In the Book of Exodus 16, we see the first instance of God providing food for the Israelites – manna to be exact. There are several lessons that I’ve learned about this particular chapter.
The first lesson in the manna is that we MUST trust God for our daily provision.
When God first provided the manna, the Lord gave specific instructions to gather what they needed for the day. Of course, not everyone listened to God’s instruction. Some people gathered enough for two days. The people who gathered for two days discovered that their manna had maggots in it. They couldn’t eat it. The lesson is that we have to trust God for our daily provision. When we try to provide for ourselves we fail – and by fail, I mean that we cannot rise to the competence of what God can provide for us when we trust in Him. We have what we need when we allow God to provide for us.
Only God can provide for us physically and spiritually. When a person tries to provide themselves with what they think they need spiritually – it’s called religion. Religion can do very little for a person’s soul. It’s far better to be spiritual than religious. Only the Holy Spirit can provide the spiritual abundance we need to sustain and strengthen us.
The second lesson in the manna is that what God graciously gives, we must industriously gather.
God provides, but we must do our part too. We can’t sit idly by and do nothing. Faith without works is dead. We are co-laborers with Christ. We have a role to play, and it’s easy to become unbalanced – some people rely on themselves completely and have lots of work without faith – and others have faith and no works. You have to trust God completely and solely, but God expects you to do your part. We must pray, seek His Face, listen to His voice, walk in obedience and love, and make good decisions. God expects us to choose blessings and life. God provides everything we need to live a godly life, and He has equipped us for the work that He’s called us to do, however, let’s not forget that we have a role that we must fulfill. As God provides, we must be industrious in using what He has provided.
The third lesson in the manna is that when you honor God’s Word, He provides everything you need for the following day.
God told the people to gather twice as much on the sixth day so that they could rest on the seventh. Once the Sabbath day arrived, some people went out into the fields expecting to find manna to gather. But, there was no manna. However, because of God’s instructions to gather twice as much on day six, the people still had provision. The Israelites were learning that God prepares a person for their future when they are obedient to Him and listen to His instructions. The Matthew Henry’s Commentary says this; none are ever losers by serving God.
The final lesson in Exodus 16, is that Christ, Himself is the True Manna.
Yeshua calls Himself the Bread of Life, and indeed, He is. Manna sustained the Israelites for many years, and they had all the nourishment that they needed. If you’ve ever studied nutrition, then you know that the body needs many vitamins and minerals to function. Whenever there is any deficiency of any kind, illness and sickness creep in. A deficiency in any vitamin or mineral will cause symptoms. For example, if you’re feeling fatigued you might be lacking vitamin D; or if you’re cold all the time, there might be an iron deficiency. However, the Israelites were healthy and strong – Scripture says there was none feeble among them. The manna had everything they needed to stay strong and healthy – and so it is with Christ – He is everything we need! Everything we need is in Yeshua – He is the Bread of Life, the True Manna.