One Day at a Time - Part One
I want to discuss something that is dear to my heart…where most of us stand. And that is the issue of living our lives one day at a time. If you please, the title is one day at a time. And I want to take the text from Exodus 16
11 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 12 “I have heard the complaints of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’”
13 So it was that quails came up at evening and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay all around the camp. 14 And 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. 15 So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was.
And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is the thing which the Lord has commanded: ‘Let every man gather it according to each one’s need, one omer for each person, according to the number of persons; let every man take for those who are in his tent.’”
17 Then the children of Israel did so and gathered, some more, some less. 18 So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one’s need. 19 And Moses said, “Let no one leave any of it till morning.” 20 Notwithstanding they did not heed Moses. But some of them left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them. 21 So they gathered it every morning, every man according to his need. And when the sun became hot, it melted.
Father, we want to thank You again for this time as we search the scriptures. We are trusting that You would make this Word we have read how clearer to us, and that You will inform our hearts, and that You would strengthen us in our faith in You, in Jesus Name. Amen!
I was on my knees one morning praying. That day, that Morning, Prayer was a struggle. My head was full, and my heart was heavy. Questions flowed in freely. It was a time my family and I were grappling with a tragedy. What is there in life after all? What is life all about when the parasite called evil is constantly feeding on what is good? What is life about when that which brings you joy can also bring you sorrow? Some people have tried to explain these paradoxes of life philosophically.
One John Simone puts it this way, “If you are in a bad situation, don’t worry; it will change. If you are in a good situation, don’t worry; it will change.”
He has just said what we all know in our society, and that is this adage that, no condition is permanent. How do we handle the changing scenes of life? One moment you are in joy and the next moment you are in trouble and in pain. As I struggled with this depressing thought, suddenly, what I perceived as an answer came in these words: one day at a time. It dawned on me that living our lives one day at a time is the only way to overcome the frustration and depression that a Topsy-turvy world brings. This is not my prescription that we are about to examine. It is God’s prescription.
It is God’s prescription for Israel during their time of frustration. The Israelites found themselves in a place not unlike where I found myself that morning. Except that their problem was the size of a nation. Their circumstance was my circumstance writ large. They had traveled from Egypt in the wilderness for two and a half months. They had believed the promise that they would enjoy a far better life than what they had in Egypt. But now they are tempted to believe that their circumstance in Egypt was better than what they were currently exercising.
2 Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3 And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
That was their frustration. God responded with a solution. He prescribed a life lived one day at a time. And that is what we found in the passage we read. Let us look at verse 4.
4 Then the Lord 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, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.
They will gather a certain quota every day! God promised to meet their need but to do so one day at a time. This is not just an Old Testament reality. In the New Testament, Jesus taught His disciples to pray, and expect their Father in heaven to meet their need: one day at a time. That’s why He said in Matthew 6:11, He taught them to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread”. Let me make some observations based on one verse where we read in exodus 16:18:
18 So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one’s need.
In God’s economy, there may not be an equality of need. Our need vary from person to person. Some have greater needs than others. But there should be equality of satisfaction of need. Let me repeat, In God’s economy, there may not be an equality of need, but there is certainly an equality of satisfaction of need. Some people starve today, but not because of the scarcity of food, but because of inequality in its distribution.
For example, Americans eat eight hundred and fifteen billion calories of food each day. Eight hundred and fifteen billion calories of food each day; roughly two hundred billion more than needed; enough to feed eighty million people. America is five percent of the population of the world; but it consumes twenty-five percent of the world’s energy, and releases seventy-two percent of the world’s hazardous wastes. God has enough to take care of His people. But, the problem is in distribution.
Even if we come nearer home…or let us come nearer home...There is enough in this nation to make every Nigerian live comfortably, at least have energy 24 hours 7 days a week, Pipe born water 24 hours 7 days a week, Good roads etc. But what do we have? A few people have seized the wealth, have cornered the wealth and have left the majority to suffer.
We will continue this discussion when we come back next time.
Father, we want to say thank You for the much we have been able to hear today. We are trusting, O God, that You minister to the heart of all who are hearing this, both those who heard and those who are in need. Let there be a release so that Your people will enjoy life a little more than they are doing now; that You will remove the artificial suffering…artificial in the sense that they are man-made, which Your people experience in this land. Thank You, in Jesus Name. Amen