Marvelous Manna

Bill Brinkworth

It was not long before the Israelites, freed from their many years of Egyptian bondage, started complaining about their situation.  “… Would toGod we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full …” (Exodus 16:3). They cried and complained because of lack of food in the wilderness.

They had forgotten the years they had been beaten as slaves, lost all their freedoms, and were demanded to work building the Pharaoh’s cities in the overpowering, Egyptian heat. Even their many decades of begging God for their freedom escaped their thoughts.  All that was on their minds was their hunger, as they traveled in the desert wilderness.

God heard their cries against Moses and Aaron, their leaders (Ex. 16:2), for leading them into the situation in which they found themselves.  However, the Lord provided for their needs in a miraculous way, to show His people He would take care of them.

Each morning, as the dew lay upon their ground, the Israelites found their morning meal. The small, round morsel was white, about the tiny size of a coriander seed, but it tasted like wafers made with honey (Ex. 16.31).

The old and young came out to gather what they could eat. The young took all their young bellies could hold.  The hard-working men took a much larger portion to satisfy their appetites.  Wives took what they needed, and perhaps what their young ones required.  When all had taken their fill, none remained. God had rained just enough of the same “bread” (Ex. 16:15) that the angels on high did eat (Psalms 78:24-25), for each person under His care.

To teach His people to trust Him for their daily provisions, they were not allowed to save any of the food for the next day.  Some tried to store it up, but found that it stank and turned to worms (Ex. 16:20).  They had no other choice but to trust that God would provide for them every day. Good to His word, God provided this heavenly food for His people for 40 years.

More of God’s miraculous provision of the manna occurred on the Sabbath, the day the Hebrews were commanded not to work. The day before, Friday, God told them to gather what they would need for that day and the Sabbath.  They were to do all the work of preparing the meal on Friday.  Some boiled it.  Some baked it.

It did not turn to worms, nor did it stink that Friday afternoon, or Saturday.  God saw to it that they could obey what He had commanded them and still have their hunger satisfied.

The Hebrews learned, although they often forgot, what Christians should also learn.  We are not to trust in bank accounts, although we need to be wise, good stewards and save if we can.  We are not to trust a government to provide, nor our parents or friends.  The main direction we are to look for all our needs is toward Heaven.

It may be a little scary without having what we consider “security” for provision of what could happen tomorrow.  The truth of the matter is that nothing is secure except God’s help.  Investments can go sour, and all can be lost.  Money put away for a “rainy day” can be stolen. Welfare checks can stop on the whim of a new politician. Friend’s help can vanish, as they tend to their own needs.  Our job may let us down, when economic downturns force layoffs. None of us has any promise that we will have our needs met, unless we are trusting in the Lord’s provision.

As God taught the Hebrews wandering in the wilderness, the only secure provider is God.  In that lesson, we see that He wants us to trust Him for our “daily bread” (Mat. 6:11).

God had also taught them that there is never an excuse to break His laws to meet our needs. Hunger is not an excuse to steal something to feed ourselves.  Lying and deceitfulness are not options, just so we can get money from someone to meet our needs.  God can change the situation; so He can provide without our sinning and breaking His commandments.

Be it hungry Hebrews in the wilderness, a single parent that just has lost her job, or a student  looking for a way to pay his college tuition, the same God that provided in the past, can meet your needs today.  If you are a Christian, call upon Him for His help, and wait patiently as He provides. God may not choose to use manna, but He can still provide for your needs in a miraculous way. He knows is best.

dftb 6/16

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