Give us this day our daily bread
This line of the Lord’s Prayer always reminds me of the birth of the Jewish nation, when they were summoned out of Egypt and spent 40 years wandering in the desert. It was during this time that God gave them their ‘daily bread’ in an extraordinarily memorable manner: manna 😉
Here’s how it’s recounted in Exodus:
Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.”
So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of Egypt,and in the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we, that you should grumble against us?” Moses also said, “You will know that it was the Lord when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord.”
… That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp.When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was.
Moses said to them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat.This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Everyone is to gather as much as they need. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent.’”
The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed.
Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.”
However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them.
Give us this day our daily bread arrives at the latter stages of the prayer and it is right that we reflect on God’s glory and his will before we round out by turning the focus of our prayer onto ourselves.
Even so, praying to God for our daily bread requires a deep level of faith and obedience: the Jews demonstrate this.
In a clear case of ancient FOMO, we see our own concerns reflected in the behaviour of the Jews in the desert. Will I have enough? Will others have more than I do? I’ll just hang onto this in case I need it later…
There’s nothing wrong with refrigerating food. This was an exercise in trust.
Will we do the same? Will we trust that God will give us, this day, our daily bread, which we can take as a metaphor that represents our necessities for the day?
It’s not an easy prayer to pray. Far easier to run around and try to be self-sufficient. Whilst I ultimately believe that will come to ruin, there’s a tangibility that materialism has working in its favour, at least for a time.
But that rushing around may not be in time with God. Sometimes God might not want you to have something today. Maybe he wants you to have it tomorrow, next week or next year.
There’s a rhythm to the Christian life. In the Lord’s Prayer there’s an expression of a daily rhythm. More broadly there’s an expression to “Keep in step with the Spirit”.
How is the Spirit moving? What is its rhythm or dance-like step?
Only through prayer can this be known today, tomorrow, and the next…
Yours in consulting the choreographer,