First Reading: Exodus 16:2-4

Faith vs. Risk Management

2 The whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron in the wilderness; 3 and the children of Israel said to them, "We wish that we had died by the hand of YHWH in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots, when we ate our fill of bread, for you have brought us out into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger."

4 Then YHWH said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from the sky for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law, or not."

World English Bible

This brief passage presents the narrative of the manna. Like many of the other miracles in the story of the Exodus, the gift of the manna was in response to the complaints of the Israelites. In their whimpering, they pined for the secure life they had in slavery. [3:2-3] Of course, this was the whiners' way of having both ways. They wanted their freedom and the comforts of a secure environment. They did not want the trade-offs of either. With freedom came instability and uncertainty. With security came limitation.

In the narrative, God provided for their need. [3:4] Regardless of the natural origin of the heavenly bread, the text made two points: 1) God cared for his people with a Father's concern and 2) the gift required a freely given response on the part of the people. God led the people to freedom. But they needed to depend upon the care God showed them. That care could not be controlled or manipulated. That care could not be foreseen or measured. That care was not subject to risk management.

Faith is a step out in risk. Because it is a step into the care of God. When we believe, we do not know the road we take or the events and people along the way. But we do know God will never let us down. And he will bring us safely home.

How have you fought the battle of trust in God? How have you succeeded? How have you failed?