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by Sherry Chamblee

Today I was reading in Exodus 16, where the manna from heaven is first described, and something struck me.  

The people of Israel were fed by manna for forty years in the wilderness. The provision of bread from heaven came first right after they fled Egypt, and as they made their way to the Promised Land of Canaan.  

One thing I didn’t realize was that this journey would have taken approximately 11 days. It is a 250-mile trip. Allowing for herds walking slower, and the probability that a huge company of people that included small children, we could probably realistically see the entire trip lasting a good month.

Sometimes the Old Testament can speed through centuries of time in just the space of a few words, but in this case, we have a journey that would have taken about 11 days, yet the Bible lingers on that time as if it took eons. Perhaps it felt like eons to Moses, who continually came up against complaints and murmuring. God, through Moses, had told all the people to take all the provisions they would need for a long journey. They knew they were going on a long trip, and they’d known they were leaving for at least two weeks before the night of the Passover. So they had all sorts of time to prepare food that would travel well, pack their things, get their herds ready, etc.  

Still, within only a day or two they were complaining that they had no food?  

No, they were complaining that they had no bread. They ought to have had plenty of food. Do you see what I mean?  

They were complaining that they didn’t have the one thing they must have left behind in Egypt.

Yet God sent them manna.

Their forty-year journey did not begin until after they’d arrived in Canaan and refused to go in out of fear.

Yet God still sent them manna for the next forty years.

After all the short-sightedness, all the complaining, the lack of belief, the lack of faith, the unwillingness to move forward into God’s blessings … God still took care of their basic daily needs.  

God still showed up for them.  

God still gave them food.  

God still cared.  

God still kept His promises.

Ever feel like going back on a promise because that other person has gone back on theirs? Of course, because we’re human. But God doesn’t ever go back on His promises, even though we break ours far too often.

Their way was still hard. God didn’t let them into the Promised Land at that critical juncture. He didn’t give in to their fear or coddle them. He gave them provision for their basic needs. He did not leave them alone.

This speaks to me of God’s love more than many other things. I know we’ll break our promises to God sometimes.  

And there are consequences from our unbelief, there are things we’ll have to go through when we disobey or simply don’t have faith in what God tells us. After all, the Israelites turned an 11-day trip into a 40-year journey.

And don’t we do that too often? Don’t we take our unbelief and let that guide us, and lose years in the meantime?

Yet God remains faithful.  

And God remaining faithful means we can eventually come into the Promised Land ourselves. Even if it’s been years… wipe yourself off, let God pick you up, and let God bring you to where He wants you to be. Because God never stops providing for you.

About the Author:

Sherry Chamblee

Sherry grew up in various cities around northern and central California. This gave her all sorts of stories that sat and festered in her brain, waiting to be let loose. She eventually went to college in Wisconsin, where she met her equally frenetic husband, Rich. They have six (yes, count them) children, two dogs and a cat, and currently reside in a madhouse in the southern California area. As a family, they enjoy being active in their local church. Sherry spends her time writing when not caring for Granny, the kids, the dogs, the cat and any number of strays in the neighborhood.

Sherry Chamblee can be found at Or check out her books at

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