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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

BeShalach 16-6

When (he) sent

Exodus 16:11-36

However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them... Nevertheless, some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather it, but they found none. Then the LORD said to Moses, "How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions?

Ex. 16:20, 27-28 NIV

Why some people don't obey?

The people had been raised in slavery. The Eternal wanted to deliver them, not only from physical slavery but also from the spiritual one, the one of the soul. During their time of bondage in Egypt, the people had been forced to obey. But in spite of that exterior obedience, it's not sure that they obeyed from their hearts. They only obeyed to avoid being beaten and punished. That kind of obedience is conditional. I obey so everything goes well, and nothing bad happens to me. But each person decides when to obey. If he can get away with disobedience without beating and punishment, he will do it. That kind of obedience isn't the one the Eternal wants from us.

Now, the Eternal took them out from Pharaoh's bondage so they would become His servants. Obedience to the Eternal has two levels and the second level is the one that the Eternal likes. The first level of obedience is the one that comes out of interest, to get a benefit or to avoid punishment. In this level of obedience there is no heart, only selfishness. This level of obedience brings good consequences because there is a blessing in obeying, even if it's done reluctantly.

However, there is another kind of obedience, the one that comes from the heart. In that level, the person doesn't obey out of interest but out of a heart that is surrendered to the Eternal. That person's obedience will be the same in public and in private - when everyone is watching or in secret. That is the most pleasing kind of obedience to the Eternal because it reflects the character of the Messiah, the image of the Invisible One.

Some of the sons and daughters of Israel thought that the deliverance from Pharaoh gave them the right to obey just when they saw fit. Freedom doesn't mean that we can do whatever we want. Freedom doesn't mean we can do as we please, but it is conditioned to obedience from the heart to the rules of the Eternal, given to bring freedom. There is no freedom without obedience. Disobedience brings negative consequences, provokes the Eternal's wrath and causes curse and destruction.

The lesson of the manna was given to the people to teach them to obey. Now, some did it out of interest, to avoid looking at the manna rotting and to avoid going out to pick it when there was none. But others did it from their hearts, just because the Eternal had ordered it, through His servant Moshe.

What kind of obedience do we want in our lives?

May the Eternal lifts us to the level of heartfelt obedience, with no rebellion, no faking, no personal interests, only out of love.

Let's pray: "Heavenly Father. Show me the path of obedience from the heart. Take away all obedience out of personal interest or fear. Create an upright heart inside of me, surrendered only to You. Fill me with Your Spirit to reach the level of obedience that You like. May You be glorified and exalted through the obedience of your people, amen."


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