It is not unusual that a person pass through times of trials with sacrifice and deprivation to get to where they want to go on their life journey. Sometimes these trials are the result of having chosen to follow unhealthy pathways of life such as people addicted to drugs and alcohol who must go through treatment and withdrawal if they want to be free. People escaping from persecution and violence must often leave their homes and almost all possessions behind, suffer privation and walk great distances to get to a refugee camp.
The situation of the Israelites in our first reading, escaping from Egypt, was similar. They were not exactly in danger of dying from hunger, as they said, since they still had their sheep and cattle. Some livestock was probably dying from lack of good water and pasture in the desert, but the animals were their most valuable possession and source of income. They did not want to slaughter any for food. This indicates their reluctance to put their trust and their future completely in God’s hands. Rather than grumble back, God understands and promises to give them manna and quail even before Moses can ask. Receiving the manna six days a week will relieve the people’s anxiety and heighten their reliance on God to provide for them. God says that this will be a “test” for the people, but what God is testing is not completely clear. It may be a test of their finding security in God or accepting deprivation for the time with hope in God’s providential guidance to a better future.
What things or circumstances are we relying on for our ultimate security rather than on God?