In the Old Testament, the nation of Israel had just left captivity in Egypt and while that was exciting, the logistical reality was that there were a lot of mouths to feed on their 40-year hike through the wilderness. The Lord’s response was to feed them DAILY BREAD called manna. Let’s pick up the story in Exodus 16.
1The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. 2 In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” 4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. 5 On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.” 6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of Egypt, 7 and in the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we, that you should grumble against us?” 8 Moses also said, “You will know that it was the Lord when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord.”
The Easton’s Bible Dictionary gives this insight about Manna-
Manna—Heb. man-hu, “What is that?” the name given by the Israelites to the food miraculously supplied to them during their wanderings in the wilderness (Ex. 16:15–35). The name is commonly taken as derived from man, an expression of surprise, “What is it?” but more probably it is derived from manan, meaning “to allot,” and hence denoting an “allotment” or a “gift.” This “gift” from God is described as “a small round thing,” like the “hoar-frost on the ground,” and “like coriander seed,” “of the colour of bdellium,” and in taste “like wafers made with honey.” It was capable of being baked and boiled, ground in mills, or beaten in a mortar (Ex. 16:23; Num. 11:7). If any was kept over till the following morning, it became corrupt with worms; but as on the Sabbath none fell, on the preceding day a double portion was given, and that could be kept over to supply the wants of the Sabbath without becoming corrupt. Directions concerning the gathering of it are fully given (Ex. 16:16–18, 33; Deut. 8:3, 16). It fell for the first time after the eighth encampment in the desert of Sin, and was daily furnished, except on the Sabbath, for all the years of the wanderings, till they encamped at Gilgal, after crossing the Jordan, when it suddenly ceased, and where they “did eat of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more” (Josh. 5:12). They now no longer needed the “bread of the wilderness.”
It is interesting to note that God describes His provision a “bread from heaven” and the Israelites describe His provision as “what is that?”. What an ungrateful lot they were. Or should I say “we are”. In this world of Powerball Desires characterized by millions of people covetously desiring to win the lottery and live out the rest of their lives in glut, it is an interesting contrast this idea of living day to day trusting God to provide for us. Long gone for many Americans are the days of day-laboring where we eat what we kill on that day. We have moved to a system where we measure ourselves by how much we have left over.
Our ministry spends a lot of time helping families manage their finances in such a way that they can move away from paycheck to paycheck living. But as I think about Manna, I wonder if there is not a certain blessing in understanding that it is indeed God who loves us and takes care of our daily need for bread. Oh well, time to go pay the bills. Thanks Lord for the Manna for this batch of bills!
There is a classic song by Keith Green that tells a funny story about Manna that you should check out! So You Want To Go Back to Egypt.