Daily Devotion for October 29, 2015
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer for the Day
Holy God, who taught the hearts of all faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit; Grant me by the same Spirit to be guided in my work today, and in my every thought and deed and in everything I say. Let my decisions be wise and holy, and my ears open to your wisdom. And let me always be open to change; unstop my ears and soften my heart, so that I can learn your way better and better every hour of this day. I pray in the name of my beloved Lord, Jesus Christ,
Prayer to Witness Boldly
O Holy One, I call to you and name you as eternal, ever-present, almighty, and boundless in love. Yet there are times, O God, when I fail to recognize you in the everyday routine of my life. There are times timidity clenches my heart and I hide my faith from the world and even from myself. Sometimes fear makes me so small that I miss a chance to express my belief. Doubts and insecurity suppress the wonderful wisdom I have learned, from your holy word, from listening to your teachers, and from the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit.
Heavenly Father, in the daily round from sunrise to sunset and to sunrise again, remind me again and again of your holy presence hovering near me and in me. Free me from shame and self-doubt in expressing my faith. Help me to see you in the fleeting moments of possibility and be filled with your courage and your word. In Christ's name I pray,
[What was the last time I missed a chance to express my belief appropriately?]
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, let me think about these things. What I have learned and received, let me do; and the God of peace be with us all.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Proverbs 21:2 (NKJV)
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs the hearts.
Exodus 16:31-36 (ESV)
Bread from Heaven 
Now the house of Israel called its name manna. It was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.
Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Let an omer [half a gallon] of it be kept throughout your generations, so that they may see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.’” And Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar, and put an omer of manna in it, and place it before the Lord to be kept throughout your generations.” As the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the testimony to be kept.
The people of Israel ate the manna forty years, till they came to a habitable land. They ate the manna till they came to the border of the land of Canaan.
Notes on the Scripture
Refining sugar had not yet been invented, nor was sugar cane known outside of India at this time, so the only way to sweeten food known to the Egyptians/Hebrews was either to cut up dried fruit or to use honey. Honey, which is much sweeter than dried fruit, was fairly rare and a bit of a luxury.
The manna itself was akin to unleavened bread. Coriander seed is a light beige to yellowish beige; there is nothing to indicate that the manna resembled it except in color. So the Hebrews were eating flat sweetened wafers — they were, in short, living on cookies!
Later (in the Book of Numbers) we are told that manna was sometimes "ground, pounded like meal, boiled and made into cakes". Other references state that it looked like a gum resin and, when cooked, tasted like sweet cake baked with oil. (There is still a sweet-tasting gum collected from trees along the Iran-Iraq border — which Arabs call "mann" — that exactly fits the descriptions of manna in the Bible. See a photo at the bottom of the left column.)
At the end of today's Scripture, the timeline becomes jumbled. Unless there was something called a "testimony" that had been described in an earlier, now lost record of the exodus, the Testimony almost certainly refers to the two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, which do not yet exist. So adding some inferential details, Aaron gathered up a days' ration of manna in a stone vessel holding about two quarts and kept it until the Hebrews reached Mount Sinai, at which time the Ark of the Covenant would be built. He then placed it in the Ark, to be kept for all time.
The "flash forward" is bolstered by the following verses, which seem in the nature of a footnote. Exodus 16:35-36 looks forty years into the future. Moses might still have been alive and inserted this text himself, or it might have been done later to finish up the story of the manna.