The people of Israel called it bread from heaven. It was like coriander seed, white, and tasted like bread made with honey. Moses said, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Let a jar of it be kept for your children and grandchildren to come, so they may see the bread that I fed you in the desert when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.’” Exodus 16:31-32 New Life Version (NLV)
Several years ago on HGTV there was a program called “Clean Sweep.” People whose household clutter had become unmanageable would call in an organizer with a team of designers and carpenters who completely cleaned out, remodeled and organized two rooms of their house.
Through the clearing process, all the contents of those two rooms spilled out into the lawn. Then the home owners handled each item, sorting it into a keep, sell or trash pile. At the end of the first quick sort, the most of the items ended up back in the keep pile since they were reluctant to let things go.
The professional organizer then went through the keep pile a second time, to pare it down to a manageable size. He zeroed in on items which seemed useless or frivolous; things which may not fit in with the design plans. Often the items he specifically chose had sentimental value to the family, but had outlived their usefulness. Most of the time, even though the family had items of great importance, they weren’t being properly treated with regard to their value.
During these tearful scenes, the organizer helped the family to either define the importance and use of the item or to let it go after celebrating the importance of the relationship rather than the item. In some cases, he opted to keep the most important items and use them as design elements in the renovated rooms.
In the end, the families made a large quantity of money through a yard sale, the two rooms were completely made over and revealed to the owners. The families supposedly learned how to pare down and organize their clutter, while developing pride in their renovated spaces. The ultimate goal was to prevent that clutter from overtaking their lives again.
In a very real way, this is exactly what God was doing with the Israelites as they trekked through the wilderness. He was helping them get rid of the painful mental and emotional clutter of slavery. As part of the healing process, he replaced the old painful memories with new memories of his love and provision. When that happened, God often instructed them to do create memorials so they would always remember what he had done rather than what their enemies had done to them.
God instituted the Passover meal as an official national holiday so they could remember God’s deliverance. Now, here in the wilderness, God miraculously provided bread (Manna)and told them to keep a jar of it to prove his provision to their future generations. These memorials were designed to help prevent the Israelites from slipping back into their old ways of coping with life that resulted in their original slavery.
Through our own wilderness journeys, God seeks to empty our lives of the clutter and pain of sin. He’s renovating our lives and our memories, as he rebuilds our relationship with him. These renovations are designed to help us develop our confidence as his children. There will be important events – milestones of God’s provision, his revelation of himself to us or miraculous events which we will need to celebrate in order to remain emotionally whole.
It’s important to keep a journal, to create memories through celebrations or to build altars (which we will talk about later) so we remember who our God is and what he’s done for us.
Think about it for a minute. What important milestones have happened in your Christian walk? What events, people or circumstances have shown you his love or healing touch? Keep a journal or create memorials of those events so that whenever you look at them or celebrate them you remember and worship him!