Joshua 5:10-12 From discipline to abundance in God’s perfect time
10 While the sons of Israel camped at Gilgal they observed the Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month on the desert plains of Jericho. 11 On the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. 12 The manna ceased on the day after they had eaten some of the produce of the land, so that the sons of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate some of the yield of the land of Canaan during that year.
Right after their celebration of the Passover feast, the supply of manna that persisted for forty years finally came to a close. Israel was now ready to go from mere subsistence to abundance and from capitulation to conquest. Today’s passage teaches us that before the age of abundance arrives, there must necessary be an age of discipline and lack. God, in His perfect time is able to cause us to move pass our circumstances and into prosperity.
The manna ceased on the day after they had eaten some of the produce of the land.
After the sons of Israel were circumcised and healed, they observed the Passover. The Passover feast was instituted at the plague that devastated Egypt causing Pharaoh to release his grip over the Israelites. The angel of death visited every Egyptian household taking the life of every first born, both humans and animals. Only houses marked by blood on the threshold of their houses were spared. God commanded the Israelites to commemorate God’s act of delivering Israel from Egypt by celebrating the Passover on an annual basis. The Passover feast reminded the Israelites of God’s faithful protection over them. Part of the feast consists of unleavened cakes and food they harvested from the land. After they ate of it, the manna ceased on that day. Hence, from then on, the sons of Israel no longer had manna.
Handouts from God are never meant to make one prosperous. Many churchgoers have a grievous misunderstanding that the God of abundance would supply their wants and desires beyond their wildest imagination without them having to labor for it. Handouts are for the immature and God will supply their needs with minimum subsistence for their survival. God spoke to the Israelites when they were about to cross the Jordan,
And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, … And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna. Deuteronomy 8:2-3
During the forty years in the wilderness, God allowed them to hunger in order to test their faith in Him and He supplied them with manna sufficient only for the day. However, when they entered into Canaan, they would enjoy great abundance; a far cry from what they had while in the wilderness. God spoke to them concerning the land of abundance they were about to enter,
For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Deuteronomy 8:7-10
In Canaan, they had to work for their own food and dig for copper and iron. However, they would have abundance as compared to living at a subsistence level in the wilderness. When the Israelites celebrated their first Passover with some of the produce of the land, the manna ceased marking the beginning of the age of prosperity.
Therefore, unless believers put in their level best, working as unto the Lord with a spirit of excellence, they will not experience abundance.
Before the age of abundance arrives, there must necessary be an age of discipline and lack. In the maturing process, God disciplines his children by putting them in a position where there is little choice. During their time in the wilderness, God disciplined the Israelites by giving them little alternatives but to depend on God for everything: from shade, to light, to clothing and to food. During that time, God determined for them what they should eat, and when they should drink and where they should go. Through discipline, they may learn to humble themselves and submit to God’s every instruction. God spoke to the people while they set foot on Canaan,
And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you. Deuteronomy 8:2-5
During the forty years, they learned to submit to God for they were given no choice concerning what they eat: He fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know.
They learned to live on the bread of God’s word: He might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
They learned to live a day at a time and never to worry about tomorrow: Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years.
God put the Israelites through forty years of minimal subsistence as a discipline to prepare them for the age of conquest and abundance. Out of these forty years came a younger generation who had not seen Egypt nor experienced slavery. This generation was more disciplined and carried none of the baggage the first generation had as evidenced by their discipline displayed by their conquest of Jericho. God, in His good time knows how to lead His people from discipline into abundance. Therefore, we must be patient while enduring God’s discipline knowing that in due time we will breakthrough.
Are you accustomed to excessive dependence on others supposing that God would supply your needs while you “rest”? Be assured that God would not allow us to rest on our laurels, but will cause our comfort zone to be increasingly uncomfortable. Is it fear of failure or past disappointments that are keeping you from progressing? Or is it a sense of loss? Your inertia is not difficult to overcome. What you need is support from mature believers while waiting on God’s good time. Perhaps, you could surface your area of fear or hindrance to your cell leader and pastor who would be able to help you.
Dear Lord, I thank you for providing for my every need. I desire to experience the blessings that you have installed for me. Help me move pass my comfort zone. Help me identify my fears and defeating mindsets and habits that are keeping me from progressing. Fill me with your Spirit and cause me to overcome my hindrances today. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.