Buried in Joshua 5 is a verse I have never noticed before, but it is so profound that I have been processing it for over a week.
“And the manna ceased the day after they ate of the produce of the land. And there was no longer manna for the people of Israel, but they ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.”
For forty years the people had been eating manna. Every morning they gathered manna, every day they ate what they gathered, and they did that over and over and over again. Let’s be honest, I get tired of the same thing for lunch in a week, I can’t imagine the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for forty years. Yet, the people survived on God’s provision and they knew Him as Provider.
Then generations died, Joshua becomes the new leader, each of the people have crossed the river on dry land, the alter of stones has been crafted, and now it is time to take the Promise Land, the Land of Milk and Honey, would be theirs. It’s time for the Passover Feast and God’s people eat from the land – produce that must have been so sweet, juicy, tasty, and simply tantalizing to the senses. It’s been a good Passover feast, a good celebration.
A new day dawns and routine suggests gathering the days provisions. Yet, when the people wake up and step outside the view is different… where is the manna? God has provided a new means of sustenance which is found in the produce from the land. Can’t you see this in your mind’s eye? I found myself astonished at what they must see, which makes me think the people were perplexed and amazed at what they didn’t see. Think about it, did God guide their eyes from looking for the manna to seeing the produce of the land? Did He help them see what was around them and His new means of provision?
Here is what hit me… do I realize when I am living in God’s fodder, or basic fulfillment of our needs, or in God’s plenty? Do I realize the difference in the moments when God is sustaining my every basic need and when He gives in great abundance? My first thought is YES! However, in reality, the answer is, no. Living in His abundance, which for the Israelite’s would have been the produce, is easy because I don’t have to look for what I need. In the abundance, I have more than enough. Here, I have what I need, and I don’t always see that God is the one providing. But living in the fodder, relying on the manna, and the moment-by-moment supply, is what makes me look for and depend on God in ways that aren’t necessary in the plenty. Living on the fodder is difficult, it’s constant reliance of the Lord, it’s waiting, listening, and obeying for the next breath.
My first thought was, Lord let me see You in the plenty and praise You as You supply all I want. I desired to live in the abundance but if I’m honest with you, that is where I take my eyes off the Lord and where I depend on myself. After a week of processing, praying, and placating I have come to see that I want to live in the place where His provision looks like the fodder, like the manna. That place is where my eyes must stay focused on the Lord. That place is where my every moment, breath, step, and action must be given by the Lord because I am solely dependent on Him.
The good news is that our Good Good Father gives good good gifts to His children. Which I understand as my Heavenly Father, my Daddy, giving me times of fodder and times of plenty. He gives what I need, when I need it. He does that for all His children! That is His provision, supplying our needs in the Promised Land. He knows if we need abundance or complete dependence and His provides for our needs while we are with Him. He is our Promise Land, the Israelites had all the needed in the land He gave them even though the Lord changed how He met their need.
So, the question comes, are you living in the land of produce and plenty or in the land of fodder and dependence? Find the sweet moments in both, find a way a rest in the Lord, and relish in the season He has given. I would challenge you to read through Joshua, allow the Lord to teach you, so that as you read, you are on a journey with His people.