The Lord Sends Food
1On the fifteenth day of the second month after the Israelites had escaped from Egypt, they left Elim and started through the western edge of the Sinai Desert in the direction of Mount Sinai. 2There in the desert they started complaining to Moses and Aaron, 3“We wish the Lord had killed us in Egypt. When we lived there, we could at least sit down and eat all the bread and meat we wanted. But you have brought us out here into this desert, where we are going to starve.”
4 The Lord said to Moses, “I will send bread down from heaven like rain. Tell the people to go out each day and gather only enough for that day. That's how I will see if they obey me. 5But on the sixth day of each week they must gather and cook twice as much.”
6Moses and Aaron told the people, “This evening you will know that the Lord was the one who rescued you from Egypt. 7And in the morning you will see his glorious power, because he has heard your complaints against him. Why should you grumble to us? Who are we?”
8Then Moses continued, “You will know it is the Lord when he gives you meat each evening and more than enough bread each morning. He is really the one you are complaining about, not us—we are nobodies—but the Lord has heard your complaints.”
9Moses turned to Aaron and said, “Bring the people together, because the Lord has heard their complaints.”
10Aaron was speaking to them, when everyone looked out toward the desert and saw the bright glory of the Lord in a cloud. 11The Lord said to Moses, 12“I have heard my people complain. Now tell them that each evening they will have meat and each morning they will have more than enough bread. Then they will know that I am the Lord their God.”
13That evening a lot of quails came and landed everywhere in the camp, and the next morning dew covered the ground. 14After the dew had gone, the desert was covered with thin flakes that looked like frost. 15 The people had never seen anything like this, and they started asking each other, “What is it?”
Moses answered, “This is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. 16And he orders you to gather about two liters for each person in your family—that should be more than enough.”
17They did as they were told. Some gathered more and some gathered less. 18 Everyone had exactly what they needed, just the right amount.
19Moses told them not to keep any overnight. 20Some of them disobeyed, but the next morning what they kept was stinking and full of worms, and Moses was angry.
21Each morning everyone gathered as much as they needed, and in the heat of the day the rest melted. 22However, on the sixth day of the week, everyone gathered enough to have four liters, instead of two. When the leaders reported this to Moses, 23 he told them that the Lord had said, “Tomorrow is the Sabbath, a sacred day of rest in honor of me. So gather all you want to bake or boil, and make sure you save enough for tomorrow.”
24The people obeyed, and the next morning the food smelled fine and had no worms. 25“You may eat the food,” Moses said. “Today is the Sabbath in honor of the Lord, and there won't be any of this food on the ground today. 26You will find it there for the first six days of the week, but not on the Sabbath.”
27A few of the Israelites did go out to look for some, but there was none. 28Then the Lord said, “Moses, how long will you people keep disobeying my laws and teachings? 29Remember that I was the one who gave you the Sabbath. That's why on the sixth day I provide enough bread for two days. Everyone is to stay home and rest on the Sabbath.” 30And so they rested on the Sabbath.
31 The Israelites called the bread manna. It was white like coriander seed and delicious as wafers made with honey. 32Moses told the people that the Lord had said, “Store up two liters of this manna, because I want future generations to see the food I gave you during the time you were in the desert after I rescued you from Egypt.”
33 Then Moses told Aaron, “Put some manna in a jar and store it in the place of worship for future generations to see.”
34Aaron followed the Lord's instructions and put the manna in front of the sacred chest for safekeeping. 35-36 The Israelites ate manna for 40 years, before they came to the border of Canaan that was a settled land.
As an immigrant family in the very early 50’s we knew what it was to be poor. Once, when I was only five years old I overheard my mother praying. She was asking that the Lord would supply food because there was none. That very afternoon the local pastor delivered bags full of groceries. He did not know the depth of our need, but he understood our circumstances. God will give us our daily bread when we seek him for it.
Israel was now a month into their journey. The reserves of food taken from Egypt and gathered at Elim were now depleted. Though God had done so much for the people, they had short memories and some had short fuses. The community complained to Moses and Aaron saying they should have stayed in Egypt, where at least there were “pots of meat” to eat. In the desert, they were starving.
God so graciously demonstrated his glorious presence. God delivers on his promise to care for his people.
God does not change and our relationship to him must never change. The people wanted meat and God supplied abundant amounts of quail in the evening.
Each morning a sweet, coriander tasting, sticky and flaky substance was left on the ground after the morning dew had risen. Israel could harvest the flakes. These would be boiled or baked and last all day but no longer. The people had to gather just enough for each day. They literally ate from God’s daily bread supply.
This daily bread was not to become a meaningless tradition, but a holy cycle of remembrance and rest. On the seventh day, the God of creation did not provide manna and the people were not to gather it. God would supply enough on the sixth day to provide miraculously for the Sabbath.
We are under God’s grace and the ordinance has not changed. Do we pause with regularity to acknowledge that our provision, all of our provision is from his gracious hands?
Father, You are a God who supplies all of our needs. We thank you for all our provisions. We are a blessed people. Help us not to hoard, but to trust you, in faith believing and to give to those who are in need. Father, we thank you for your grace demonstrated daily by the gift of “our daily bread”.