Daily Devotional – April 24, 2020

To the Church in Exile,

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today’s meditation is from Lynne Baab:  

God’s peace to you, my beloved brothers and sisters,
I have been surprised in this pandemic about the things that are easier than I anticipated (such as not driving!) and the things that are harder. One of the unexpected hard things has been ordering food online and giving grocery lists to amazing, kind friends who buy food for us. But I like to pick my own bananas! I like to wander around a grocery store looking at what’s fresh or on sale to help me think creatively about what to cook in the next few days. I know others don’t feel this way, but I can’t wait to get back into a grocery store to pick out food by myself.
Another challenge has been Sabbath days. I’ve been a faithful Sabbath keeper for four decades now. I’ve written a book, a Bible study guide, and lots of articles about keeping a Sabbath. I know how to do this! The joy of my Sabbath day is doing almost nothing except read. Now, in this pandemic, precious people I love want to Skype or talk on the phone on my Sabbath day, and I don’t know how I want to handle it. Sure, I could say “no.” I know how to do that. I just don’t want to! My very talkative Sabbath days are tiring. In these weird times, even the things we normally do well can become challenging.
Imagine my amusement when one of the passages in the daily lectionary for today focuses on food in the wilderness on the Sabbath day. You remember the story. While the people of Israel were in the wilderness, they were given manna each day. On the sixth day of the week, the day before the Sabbath, they were given twice as much, and it didn’t rot overnight. The passage opens with Moses speaking:
 “This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD; bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil, and all that is left over put aside to be kept until morning.’” 24So they put it aside until morning, as Moses commanded them; and it did not become foul, and there were no worms in it. 25Moses said, “Eat it today, for today is a Sabbath to the LORD; today you will not find it in the field. 26Six days you shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is a Sabbath, there will be none.”
27On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather, and they found none. 28The LORD said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commandments and instructions? 29See! The LORD has given you the Sabbath, therefore on the sixth day he gives you food for two days; each of you stay where you are; do not leave your place on the seventh day.” 30So the people rested on the seventh day.
31The house of Israel called it manna; it was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. . . . 35The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a habitable land. (Exodus 16:23-31, 35)
The passage spoke to me about God’s provision of food, a relevant topic for me, and God’s frustration when we don’t obey and trust, an equally relevant topic. In these challenging days, the simplicity of trust is very difficult, but it is our central calling as children of a God of abundance.
Loving God, you provide for us so generously. Help us to trust you in these difficult days. Help us to lean into your goodness. Help us accept your call to rest in you. Thank you for speaking to us through your Word and in the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. Help us to listen to your voice and receive your gifts of guidance, strength, patience, and rest.
God’s peace to you today,

Lynne Baab
Former Bethany Associate Pastor
Currently a writer and teacher (lynnebaab.com)

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