One of the world’s great philosophers, well at least he was great songwriter, once penned “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes your get what you need.” In singing along with these lyrics it began to dawn on me that there was a lot of truth there but it also raised some questions.
Do you ever struggle with knowing whether the things you want and desire are motivated by need or wants? By my needs or my selfish desires? How do you tell the difference since most of our motivations are center around self-interest? But God promises to give us the desires of our hearts in Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourselves in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart”. And what about just being content? Can’t we just be content like Paul who “…learned to be content in any and every situation…” Philippians 4:10-11. What a contradiction. The experience of the Israelites receiving God’s manna in the wilderness in Exodus 16 reflects our own struggle.
The Israelites were experts at grumbling and in Exodus 16 they continued their practice. No matter how God displayed his power and care for them they always saw the glass half full. They always wanted more and they wanted better than what God provided. Isn’t that often our own sin? They exaggerated about how good it had been in Egypt sitting around the meat pots and weren’t trusting God but he gave them the manna to sustain them in the wilderness.
In the New Testament in John 6:32-35 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven…” Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” In discussing the manna in Exodus 16 and thinking of Jesus as the true bread we see that both the manna and Jesus came down from the Father in heaven. The manna and Jesus are to be sought every day and Jesus is there to meet with us daily as the manna was easily accessible to be gathered from the ground. Just as the manna was complete nourishment for the people Jesus is all we need for life and spiritual sustenance. As the honey tasting manna was a reminder of what was to come in the land of milk and honey Jesus is a foreshadowing of all that is to come when we meet Him face to face.
The answers to the above and to all questions are found in the bread of life who is available daily? We need the daily manna of Jesus to unleash the Holy Spirit our lives so our hearts are aligned with God’s heart, His thoughts and His desires. As we delight in the Lord Jesus then we will truly receive the desires of our heart because our will, our wants, and our desires will be aligned with His providing His true peace and His true contentment in His will. Ephesians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.