I love the story of God’s provision of manna for the people of Israel as they left Egypt and traveled to the Promised Land.
The Israelites traveled through Elim after they were freed from Egypt. Many began to doubt God’ provision after realizing there was no natural food there for the people to eat. God, however, is not limited to the natural.
He met their needs by providing manna, a flake-like bread for them to eat. Every morning they gathered fresh manna from the ground, only enough for the day. If they tried to save it for the next day, it would spoil overnight and be un-eatable. The one exception to this rule came on the sixth day, however. They were to gather twice the normal amount of manna so they could save half of it for the next day, the sabbath. When they awoke on the sabbath, they would find that the saved manna had not spoiled and that no new manna had fallen overnight. What an incredible story of a miracle-working, supernatural, perfectly providing God!
Consider these implications from the miracle of the manna:
1. God can and does provide the needs of His people. He did not need help or natural resources. It was not too big of a job. He is Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides.
2. God provided in a precise way. God is not random, every detail matters.
God would not let the manna be saved overnight, because He wanted to teach the people how to trust Him day by day. He knew they would need to learn to walk by faith, not by sight, because they would face other issues (giants in the land) in the future that would require them to radically trust God.
God did not bring manna on the sixth day in order to teach the people the importance of the sabbath. This day of rest was the design of God in creation. He, himself, rested, so He knows the necessity of rest for his people.
God provided bread, not a grand feast, for the Israelites. It is easy for us to focus on the blessings which come from God, rather than God, Himself. He wanted to teach the people His presence (cloud by day and pillar of fire by night) was most important.
3. God provided the Israelites the bread they needed while reminding them “man does not live by bread alone.” Implicit and explicit in this 40-year miracle was a complete dependency of God. While we all need food to survive, our deepest need is Him.
4. God used the manna to foreshadow the greater reality of the “Bread of Life,” of which one can eat and be satisfied forever. The Israelites ate the mana, but still died. When we partake of the True Bread which has come down from heaven, we will live forever!
The manna was both a miracle and a message. Only God can provide, only God can satisfy, only God saves from death, only God is the Bread of Life.