• Gather too much

    But they did not listen to Moses. Some left part of it till the morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them.    

      — Exodus 16:20


    When the people of Israel were in the desert, they grumbled because they had no food. God answered kindly and gave them food despite the fact that they despised His deliverance from Egypt. When you read the Exodus story, you will notice the Israelites never asked for food. Rather, they just grumbled.


    With His provision, God also gave the Israelites instructions (see today’s scripture). Moses delivered these instructions to the people, and some immediately did what? Ignored the rules. They gathered too much and left some of the manna overnight.


    The Israelites’ behavior is eerily similar to a story Jesus told of a man who gathered too much (Luke 12:16-21). He had to build bigger barns, but then his life was required of him before he could spend his vast fortune. Those who do not trust in God’s good provision spend their time gathering for the unknown. They wrongly assume they are the provider and have to have rations in place.


    The disobedient Israelites did this on the very day that manna was given from heaven: their faith in God was absent, so they had moldy bread in the morning. We, likewise, can spend our days storing up God’s gifts as though He might forget us tomorrow – or we can live in faith to God each day. We can be content with God’s provision. Content with His kindness. Let us not be like the Israelites who had so little faith.

    1. The curse of work and bread

      “By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.”   

        – Genesis 3:19


      What would bread making look like without the fall? We get glimpses of the answer throughout Scripture: manna in the Exodus, Elijah’s continuous supply of oil and flour, and, most importantly, Jesus, the Bread of Life.


      But before we look at bread in Scripture, let’s think about the importance of bread for life, in sight of the curse. It is a fairly well-known truth that a man can live for 30-40 days without eating – and then he dies. It is not a good death. And even though bread is essential to life, because of sin, God cursed the work needed to make that bread with difficulty and sweat. Why would God have cursed the work that would bring us life?


      Because the human heart after the fall is a strange one. When we receive abundance, we tend to believe we were the source of that abundance. Or, as in the case of the Israelites, they despised the gift and the giver. God, in his kindness, cursed work so that we might know who actually gives the growth.


      Each year seeds go into the ground. Each year the livestock is fed. Each year the farmer waters. But God decides whether the plants and animals grow or die. Whether there is famine or feast. Whether there is plenty, enough, or death. The curse of work and bread is meant to turn us to the giver of life.

      1. announced an event

        Friday, December 24th  •  4:30–5:30 pm
        1. published a bulletin

          ReadMorning Worship
        2. We rise in Christ

          But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming,  

             – 1 Corinthians 15:23


          Just as we all are destined to die in Adam, we should aim to be raised in Christ. He Himself was raised from the dead as a first fruit. What is a first fruit? It is the first portion that is set aside as a sacrifice, holy to God.


          If the first fruit offered is an ear of corn, what will the rest be? Peas? Wheat? No, of course not. If the first fruit is an ear of corn, then the rest will be like it: corn.


          Consider this, too. If the first fruit is puny and scrawny and full of pith and rot, what does that spell for the rest of the harvest? It doesn’t give great confidence that the harvest will be good.


          But what if that first fruit is the resurrection from the dead? And if that first fruit is perfection? If that resurrected and perfect body dwells with God, then it follows that we will have the same if we are in Christ. Jesus, being the first fruit, gives not just the sacrifice to God for the whole crop but also a glimpse of the nature of the crop: eternal life in a resurrected body, dwelling in perfection with God.


          Our old inheritance in Adam will be swallowed up. Death will be no more. Sin will be no more. The curse will be gone and there will be nothing but delight in the Savior of the World. He gives us the hope of the resurrection, and for that reason we work to please Him.

          1. Christ is the last Adam

            For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

            – 1 Corinthians 15:22


            So far we have made the problem of our guilt more apparent, and it should feel quite impossible to find a solution. It is, in fact, impossible. We need a nature change and an inheritance change. But we can’t do that in ourselves.


            The solution is the impossibility of being born again from heaven. We need a new federal head, a new covenant representative.


            Enter Jesus, the last Adam. We need to be born into Him and given a new nature with a better inheritance. And that is exactly what Christ does. He is from heaven and His inheritance is eternal life with God. His nature is without deformity and undefiled.


            The new birth gives us rights to that inheritance just as our physical birth gave us rights to the inheritance of Adam. The family of God is not just a metaphor for understanding the church, it is the whole nature of what it means to be found in Christ. We are made new creations and being made into the image of Christ. And all of that so that we might be called children of God and dwell with Him forever.

            1. We died in Adam

              Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned         

                         — Romans 5:12


              Our inheritance from Adam is both our fallen nature and the curse of sin: death. Obviously, we all die. But the reason for our death is something we work very hard to hide. We consider our death to be the result of our own actions or those of the world around us: cancer, drugs, a car crash, a tsunami, or the flu. We would never say that our death was caused by our inheritance. But God teaches us something very different. We die because of Adam. We all died in him. He was our covenant representative, our federal head, and gave us our inheritance of death. This doesn’t mean that our own sins don’t condemn us. They do. We are guilty of sinning and of being a sinner.


              Think of something like Jim Crow Laws. We tend to acknowledge two kinds of guilt with those laws: guilt for making them and guilt for implementing them. Very few people were involved with making those laws. Many more were responsible for implementing them. But everyone in the country was guilty of the laws by nature of being a U.S. citizen. It didn’t matter if you helped write them or if you put them into practice. You participated by being a citizen of this country.


              Our sentence of death from Adam’s sin is of the same sort as this last kind of guilt. We weren’t in the garden. We didn’t eat the forbidden fruit. But we are children – citizens – of Adam. We are, therefore, guilty and need to remedy the problem. 

              1. We fell in Adam

                Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned        

                     — Romans 5:12


                We are, in general, big fans of inheritance. Many fights have ensued after the death of parents for the rights of inheritance. However, we only want good inheritances, not bad ones. We want riches and good property. So, the fights that ensue when the inheritance is a double mortgaged house in disrepair are not over who gets to keep it, but who has to deal with it.


                Adam gave us both good and bad things as our covenant head. We inherit the image of God. That’s very good. We inherit this world. That’s good. We inherit sin-nature and death. Those are not good.


                But they are our inheritance by virtue of us being Adam’s sons and daughters. We are his children, and he gave to us a sin-nature. This nature of sinfulness is just as much a part of us as the image of God. We are fallen, inherently sinful.


                Our inherited sin-nature is not the same as saying “we have all sinned,” although this latter statement is also true. The reason we commit sins now is because we have a corrupt nature that desires to disobey. This is a stronger statement than to say that we are prone to sin. We don’t lean towards sin; rather, we are slaves to it. We have the wrong master. Our master is a sinfulness that comes to us because we are children of Adam. We have inherited our sinfulness.