“And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning. Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them.” (Exodus 16:19-20)
Yesterday, we began to look at how the Manna which fed the Hebrews on the Exodus March is a portriat of the Lord Jesus Christ: our Bread of Life. We’ll finish up this chapter (and this week) by considering a few more comparisons:
We Eat Of The Bread On God’s Terms
There was a time and manner in which the Hebrews were to gather the Manna. They needed, first, to gather it early, for the noonday sun would melt it away (V. 21). God provided the food for the Israelites, but laziness and procrastination in gathering it up was not tolerated. Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, the prophet Isaiah implores (Isa. 55:6), and we are wise to do so. The Lord Jesus, the Bread of Life, will not, of course, melt away, but we do have a finite amount of time in which to come to Him. Jesus will not reject anyone who comes to Him in faith (John 6:37), but the time will come for all of us when it is too late. The moment that we die, the day that we move from time into eternity, our fate is sealed (Heb. 9:27). The time comes when the day is over, night has fallen, and no one can work any longer (John 9:4). We do well to partake of the Bread while it is early.
If laziness and apathy were not to be tolerated, then neither was greed and disobedience. The Hebrews were instructed to take but a single day’s portion of Manna each morning; no more, no less. After going without food for many days in the Wilderness, we can imagine that the temptation to hoard up rations while they were available must have been very enticing. Yet God was teaching the Israelites to trust Him to provide and not to trust in their own abilities and efforts. Take enough for today only, was the commandment, there will be more tomorrow.
“Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11)
The Lord Jesus, when teaching His disciples about prayer, showed that we can look to God to provide for our needs each day. Give us this day, He said, the portion required for today. We cannot be nourished by the food we ate yesterday, neither can we hoard away enough to carry us for several days at a time. Come to Him daily, He instructs us.
Gather for today and nothing more. Rise up early to gather it. Gather two portions on the eve of the Sabbath for none will be available on the Sabbath itself. The Children of Israel received the Manna according to God’s plan and program, not their own. They were not at liberty to dictate the terms under which they would eat. Anyone who will come to Jesus and eat of the Bread of Life must likewise come to Him on His terms, not their own.
The Time Would Come When The Manna Would Cease
“And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.” (Exodus 16:35)
“And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)
All of the comparisons we have been looking at between Jesus, our Bread of Life, and the Manna in the Wilderness really refer more to the Christian’s experience of Christ. When we are in Christ, when we have come to faith in Him, it is not necessary to eat again and again in order to have life, that is, Salvation. But if we are going to fellowship with Him, if we are going to experience His Presence, if we are to grow in Him, then we must be renewed and nourished daily.
An interesting aspect about the Manna is that it was a supernatural phenomena. Nowhere else in Scripture do we witness a miraculous feeding that reaches so far beyond the borders of what we know and understand. The Lord Jesus multiplied the fish and the loaves, but fish and loaves they remained. The people were eating that which they were familiar with, a staple of their diet since their youth. Manna, however, was something wholly and entirely unique and mysterious. Even so, the sublime can become commonplace over time and even the strange and wonderful can grow contemptible in the hardened heart after a while. We see in Numbers that some among the people grew weary of eating the food of angels and were willing to trade it for a bunch of onions, garlic, and fish (Numb. 11:5).
Although it seems that most of the congregation remained satisfied with the Manna, the day came when the Manna fell no more and they were to eat the old corn of the land (Josh. 5:12). “Old corn” is in no way as exciting, interesting, or pleasing to the senses as Manna, to be sure, but when the time of crisis ended, it was to be the steady diet of the Hebrews. Many Christians try to ride the wave of experience, to always seek the exciting, the entertaining, the sensational. Some churches attempt to turn their services into a festival of the miraculous where showmanship replaces diligent Bible study. To eat the old corn of the land is to dine on the Word of God and grow thereby. No, it’s not as exciting as the experience of the miraculous, it doesn’t please the tastes like Manna does. In fact, there are a lot of parts of it that upset the stomach and are hard to digest. We are fed once and for all by the Bread of Life, but it is by the daily eating of the old corn that we grow into the people God wants us to be.
To God goes all glory. In service to Him,