14 When the dew evaporated, a flaky substance as fine as frost blanketed the ground. 15 The Israelites were puzzled when they saw it. “What is it?” they asked each other. They had no idea what it was. And Moses told them, “It is the food the Lord has given you to eat. 16 These are the Lord’s instructions: Each household should gather as much as it needs. Pick up two quarts for each person in your tent.” 17 So the people of Israel did as they were told. Some gathered a lot, some only a little. 18 But when they measured it out, everyone had just enough. Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough. Each family had just what it needed.
I have a problem with this passage.
Not that there’s anything inaccurate or anything wrong that happened. It’s very logical and is probably a sound record of what happened.
My problem is with how I would respond if I was one of those Israelites. Let’s take a small step back and look at the context.
The Israelites, very recently left Egypt. God saved them from slavery and showed His mighty signs and wonders and power to show off to the world. Now, as they wander the desert, they realise they are hungry and will die soon. Then the Israelites did what they did best. Complain. God heard them of course. And gave them food. But God took the opportunity to build their faith. He likes to do that to His chosen peoples. He gave them food for the day that would rot next morning. God wanted to build their trust in Him. To know that He will provide for next day.
Moses gave a difficult instruction. Go outside and take how much food is needed for your family for the day. I would have taken more than enough. I mean, for survival. My family is hungry. I already feel bad for not being able to provide for my family. Nomads don’t farm. Also, there was ALOT food on the ground. It’s an amazing miracle. Enough to feed more than 1 million for the whole day. I’d say taking more is not selfish. And it’s more of a precaution. Based on past record, this has never happened in my life, what are the chances it will happen again tomorrow just because Moses said so?
But God wanted the Israelites to trust Him DAILY. But… But… How? How do you TOTALLY FULLY trust someone? How do you TOTALLY and FULLY trust God?
To be honest, I can’t say I have perfect trust in God. I still have a lot of things in life that I like to do my own way. I still like to be in control. I still want to plan ahead. And I still like to complain.
(Disclaimer: I’m not saying that being in control of your life or planning ahead is bad. But I am saying that complete trust in God does require us to let go of some of our fundamental trust in ourselves, people, rules, and even logic. That’s why I find it so hard.)
But I have been practicing. Here are two simple practical ways to try and work on your trust in God. It’s how I do it anyway.
Firstly, try being trustworthy to others. Try not promising too much, and try to remember and fulfill what you have promised. The more I do this, the more I find that I can’t trust myself. Yet I also find that I do like being trustworthy, honest, and respected. I realise that I need to have love for others to want to be trustworthy. And I also realise that people love you for being trustworthy. I’d say, trying to be trustworthy shows me a glimpse of what God wants to do for us and what He wants from us. That might make you trust God and appreciate His promises more.
Secondly, let God prove Himself. If God said so, let it be His challenge to Himself. If He longs for us to trust Him, He’ll prove Himself. I agree that a lot of things (like basic needs) may be too risky to trust an unseen being with. Well then, start small. Trust Him for the little things. Praying and trusting God for a good parking could be a good start. When you start to believe that God is trying to prove Himself to you, pick up a bible and claim a promise He made in the bible. He made a lot of promises. And none of them are small. God only makes bombastic promises. If it comes true, it should be proof enough.
Thirdly, you can ask for faith, I guess. Wait, didn’t I say I only have two advice? Yeah I did. Oh well, my third advice is to ask. I definitely have faith. But I definitely could have some more. I don’t think it’s possible for a human being (except Jesus) to have a perfect 100% faith or a perfect trust in God. Various people have various degrees of faith according to what God gives them (but even though we’ve been given different levels of faith, I still believe it is our responsibility to grow it). So God is pretty much still in control in the first place. He says that nothing is too trivial a task for Him, and no request is too big and ambitious. And if we can pray for a friend to have faith, why can’t we pray for ourselves to have faith? No harm asking.
‘Trust’ sounds like a passive action. Sounds like ‘wait’. But imagine in movies, the starring hero will tell the girl who is hanging out of a tumbling car to “trust me”. It means she has to let go of the car she has been hanging on to and trust the hero to grab her hand before she falls. Trust is a verb. You need to do something. The hardest part of holding on to the hero is letting go of the car. Do you have something you need to let go of for God to prove Himself?