Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The #1 Reason to Wake Up Early

Have you ever had a craving (non-pregnant) and gotten out of bed-- you may or may not have even suffered to put on an undergarment (ladies) simply to go after that delicious Peanut Butter Sonic shake…or Zaxby's Banana shake…or whatever?

I may or may not have done that i.e. created a mouth watering description so my husband craved one and went instead.

But you know what I love more than any of those sweet treats.

Mornings with Jesus. When the house is still. It's just the gurgling coffee pot, my bedhead, and the lover of my soul. Alone. And I’m passionate about passing that love off on you. On my Wednesday night class. On my children. I want to see Christians everywhere longing for the treasure of God through His word.

Today's post may be a little longer than usual, but I pray it not only blesses you, but moves you with excitement to fill up on the sweetness of Jesus Christ.

In preparation for my class on reading and studying the Word of God, my lesson I normally teach took a drastic turn. And I'm thankful it did.

If you have your Bible in your hand, take a look at Exodus chapter 16. If not, you can
read it later. I hope you will!

The Israelites had been led out of Egypt, which represents bondage many times in scripture. They were slaves. Miserable. And they cried out to God. Who heard them! I love that God not only hears the cries of His people, but He acts. He rose up a deliverer. You know him by the name, Moses.

When they left Egypt, they journeyed into the wilderness with a few stops. They'd seen the Red Sea parted, bitter waters turned sweet by tossing a branch in. But when they entered the Wilderness of Sin (pronounced Seen and has nothing to do with actual sin--in fact the word in Hebrew means thorns and clay) they grumbled and complained.

"Oh that we had died by the hand of the LORD in Egypt when we sat by pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full!" Exodus 16:3

According to Numbers 11:5, they had pots of stew, onions, leeks, garlic and bread. The people of God were freaked out. Fear sometimes does that--freaks us out and makes us forget the former miracles of God.

But God does not lead us into new places of promise to watch us wither and die. He has every intention of filling us to the full.

Bread to the full. I can picture God, "Oh, you want bread? You have never seen the kind of bread I’m about to give you. Watch. And. See."

Verse 7 of Exodus 16 says, "And in the morning you shall see glory of the LORD."

God was about to supply them with bread from heaven. Something they'd never seen before. That's why it's called Manna. It means, "What is it?"

Exodus 16 accompanied with Numbers 11 tells us a few things about this Manna.

  • It was small and round, like coriander seed.
  • It came with the dew and when the dew lifted, it covered the ground
  • Moses said, "This is the bread of which LORD has given you to eat."
  • And it came with detailed instructions.

They had to gather it every morning. When? Every. Morning. Why? Verse 21 tells us that when the sun became hot, it melted away. We're coming back to that.

Hang with me, I know this post is long.

So what does this have to do with us today? Many of know that Jesus represents the Manna. This OT account is a foreshadowing of Jesus. And God is in the details. I want you to see it. And I want you to long for the Word of God….for the Bread of Heaven. Let's dig into some scripture.

John 1:1-5 says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

John 1:14 goes on to say, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory…"

Now go back and insert the word JESUS in every place you read "Word." Did you do it? Well, go do it!

Jesus is the Word. Now, lets' pick up in John Chapter 6. Jesus has just fed the multitude with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread. A miracle. Then he walked on water to the neighboring town. Cause He's Jesus and He does stuff like that. I chose the MSG translation for this next passage because it packs a punch.

John 6:22-40:

22-24 The next day the crowd that was left behind realized that there had been only one
boat, and that Jesus had not gotten into it with his disciples. They had seen them go off without him. By now boats from Tiberias had pulled up near where they had eaten the bread blessed by the Master. So when the crowd realized he was gone and wasn’t coming back, they piled into the Tiberias boats and headed for Capernaum, looking for Jesus.

25 When they found him back across the sea, they said, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
26 Jesus answered, “You’ve come looking for me not because you saw God in my actions but because I fed you, filled your stomachs—and for free.

27 “Don’t waste your energy striving for perishable food like that. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides. He and what he does are guaranteed by God the Father to last.”

28 To that they said, “Well, what do we do then to get in on God’s works?”

29 Jesus said, “Throw your lot in with the One that God has sent. That kind of a commitment gets you in on God’s works.” (NKJV says, Believe in Him whom He sent; believe in Jesus)

30-31 They waffled: “Why don’t you give us a clue about who you are, just a hint of what’s going on? When we see what’s up, we’ll commit ourselves. Show us what you can do. Moses fed our ancestors with bread in the desert. It says so in the Scriptures: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”

32-33 Jesus responded, “The real significance of that Scripture is not that Moses gave you bread from heaven but that my Father is right now offering you bread from heaven, the real bread. The Bread of God came down out of heaven and is giving life to the world.”

34 They jumped at that: “Master, give us this bread, now and forever!”

35-38 Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go. I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me.
no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don’t really believe me. Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me.

39-40 “This, in a nutshell, is that will: that everything handed over to me by the Father be completed—not a single detail missed—and at the wrap-up of time I have everything and everyone put together, upright and whole. This is what my Father wants: that anyone who sees the Son and trusts who he is and what he does and then aligns with him will enter real life, eternal life. My part is to put them on their feet alive and whole at the completion of time."

Jesus is the real Manna. Jesus is the Word. Jesus is the Bread of Heaven. Jesus holds onto you and does. Not. Let. Go. Ever. He puts you on your feet alive and whole! He expects us to fill up on Him.

When the Spirit drove him into the…what? WILDERNESS, and Satan tempted Him, He replied with ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’” And we know that the Word is Jesus himself from the earlier scripture in John 1. 

The Word.

Matthew 26:26, Jesus is instituting a new covenant, "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”  This is symbolic, just in case you got grossed out or thought, "She really needs to lay off the show Hannibal."

When Jesus taught us how to pray he said in Luke 11:3, "Give us day by day our daily bread."

How often are we to have bread? Daily?
Exodus 16:4 The people were to go out and gather it according to their need daily.

Get up and gather what you need for the day. Before the noon heat comes--the trials, unexpected circumstances, grumpy co-workers, rebellious teens wake up--they ain't getting up before noon--financial crisis, bills come in the mail, rent is due, the car breaks down or runs out of air, the babies get sick and you lose your insurance. Heat of the day. Before the hot noon sun beats you down. Before all of this comes, gather your daily bread. Be filled. Be ready. Be content. Satisfied.

Because when the heat comes and you haven't gathered your bread for the day, you'll
melt. You'll melt.

This is where I beg you to do it early! And for sake of word count--too late--I can't give you dozens of scriptures about seeking God early and God Himself meeting you early, but… look up the keywords: early, morning, seek in Biblegateway. Do it early!

Now that's not to say God won't meet your needs if you don't get up early. His mercies are new every day and His compassion fail not. Any time with God is a great time for God. But for the love God, literally, do it! If for no other reason. If you can't come up with some good motivation other than, "I'm a Christian and I'm supposed to." Which I cringe at but have said. How about this, for crying out loud!

This is it! Right here!! Pay attention!

Let's revisit Numbers 11:8-9. Let's breakdown this Manna together. I want you to see the God of details. I want you to feel the love Jesus has for you! And here it is:

The had a part to play in receiving this bread of heaven. What does it say they did?

Gather it
Ground it
Beat it
Cook it
And then they ate of it. It's taste was sweet like a pastry with honey. Exodus 16:31

What does this have to do with Jesus?

Gathered: John 18:3 tells us, "Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons." And in Luke 22:54 we see,  "Having arrested Him, they led Him and brought Him into the high priest’s house.

They went out and found him. They gathered Him up.

Ground: In the Hebrew this word is "tachan" (tah-han) and it means to crush.
Isaiah 53:5 says, "But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed."

 The word bruised in Hebrew is: "daka" (duhah) and it means "to be crushed." " to be shattered".

He was crushed, ground just like the coriander seed.

Beat: Matthew 26:67 tells us, "Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others
struck Him with the palms of their hands… Luke 19:2-3 "And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. Then they said, Hail, King of the Jews! And they struck him with their hands."

Where were the Israelites when God rained down bread of heaven? What environment were they in? The Wilderness of Sin--a place of thorns. Here is the Bread of Heaven, being gathered, ground/crushed, beat--prepared with thorns upon His head.

This is no coincidence. This is the mastery of our Lord. The details. We can trust someone who works things out down to the minute detail…down to thorns.

Cooked: They took a cat of nine tails, filled with bone fragments, and they tenderized his flesh. (Matthew 27:26)

Then they cooked him on a cross. They watched as he baked. John 19:30 "He said, It is finished!" And bowing His head (even humble in death) he gave up His spirit.

Death on a cross was like a crock pot kind of death. Slow. And sometimes they would hurry the process by breaking the legs of the criminals, but when they came to Jesus, he had already died. But just to make sure he was done. John 19:34 tell us, "But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear. And blood and water flowed." As if sticking a fork in him--the juices running out.

But that's not the end! It had to be this way in order to get to this next part!

Sweet to taste:  Exodus 16:31  lets us in on the fact that the Manna, "was like white coriander seed, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey."

John 19:39-42: "So he came and took the body of Jesus. And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury."

Catch those key words: myrrh, spices…aloes.

 Song of Solomon is a symbolic description of the lover of our souls--our beloved, our savior, our king. In chapter 5:13 the spouse, the bride, says, "His cheeks are like a bed of spices, Banks of scented herbs. His lips are lilies, Dripping liquid myrrh."

In chapter 3:6 of the same book, she sees her Beloved. Look where He is coming from. And what He is like.

 "Who is this coming out of the wilderness, Like pillars of smoke, Perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, With all the merchant’s fragrant powders?"

Notice He has been in the wilderness--a place of thorns. And He reminds her of pillars of smoke, the very way He led His beloveds those forty years. And see how He is perfumed? With what? Myrrh.

We are talking about Jesus! We are taking about the Word! Spiritual food.

"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!" Psalm 34:8

"How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!"
 Psalm 119:103

"The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold; Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward." Psalm 19:9-11
He is the Bread of Heaven. He is the Word. He is sweet to taste. Oh He loves it when we fall into His word and lap Him up. When we're so full of Him. So much so, He says in Song of  Solomon 4:11 to His bride, "Your lips, O my spouse, Drip as the honeycomb; Honey and milk are under your tongue."

Don't you want to drip His sweetness when you open your mouth? Don't you want others to know what you've been eating? Don't you want to ooze with the sweet taste of Jesus. Just wallow in His goodness.

You're not just reading your Bible. Your immersing yourself in Jesus Himself. And when you've spent time with Him--the sweet Bread of Heaven, expect to drip with goodness. Pour it out all over those around who are hungry.

I hope you stuck out the lengthy teaching today. And I pray that He moves you to sacrifice some time (preferably in the still of morning before the heat comes) and love on the Word.

See ya'll next Wednesday! Also, are there any topics you'd like me cover over the summer? I'm open for study/devotional ideas! If you want to message me privately, my email address is on the CONNECT page at the top right corner of the site. 

What is your favorite sweet treat? And what do you think holds you back from diving into God's Word?


  1. Thanks for my morning study, Jess. Anytime you want to go over word count with holy anointing like this, let me know! I'll be here on Wednesdats to join you!!

    1. Well, now that I have permission, it's on! :) Thanks, Susan!

  2. Wow, Jessica. You came back with a vengeance after your blog break. This is awesome.

    1. I'm sure people are going to think, "Oh so since she's posting only one day through summer she's going to make it long enough for 3 days!" LOL Thanks, Julie!

  3. LOVE!! Your love for Jesus always, always challenges me.

  4. So good this morning! I love God's eye for detail. It reassures us that He has a plan, and nothing takes Him by surprise.

    Favorite sweet treat: Chocolate, of course!

    1. I'm a detail person so when I see it in God it makes me jump and down! :)

  5. I can't tell you how much I LOVE and needed this post, Girlfriend! You nailed it with: "But God does not lead us into new places of promise to watch us wither and die. He has every intention of filling us to the full." I'm printing this one out for continual reference. Man, I love how much you love Jesus.

  6. Perfect!! I just started a new schedule today and the first thing I did after getting dressed and putting the coffee on was dive into the Word. It's my routine--a routine I won't part with!

    I love how you mentioned manna melting. So true. We need our manna first thing, before all the other stuff crowds it out and leaves us panting.

  7. Loved this, and needed the reminder to get up early for time with God. Because in my crazy life with a three year old, if its not early, its not happening. Bless you, Jess!

  8. I love the early mornings before anyone else is up. Like you, I grab a cup of coffee and sit with my Bible and journal. It is a sweet time, for sure. There are days when I feel too tired or too busy to take the time to spend in the Word, but truly, those are the days I need it the most.

    Great lesson.

  9. Oh that was sweet and I feel full now! Loved this lesson!
    Early morning--or sometimes REALLY early if I can't sleep--with the Lord is the best. I feel like I can really be still and listen.


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