The significance of the bread from heaven
“And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.”
Beyond the physical bread the children of Israel ate, what they desperately needed was the words that should come from the mouth of the Lord to teach and guide them on their wilderness journey because they have not gone that way before. They needed words from the Almighty on a daily basis to preserve and comfort them, but they are a spiritually insensitive and self-serving people which were not all that concerned with what God have to say or command but on what to eat and drink.
Their Wilderness Journey Experience
After taking their journey from Elim to the wilderness of Zin, they became very hungry and began to murmur against Moses and Aaron with bitter lamentations to the point of even wishing they had died by the hand of the Lord in Egypt when they sat at the fleshpot and ate bread to the full. They were only willing to get to that Promised Land as long as they won’t have to be in want of any of the things (food and water) that would make their journey worth it
However, God heard the murmurings of the people and promised to rain bread from heaven each morning, which he began to fulfil. This bread from heaven was a small round thing that looked like coriander seed (Exodus 16:31) formed in the morning after the dew went up. It is white and tasted like wafers made with honey
When we read the word of God, it is like eating this manna. Sweet to our heart and like a dew on our thirsty soul.
How it works
“…Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day…”
Though God’s provision was readily available all over the camp of the Israelites, they must go out to gather it every morning. The word of God will give us different nourishment only when we painstakingly and deliberately go for it and eat (study) it. – Exodus 16:4
The Unknown Food
The children of Israel called it manna because they knew not what it was (Exodus 16:15), but Moses told them that it is the bread which God has given them to eat.
When we are spiritually blind, we would not be able to recognize the bread from heaven. In his earthly ministry, he came in form of a man, the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, yet we knew him not, [even] beholding his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father. It takes the Spirit of God and spiritual discernment to understand the things of God.
God’s Command to the children of Israel by Moses – #1
God gave command to Moses on how the children of Israel were to gather their daily food and how to gather it on the sixth day… Saying,
“This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents. And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less. And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.”
The people did as Moses, the servant of God has spoken. Some more some less. Those that gathered more were okay with it and those that gathered less wanted nothing, every man according to his eating.
The word of God cannot be too much or too little when we eat it (study). Each person is satisfied by the message received therein whether it is from an intensive Bible study or from just a verse.
God’s Command to the children of Israel by Moses – #2
“And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning. Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them.”
Whether they gathered more or less, it cannot be carried over to the next day.
The nourishment, instruction or revelation we get from the word of God a day is just enough for that day. We need to reach out for the Word each morning for new nourishment. We can’t eat so much meal today as to skip meal the next day or week, neither can we use yesterday’s strategy to confront today’s challenge else we would fail woefully and the enemy will take advantage of us. We need a new word from the Lord each day.
God’s Command to the children of Israel by Moses – #3
“And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.”
The only exception to gathering manna each day was on the sixth day. Twice as much is expected to be gathered on the sixth day against the seventh day which is the sabbath of rest. No man is expected to do any work nor go out, for it is God’s holy day.
The Sabbath day is a special day when we, regardless of whether we have our personal Bible study or not, are refreshed in the presence of the Lord. As long as we keep the day holy according to the word of God, our soul will not be left hungry. This pattern of divine providence continued for the rest of their wilderness experience.
The Daily Bread
“And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited, until they came to the borders of Canaan.”
The children of Israel lived by the word of God forty years. The manna is an embodiment of divine laws, directives instructions, and ordinances which the Lord instructed them with. This proved to us that “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out from the mouth of God.” We must live by the word of God for our overall success and spiritual upkeep. Their eating manna for forty years also showed the constancy, yet dynamics of the word of God.
The Word never changes but it has different applications and insights to the one who reads or study it on a daily basis. When we study God’s word, deeper revelations, insights and truth we find from the same text and verses of the Scripture. This was seen from how differently the children of Israel prepared their manna. They could either eat it the way it came, or they could also bake it (Numbers 11:7,8).
The account of Exodus 16 is quite a striking and interesting one. It is worth to ponder on until all we need to know is revealed to its full.
All through their wilderness journey, there was never an occasion where any among them fell sick or became feeble by reason of an inadequate or insufficient diet. The bread from heaven which God rained down for the children of Israel for 40 years is nothing but his word. The children of Israel were desperate about what to eat which made them murmured and complain with bitter accusations against Moses and Aaron. But God proved to them that the words that come out of his mouth can be lived for and can sustain spirit, soul, and body. He rained down bread from heaven by his word to feed the people
Physically speaking, they did eat manna forty years, but spiritually speaking, they did live by divine instructions and directives which came from the mouth of God forty years “… Until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.” THIS MANNA can be said to be an embodiment of laws, commandments, status, and ordinance which God instructed them with, for by it it was gathered, and by it, it was eaten. The word is what we live for.
Following divine command and instructions is imperative to our success in life and ministry. The word of God has no adverse effect when taken as it is. It is able to keep and sustain us for the period it is meant to.
The children of Israel, upon seeing the seed-like food all over their camp and was ready to gather, asked, “What is it?” They called it manna “for they wist not what it was”
At some point they became over familiar and tired of the food and began to murmur again against God and Moses for flesh to eat. They said, “our soul loatheth this light bread”. It is dangerous to call the word of God a light thing. Though simple, yet it is weighty. God sent fiery serpents that bit many of them and much people of the children of Israel died for calling the bread from heaven ‘light’. Because they mixed not faith to discover how rich and nourishing this heavenly food is, they became tired of it. The word of God could taste like honey today, and tomorrow like grape fruit. If we believe, it shall be so for us.