Let me set the scene for you for this piece. Israel had just been rescued from bondage and slavery. They had seen the hand of God in the plagues that He sent against Egypt and Pharaoh. They had witnessed the miracle of God parting the Red Sea so they could escape Pharaoh’s soldiers. You think they would be appreciative. You think they would be in awe of such a mighty God. But Israel is a lot like we are. Even though they knew how great, merciful and mighty God was, they took Him for granted and cared only about themselves, and selfishly only thought about their fleshly needs. After all that God had done for them, they still complained about being free.
A lot of times when Jesus sets us free, we are tempted to look back when we were living in sin and say, “God why couldn’t you just leave things the way they were, it’s too hard being a Christian”. That was much the attitude of Israel. God has just feed them from slavery and what is the first thing they say after being freed. Here let’s read it…
1-3 On the fifteenth day of the second month after they had left Egypt, the whole company of Israel moved on from Elim to the Wilderness of Sin which is between Elim and Sinai. The whole company of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron there in the wilderness. The Israelites said, “Why didn’t God let us die in comfort in Egypt where we had lamb stew and all the bread we could eat? You’ve brought us out into this wilderness to starve us to death, the whole company of Israel!”
In spite of all that God had done for them, they were already wishing they remained slaves instead of trusting Jehovah-Jireh, our Lord who provides. Moses reminds them, “You haven’t been complaining against us, you know, but against God.” You ever complain to your pastor or a friend about how you think that God has failed you, or let you down in some way? You ever tell anyone, I don’t see why God would let this happen to me. Remember that is a direct complaint against God. But as he is merciful to you and me, He was merciful to Israel. So he provided food for them.
So God said to Moses, “I’m going to rain bread down from the skies for you. The people will go out and gather each day’s ration.
God spoke to Moses, “I’ve listened to the complaints of the Israelites. Now tell them: ‘At dusk you will eat meat and at dawn you’ll eat your fill of bread; and you’ll realize that I am God, your God.'”
13-15 That evening quail flew in and covered the camp and in the morning there was a layer of dew all over the camp. When the layer of dew had lifted, there on the wilderness ground was a fine flaky something, fine as frost on the ground. The Israelites took one look and said to one another, manna (What is it?). They had no idea what it was.
So here we have God providing food for Israel, telling them ahead of time what it was, when it was coming and where to get it, but when they see it, they say, “What is it?” They had no idea what it was. Moses had to tell them, “It’s the bread God has given you to eat…Duh… (duh from author, not Moses)
They were clueless. I feel sometimes we become that way. We are praying asking God for something in our life. Sometimes we may be praying for something miraculous, or maybe praying for something small. But when God answers our prayer and the answer is sitting right in front of us, we ask “what is it?”
One lesson to be learned here is how Israel approached the problem. They always directed their problems toward their “spiritual leader” Moses instead of going to God directly. As a result God would tell Moses and Moses would relay the messages to Israel.
God has given us wonderful leaders and pastors to help us in our Christian walk. But instead of going to them all the time to hear from God, God expects us to get into direct communication with Him personally…. Pray…. Get resolution……Know what’s coming and receive it when it gets here. By being in direct communication with our Lord, and learning to recognize the sound of His voice, instead of asking, “what is it” when it arrives, we will be able to say “It is here, this is it, Hallelujah’.
Israel was given manna from Heaven and did not recognize the gift that they were receiving, because they were not listening to their God and they were following their flesh instead of following the Spirit of God. You and I have been given a greater manna from Heaven in the form of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus taught us the true meaning and importance of manna. Jesus said…..
John 6:48-51……..I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
So let us recognize the ”New Bread from Heaven” in the Body of our Lord, and as we eat of this bread we will inherit eternal life…as He is the Bread of Life. We who are in Christ no longer call it “manna”, for we know what it is!