Trudging through the endless sand, they searched for food. Every bite they took reminded them that there was one less morsel for their next meal. Knowing dads and moms, many went with less so their children could have what they needed. Fathers glanced at mothers. Mothers watched their children in concern.
Their daily food dwindled. Supply sacks grew far too light. Imagine how much food a million or so people in the desert would need.
Need turned to complaint, and complaint became grumbling. “And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.” (Exodus 16:2) Here they were, wishing for slavery and death instead of a serving of freedom and life with a side of hunger.
God sent a message through Moses to share with the people he was leading: “In the morning you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God.’ ” The next morning, the sun rose on dew in the desert. But this wasn’t a normal dew. When the dew dissipated, a flakey substance remained behind.
What would you do if you walked out one morning with a “flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground.” I know what I would probably do: I would ask, “What is this?”
And that is exactly what the Israelites did when they saw flakey stuff on the ground: “When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was.”
And that is exactly what manna means: “What is it?” Of all the things that had been experienced before, the Israelites had nothing to compare manna to.
Moses answered their question: “It is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat.” In the wilderness, they were served nourishment. God even told Moses His reason for sending manna: “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.’ ” (Exodus 16:4)
Life-giving bread rained down from heaven. God, always doing more than one thing with the same answer to prayer, provided their physical nourishment while also teaching them to walk in His law and follow His words. This manna was without compare.
Years later, Jesus spelled it out for His listeners: “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world…I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:32–35)
Here’s the question of the day: What is the manna of our lives today? From where does our nourishment come?
Jesus is the Manna, the true bread from heaven. He gives nourishment and life.
And how do we interact with Jesus, now that He no longer walks physically among us? Through prayer. And through His Word, the Bible.
The Word of life has given His Word within the pages of Scripture. When we open our Bibles in the morning, we will have a new feast spread before us. No matter how many times we turn to Psalm 145 or Romans 12 or Matthew 5-7, we can ask the same question the Israelites had on their lips when they exited their tents that first dewy morning: “What is it?”
Scripture reading is a question. What is it that the Bread of Life has for you in His Word today? What is it God is revealing to you about Himself, His people, and you? What is He calling you to do and how is He equipping you to live when you close that Bible and move to the rest of your day?
Are you looking for a practical way to engage with the Bible in community? Consider WordGo by Bible Study Fellowship—they have Bible plans for personal and group study. Gather a group of friends, in person or online, for a 2-6 week study. There’s still time before the school year hits!
Speaking of Bible Study Fellowship, my family has been deeply blessed by their studies. I began going as a young mama with a newborn, and quickly discovered the value of their in-depth study available across the world. Unpacking the truth of Scripture with my children in theologically accurate, deep, and applicable ways will always be one of my dearest memories. Now as a writer for the school program, I’m even more passionate about the chapter-by-chapter study BSF offers.
You can find your own group at bsfinternational.org. There are in-person classes, hybrid classes, and online classes. So whatever you need right now, there’s sure to be an option. This fall we’ll have 30 weeks of Gospel in community as we study the book of Matthew together. Join me?
Your words were found, and I ate them,
and your words became to me a joy
and the delight of my heart,
for I am called by your name,
O LORD, God of hosts. (Jeremiah 15:16)