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God Provides Manna

The whole congregation of the Israelites set out from Elim; and Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.” So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaining against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?” And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the Lord has heard the complaining that you utter against him—what are we? Your complaining is not against us but” against the Lord.Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.’“And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. The Lord spoke to Moses and said, “I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’“ In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Gather as much of it as each of you needs, an omer to a person according to the number of persons, all providing for those in their own tents.’“ The Israelites did so, some gathering more, some less. But when they measured it with an omer, those who gathered much had nothing over, and those who gathered little had no shortage; they gathered as much as each of them needed. (Exodus 16:1-18, NRSV)

The people had left Egypt with supplies for only a little while. But they should not have been worried, but isn’t that human nature?

We are hungry, and things were so much better back in Egypt because we could sit next to the fleshpots and eat our fill of bread, but let us not remember now the bondage we were in and the back-breaking work we were doing, because now we are hungry and we only remember the free-flowing food.

But God already knew how He was going to handle this, but He heard their grumbling and gave them quail in the evening for meat, and manna for bread every morning. And no matter how much they collected, a little or a lot, they had the exact measure they needed. God was watching over them.

And even in the watching over they still wondered, as the name manna literally means, “What is it?”

So remember you don’t have to understand what God is doing, we are called to trust Him and follow Him.

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What is it?

The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, ‘If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.’ Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, “Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.” ’And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked towards the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. The Lord spoke to Moses and said, ‘I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, “At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.” ’ In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. (Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15, NRSV)

What is it?

Manna literally means “What is it?”

They wondered what this substance was, as the complained about not being slaves any more because despite all the back breaking labor they got to sit by the fleshpots and eat their fill!

When we look to God and allow His way to be our way, and not remember only the good from the past we will have a life beyond all imagination.

 

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ate manna

Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not complain among yourselves. No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (John 6:41-51, NRSV)

Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness and died!

You will all die unless you feast on the bread I give you and that bread is my flesh…

Hard to understand. Hard to accept.

You see Jesus and God are not going to be fit into our boxes so we understand everything that is going on. God’s ways are far above us, and we will not understand it.

That is where faith comes in.

We must take it on faith, and follow where He leads us.

Because they ate manna and died.

And all of us will die the physical death of this life, but then if we believe and trust and have faith in Jesus life will not end.

So that one may eat it and not die!

Jesus is good news and He has come to help us see the way to live and the love to share!

So take and eat, and take and drink and live in God forever!

 

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God Provides!

Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.’ So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, ‘In the evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaining against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?’ And Moses said, ‘When the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the Lord has heard the complaining that you utter against him—what are we? Your complaining is not against us but against the Lord.’ (Exodus 16:4-8, NRSV)

God provided for the needs of His people wandering in the wilderness. They were complaining because they did not have the food to eat like they did back in Egypt. They focused on their needs and empty bellies now and remembered the good things about where they came from. They completely forgot about the fact they were slaves, they just remembered the good food they had to eat!

So God heard their complaints and gave them manna in the morning and meet in the evenings. God provided for their needs. He made sure His people were given what they need.

Has God ever provided for your needs? By taking care of a bill, providing a car when it was needed, or a job, or anything? God provided for His people in the wilderness and He still provides for us today!

Trust that He will provide for your needs!

 

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Appear

Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ They were saying, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, “I have come down from heaven”?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Do not complain among yourselves. No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, “And they shall all be taught by God.” Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’ (John 6:41-51, NRSV)

Those who heard Jesus were complaining about Him, because they thought they knew Him…

That doesn’t happen today does it? Do we always agree on the way things should go and what things are? We always agree as the body of Christ on what is sinful, and what is not… We use the the word of God to prove our own points of view and leave out the possibility that another member of the body of Christ might have a different understanding then us and could be right. We are hung up on the “way we have always done it” and “that is what I learned in Sunday School” that we lose sight of Jesus.

The Pharisees knew Jesus as the son of the carpenter Joseph, and that is who He was. They could not hear His words to make Him to be even a prophet, or to the length they needed to go that He was God incarnate before them. And because they could not look beyond what they could see or had known, they could not live into the life that was right in front of them!

Only God can call us to Him, as Martin Luther said in his explanation of the third article of the Apostles Creed:

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers. On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ. This is most certainly true.

We are called to God and when we open our hearts and lives to Him we will be able to see what He has set before us and see things in the light and follow Him. It is not about believing the right things, or following the right set of doctrines. It is about loving and following Jesus where He leads us, into the unknown for us, but what is truly known and set in place before the beginning of time by Him. So look not on appearances but look through the eyes of God!

 

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What is it?

Yet he commanded the skies above and opened the doors of heaven, and he rained down on them manna to eat and gave them the grain of heaven. Man ate of the bread of the angels; he sent them food in abundance. He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens, and by his power he led out the south wind; he rained meat on them like dust, winged birds like the sand of the seas; he let them fall in the midst of their camp, all around their dwellings. And they ate and were well filled, for he gave them what they craved. (Psalm 78:23-29 ESV)

“What is it?” the Israelites said when the manna was found as the dew lifted. What is it is the translation of the Hebrew words that are manna, so manna literally means what is it. They had this new substance they had not seen before. They were curious and yet also maybe questioning God’s provision…

The psalmist recounts the story as God opening the sky’s and blowing an east wind and raining manna down on them. God opened up the sky’s and allowed man to eat the bread of angels! We got to taste the food of heaven, a foretaste of the feast to come! Where have we heard that before?

Every time we celebrate communion we are getting a foretaste of that wonderful feast that is to come when we are fully with our God in the great by and by. God heard the cries and whines of the Israelites and he hears our cries, he hears our needs and he knows our wants. He hears the things we can not put into words…

God provided for his people in the wilderness and they questioned what it was and his provisions. Have we ever done that? Have you ever received something from God and questioned it, or asked for something different? God can take your questioning and complaining, but we can rest assured that God will give us what we need not always what we want and he will always provide for us. The promise is clear.

 

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