It is a well known and often discussed chapter in the history of Israel. Their time in Egypt was behind them, Israel had been freed from the shackles of oppression and slavery, they had successfully crossed the Red Sea, seeing the power of an omnipotent God parting it, and witnessing as it returned to its full depths covering the chariots, the horsemen, and all the army of Pharaoh that had come into the sea after them.
They were well on their way to the Promised Land, when on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt the whole congregation of the children of Israel began to murmur. Long forgotten were the miracles that they saw with their own eyes, long forgotten were the beatings and the ill treatment they suffered at the hands of the Egyptians, they actually began to look back on their time in Egypt with fondness.
Selective memory leads to some very foolish reasoning on man’s part. Never mind the fact that they were slaves, no, that had somehow been stricken from their memory, all that they remembered was sitting by the pots of meat, and eating bread to the full. They even went as far as accusing Moses and Aaron of leading them into the wilderness to kill the whole assembly with hunger.
Being the merciful God that He is, He informed Moses and Aaron, that He would rain bread from heaven for them, and that the people should go gather a certain quota every day. The reason for being given the specific instruction of gathering only a certain quota every day, was so God could test them, and see whether they would walk in His law or not.
Today the manna with which the children of Israel were fed, symbolizes the word of God for those of us who have been circumcised of the heart. Just as the manna was necessary for Israel as they journeyed through the desert, the word of God is necessary for us, as we journey through this world. Just as the pots of meat in Egypt were no longer good or comestible for the children of Israel, the things of this world are no longer good for our spiritual well being. When we come to Jesus, He is our portion; He is the bread of life, and the living water that nourishes our souls. If we look back on the world with fondness as Israel looked upon Egypt, it is only because we choose to use selective memories of what it was to be a slave of sin. We remember the seconds of pleasure, but readily forget the years of hardship, travail, disappointment and hopelessness. Another correlation that can be drawn between the Israel of old an God’s people today, is that we need to be fed of God, just as they needed to be fed of God. There is no food in the desert! Absent of God’s sovereign provision, our spiritual man is sure to starve in this spiritual desert through which we are journeying. As God did for Israel, He will do for His elect and beloved today, He will feed us with His manna, if only we are willing to submit, and trust Him for our spiritual food. Our Promised Land is still afar off, just as Israel’s was, and we have far to journey through the desert of this world, and with the knowledge of this truth at the forefront of our minds, we must establish some truths concerning the believer’s portion, and the nature of the manna with which we feed our hungry souls.
First, the manna comes from heaven. Man cannot duplicate the authenticity of God’s spiritual nourishment, and although we’ve tried to sustain spiritual life by other means, other teachings, other sources of nourishment all we’ve really ended up doing is becoming a comatose and incontinent church, that cannot muster enough strength to feed itself, and so must depend on the kindness of strangers to spoon feed it.
John 6:32-33, “Then Jesus said to them, ‘most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
The second thing we must understand is that this bread from heaven, this spiritual nourishment for the soul, does not come from man, but rather from God. It is not a new practice that men will take credit for the things of God. Since the beginning of existence, men have tried to elevate themselves, by refusing to give God the glory, the honor and the praise, reveling in it as though they had done something, as though they had accomplished what God had.
John 3:17, “For God did not send His Son Jesus into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
God sends the manna, our only responsibility is to distribute it unaltered, and give it to those who are hungry for the truth of His word. Yes, I said give it, because another aspect of the manna that we must understand is that it is free. How can one charge for something that is not theirs in the first place? How can we put a price tag on something that God has bestowed upon all men freely? Such practices can be likened to the men of old who attempted to sell the Brooklyn Bridge, or the Statue of liberty. It is not mine to sell, it is mine to distribute, it is mine to shout from the rooftops that I not only know the source of spiritual nourishment, but that I know where you can find it if you hunger, free of charge. All we can do, is say as Paul said, ‘thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!’
The believer’s provision is also filling. It satisfies, and it satiates, it causes the spirit to grow and mature giving it what is necessary. He is sufficient! There is all sufficiency in God, if we are diligent in pursuing Him.
The people of Israel had to gather their manna every morning. They were not allowed to store up for the next day, and when they tried, it spoiled. We are instructed in God’s word to daily renew our minds, to daily eat of the word, and drink of the living waters, to daily crucify our flesh, so that we might daily grow in grace and mercy. Just because we read a passage of scripture a week ago, it does not mean our soul is full, it does not mean that we are satiated. We must daily endeavor to know more of God, and learn of His wondrous works. Be diligent in your seeking of God, and He will reward you, be diligent in reading His word, and you will have wisdom.
Proverbs 8:17, “I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me.”
If we will trust in the Lord, and accept no other nourishment for our souls than that which comes from the hand of God, we will walk boldly in the knowledge that He will provide throughout our journey home. His hand is not short, and He can feed his people in the desert as long as they look to Him and are diligent in seeking Him.
Do not look back to the meat and the bread of Egypt, because they are as poison for your soul. That which the Lord has prepared is so much better and more nourishing than anything Egypt has to offer, and He freely gives it to all who ask it of Him.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.