“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. 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.” Exodus 16:4-5
Unfortunately, the cranky Israelites and I have more in common then I would like to think.
We have all heard and/or read their story in Exodus. Maybe, you have even scolded them for it. God was giving them manna, which they did not deserve. God had always been faithful before – what reason had they not to trust him? Yet despite all they knew, the Israelites complained, went searching for manna on the Sabbath, and stocked up on extra manna – in case God was not in a rain-down-manna mood. It is so easy to look at them, as we do many other obviously human characters in the Bible and point a finger. Don’t they know to just trust God? Why are they complaining – God could be giving them nothing, making them eat worms and crickets?
Sometimes I think we like to point out others spiritual flaws, making them transparent, taking the attention away from our own refusal to be transparent, even with God (ironic, since he already knows everything about us). How often do we refuse to trust? OR do we trust but complain our way through it?
I understand – manna is not a double chocolate cupcake with extra chocolate chips and fudge frosting, nor was it intended to be. The Israelites described it this way, “It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey” (Exodus 16:32). Even the person who said, “I could live on manna” was probably craving cheese pizza (or pita bread with olives) after forty years. But manna satisfies.
How is God giving you manna? Maybe God is giving you manna with your friends: the people that “get” you the most live hours away. However, the emails and packages they send satisfy your need for a friend. It might not always be your food of choice – especially when you see a pack of girls and guys’ laughing at the football game – but it satisfies.
Maybe your manna is in your family life: your parents do things that you know go against God’s will. They undulate between being wild teenagers and prison wardens, when you really just want biblical parents. But the women and men at your church and school who comfort you, feed your spiritual needs, and give you age-old wisdom are God’s manna; of course you would rather your parents fill the role of parents, but God is satisfying your need.
No matter what you are going through, remember God is always faithful. He was not going to let the Israelites starve, and He certainly isn’t going to let you. Imagine how good anything besides manna tasted after forty years – and imagine the joy and awe you will have for God when he gives a little more than manna, with whatever you are going through. We all have our manna days, our manna weeks, and even manna years. The times when we have to focus on the fact that God is still there, still faithful, and is still satisfying our needs. He will never give us manna without a purpose. And when you think that all hope is lost, your life is falling apart, and God does not seem to care anymore – God gives manna, and manna satisfies.
Deuteronomy 8:3, 10, 16
“He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD[. . .] When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you [. . .] He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you.”