Story: Manna Is Provided, Exodus 16; Numbers 11:7–9
After leaving Egypt, Moses and the Israelites had a long road ahead of them. The people started complaining early in the journey. God heard their grumbling and told Moses He would send food from heaven. He also gave special instructions about taking only enough food for each day. When the people woke up, the ground was covered in manna. God cares for the needs of His people.
Equip From Tru
Fresh into their journey out of Egypt, the Israelites were learning just how wonderful God’s care for us can be. After spending time in the oasis of Elim, the people of Israel were rested and refreshed. But only a month or so into their journey, they became disgruntled and began murmuring again against Moses and Aaron. “Would that we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger” (Exodus 16:3 NASB). The people had seemingly forgotten the bondage, beatings, and misery of their forced labor as slaves.
God heard the complaints of His people. In His grace and mercy, He revealed His plan to meet their needs. Each day the Lord sent nutritional provision. Psalm 78 tells us God opened the doors of the heavens and rained down grain—men ate the bread of angels! The word manna comes from the question the people asked that first morning—“What is it?” The manna came with the dew each morning and resembled a hearty seed. It was especially nutritious and was able to sustain an adult for an entire day’s journey. Preparing the food into bread consisted of pounding the sweet seed and baking or boiling it into cakes. Manna was to be their food for the next 40 years until the new generation entered the Promised Land.
The way in which the Lord provided the manna was a wonder-filled miracle six days a week, and the preserving of the manna for the seventh day was an additional miracle. God’s instructions were clear: The Israelites were to gather manna daily, but only as much as each person in the family could eat; no more, no less. His people were to wake up early, before the desert sun would melt the manna, and only gather enough for the day. Any leftovers would rot and be full of maggots. On the sixth day, the people were instructed to gather twice as much as normal in order to prepare for the Sabbath.
God instructed His people to place a jar of manna in the ark of the covenant, which became the throne of God in the camp, to serve as a reminder of God’s wonderful provision. Later, the manna was placed in the Holy of Holies inside the tabernacle, where the glory of God dwelt. God chose to daily remind His people that He was the source of their provision.