Whoever Gathered Much

But when they measured it with an omer, whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack. Each of them gathered as much as he could eat.
(Exodus 16:18)

I’m in no way wanting to minimize the Coronavirus, nor do I want to comment on all the steps made lately to contain it. That’s not the point of this article.

But look at the store shelves. The panic has set in and everyone is trying to stock up on toilet paper, masks, hand sanitizer, vitamin C, meat, etc. The stores can’t keep stuff on the shelves.

Then we hear reports of people who bought up all the hand sanitizer and are selling in on Amazon for up to 70 dollars a bottle. Or the guy selling toilet paper out of the trunk of his car for a high price. Some people would applaud folks like this for being capitalists and opportunists. God would tell them they are being selfish and are hurting the poor.

When we go to the store in such panic and buy enough toilet paper to last 10 years, and then the elderly couple who comes in to the store later can’t buy any, what does that say? I’m confident that there are many good hearted folks out there who are sharing what they have with others, but I don’t think anyone can doubt that the store shelves being bare is a sign of many folks having a me-first attitude.

While there are principles in the Scripture that teach it is wise to have storehouses of supplies in our house (Proverbs 15:6; 21:20), there are other principles like the one we see in Exodus 16 that show God wants those who gather a lot to share with those who have a little. The Israelites were commanded by God to gather only enough manna for the day.  Those who gathered too much were to share with those who didn’t gather enough. And if you kept any overnight (except for the Sabbath Day), it bred worms and stank the next morning. It was a valuable lesson God was teaching his people.

This concept is repeated in the New Testament. Paul quotes Exodus 16 when writing to the Corinthians about sharing with others.

For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”
(2 Corinthians 8:13-15)

A matter of fairness. Paul said that word twice in this passage. Fairness. Your abundance should supply their need at this time, and then later someone else’s abundance will supply your need. Regardless of what happens, and no matter what the culture does, God’s people are looking to share what they have with others who are in need, so that there will be fairness. This concept is not just for kindergarten kids at recess, it is for people who go to the store to shop. Remember this concept.

Our soul loathes this worthless bread

Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.” So the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died (Numbers 21:4-6).

God provided manna, bread from heaven, for the children of Israel. Every day was a miracle. Their food was miraculously provided for 40 years. Do the math. 6 days a week (extra manna provided on Friday for the Sabbath day) for 40 years. That’s a myriad miracles, and a gazillion tons of manna. They called it “worthless.” On top of that they said, “our soul loathes” it.

I was reading 1 Corinthians 10 yesterday where Paul reminded the Corinthian Christians about the Israelites in the wilderness. The sins they committed were recorded for us as examples, Paul explained, so that we do not repeat them. One of those sins Paul specified was complaining.

It just reminded me of how serious God takes complaining. If you haven’t done this lately, look through the Bible and do some word searches for words like grumbling, murmuring and complaining. See what God says about it. Look at the consequences. Lots of people died at God’s own hand because of it.

Our soul loathes this worthless bread

So, here we are, living under Christ, walking in His grace, and Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10 to remember how God views complaining. It is still a serious thing to God, just as serious as sexual immorality and idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:1-12). Sometimes we are tempted to think that the big sins are sexual immorality and murder, but complaining is just a little sin. We would be well served to take a walk through Exodus through Deuteronomy with the children of Israel to refresh our memories of God’s view of complaining.

Today, let us take a moment to thank God.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

If we recognize that we are living an ungrateful life, and have a complaining spirit, we should get down on our knees and ask for the Lord’s forgiveness and mercy. We also should ask the Lord to teach us to be more thankful. May God help our hearts to be content, and may our words express that daily. It is helpful for us to take regular inventory of how richly God has blessed us. That old song still rings true, “Count your many blessings.”

Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name (Hebrews 13:15).

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits (Psalm 103:2).