“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘I am going to rain bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather ENOUGH FOR THAT DAY…” Exodus 16:4
Essentially, manna was, for the Israelites, the means through which God provided strength. In my own life, I’ve seen God provide in similar ways.
1.) Manna is different for each person
“The person who gathered a lot had no surplus, and the person who gathered a little had no shortage. Each gathered as much as he needed to eat.” Exodus 16:18b
We can play the comparison game and miss the fact that God provides each individual with exactly what he or she needs. At the end of the day, God has provided enough strength to get through another day.
2.) Manna is, in itself, a question.
The term “manna” literally means “what?”. When God provided a new source of strength, it didn’t make any sense to the Israelites. They had never seen that frost-looking substance in the desert before, so they didn’t understand why they were supposed to be energized by something that wasn’t normal at all. Often, we doubt God’s intentions in providing something new.
3.) Manna makes dependence on God imperative.
“He humbled you by letting you go hungry; then He gave you manna to eat, which you and your fathers had not know, so that you might learn that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 8:3
The Israelites couldn’t provide strength for themselves. Because they had to wait on God to act, God wanted them to desire Him more than comfort.
4.) Manna is constant.
“The Israelites ate manna for 40 years…” Exodus 16:35a
God doesn’t grow weary of providing for us. Even when we get tired of God’s will prevailing, He doesn’t give up on us.
5.) Manna isn’t ideal.
“We remember the free fish we ate in Egypt, along with the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic. But now our appetite is gone; there’s nothing to look at but this manna!” Numbers 11:5-6
The Israelites were accustomed to having food–and good food, at that–given to them. But previously it had not come directly from God, and they did not have to put in as much work to obtain food. As God began to directly provide food to them, they had to work to reap of its benefits. Often, we fail to take advantage of God’s gifts because we don’t want to work–i.e. deny ourselves–to receive their benefits.
6.) Manna gives the opportunity to rest.
“‘Understand that the Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore on the sixth day He will give you two days’ worth of bread. Each of you stay where you are; no one is to leave his place on the seventh day.’ So the people rested on the seventh day.” Exodus 16:29-30
God’s provision of strength enables us to rest in the goodness of Jehovah Jireh. When we let go and let God provide, we experience peace and rest, which God intended for us to have.
7.) Manna is fulfilling.
“‘I have heard the complaints of the Israelites. Tell them: At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will eat bread until you are full. Then you will know that I am Yahweh your God.” Exodus 16:12
The Lord takes delight in meeting our every need. But He also takes delight in our glorification of Him as a result of His provision.
8.) Manna is God’s provision in God’s perfect timing.
“So at evening quail came and covered the camp. In the morning there was a layer of dew all around the camp.” Exodus 16:13
God provides manna during the night so that we can appreciate it in the morning. He also gets us through the night to help us see His gifts in the morning.
9.) Manna shows others how God has rescued us.
“Moses said, ‘This is what the Lord has commanded: “Two quarts of [manna] are to be preserved throughout your generations, so that they may see the bread I fed you in the wilderness when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.” Exodus 16:32
Because of God’s provision, we have a reason to declare the goodness of God. We have a story to tell.
10.) Manna serves as a reminder that better things are coming.
“He fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers had not know, in order to humble and test you, so that in the end He might cause you to prosper.” Deuteronomy 8:16
God’s provision of strength in this life should remind us, as believers, that we are currently in our weakest state, waiting to be made whole in the presence of God.