited. I savor it. It completes my look and makes me feel put together even if I don’t feel so put together on the inside. What if we looked at our prayer life and time with the Word like that? What if really slowed down and took the time to really pray what is in our hearts? What if we savored every word in the Bible, like we do our favorite lipstick? We can slow down and sip our favorite tea, we can slow down enough to glance at ourselves in the mirror before we head out the door. But what about our spiritual life? Do you savor it, slow down and spend time with Jesus and the Word? Or do you catch yourself just rushing through just so you can get to bed or get on with your day? I only bring this up because I have caught myself several times, more than I want to admit, just pushing through my prayers so I can move onto the next thing.
I know Jesus understands me and what’s in my heart, He knows what I need in my life more than me but that doesn’t mean I should just brush him off. Say a few quick words and go on. No, I need to be excited about my time with Jesus. I need to savor it. When I slow down to spend time with Him, I’m nourishing myself with self-care at the same time I’m taking care of my spiritual needs, which is to have a wonderful relationship with Him.
With all that said, if you are one of those people who thinks you need to have every single word of the Bible memorized for the upcoming quiz later on. I am going to save you some anxiety. There is no quiz. No matter how much your fellow Christians make you pressure you, intended or not, you don’t know need to read the Bible, cover to cover, to feel God’s love for you. As someone who only know a handful of stories in the Bible, I can tell you that the right stories in the Bible have found me at the right time I needed to see them.
The right scripture has landed on my lap more than once since I rededicated myself to Him. His timing is perfect, so if you are intimated about reading the Word – just ask God to show you where to start. He is never late.
And like I said, he knows what I need before I do. So I encourage you, the next time you are in the Word, think about one little thing that excites you and try applying that feeling to the Word. It may take some practice but if we can get excited about a lipstick, we can surely get excited about God’s armor, which we put on everyday through his Word. Granted the lipstick is prettier, but it fades and definitely has to be applied more than once during the day. But God? His grace, mercy and love is always there, lasting 24 hours and then automatically starting over again each day. I don’t know about you, but I don’t see any lipsticks or stains boasting that kind of ability. A quick wave of a lipstick wand may make me feel good for a moment, but slowing down to spend time with God is more about my eternal life, nourishing and healing what’s stirred up in my soul. That’s better than any shade of magenta on the market, I guarantee.