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May 24, 2011

Quiet Time

After this the people gathered the food morning by morning, each family according to its need. And as the sun became hot, the flakes they had not picked up melted and disappeared.  – Exodus 16:21

I’m intrigued by this verse. There’s something about the mention of the sun’s heat that melted the manna glistening like dew on the morning ground that registers with me. 

The Israelites have just been given manna – an incredible gift of God’s provision. Each morning, they emerged from their tents to find the ground laden with “corn flakes from above” – fresh food straight from heaven. Gathering it was their first focus of the day-their priority. “Morning by morning” they were diligent about the task of using their first wakeful moments to move about the camp, getting their fill of the bread of heaven.

They were proactive and deliberate and the reason for their urgency is found in the rising of the sun. For when it ascended over the horizon and settled in its towering position in the heavens, the manna that remained would melt away, seared by the heat from above. The Israelites would have to wait for the next day to get their fresh supply.

Maybe this ancient illustration depicts for us the reason why our hearts often stir for a fresh word from God early in the morning. Maybe God’s Spirit in us is beckoning us to seek his “fresh bread” from his Holy Word and to communicate with Him in prayer and worship during the first moments of our day because He knows what we often forget: The sun is coming. The heat of the day’s trials, the energy-stealing blaze of the day’s events, the overwhelming brazenness of the next 24 hours will likely cause a melting to occur – one that leaves only traces of the fresh Word and holy experience that the crisp morning hours offer.

Morning. . . .

It’s really a principle, not merely a time of day. Morning signifies a position of priority – a place of preeminence.  For my friend, Michelle, who works in an ER from 7pm to 7am, she is poised to receive God’s best at a time when most of us are just settling in for the evening. Indeed, your morning can only be known by . . . you. Considering when the “’heat” of your day normally sets in is an indicator of when that time begins.

So, I’m reminded and encouraged today – not only to come to his table often. . . but to come early. I’m convinced that receiving His choice fruits often depends upon it.