The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate the produce of Canaan. Joshua 5:12

Overnight something the Israelites took for granted stopped. Now they had to find food for themselves which would require initiative, thought and effort.

It reminds me how at the end of each year we wish everyone a happy new year and there is an underlying expectation that the new year will bring comfort and ease. Even as Christians we often expect things to become easier as we grow in our spiritual lives and we become disillusioned when this isn’t the case.

Yet God doesn’t tell us life will get easier if anything the opposite is true. As we grow in faith God will send us bigger challenges. He expects us to mature in our faith. The Israelites entered the Promised Land and their first challenge was to find food, no longer would they be spoon-fed. As we grow in our Christian life we have to learn to feed ourselves spiritually. We cannot rely on our spiritual leaders to feed us on Sundays or once a week at a Bible study group. We learn how to find spiritual nourishment for ourselves by engaging in spiritual disciplines.

Furthermore, they entered the Promised Land “armed for battle” (4:13). They were expecting conflict. We also shouldn’t be surprised when we encounter conflict. There will be those who oppose us, disagree with us and make life difficult. However, we’re armed for battle when we know how to rely on God for his strengthening and enabling.

Life wasn’t easy in the Promised Land! It required faith and the same is true for us.