A Vision of Glory
Gracious Lord, You make Yourself known to me in so many ways. Let this knowledge release fresh praise in me today.
Read Exodus 16:1-25
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“A God wise enough to create me and the world I live in, is wise enough to watch out for me” (Philip Yancey). He daily provides for us!
In verses 7 and 10 we have the first mention of the people of Israel seeing the glory of the Lord: a communal sense of God revealing his being and presence, accompanied by physical phenomena. It often happened at times of dedication of a place of worship (1 Kings 8:10,11) but here it comes to people who are struggling. A month has gone by (1), food from Egypt is running out, and the landscape of the desert is becoming tedious. Is this all that salvation and freedom means? To dwindle away in death by starvation? Typically, the past is being remembered through rose-tinted spectacles; did Egypt’s slaves really sit and eat so plentifully from pots of meat (3)? Yet the Lord hears and responds to the real distress that lies beneath their grumbling (11,12).
The vision of God’s glory underlines the fact that what follows is God’s gracious provision. Migrating quail, too tired to take off fast, can be caught with nets. The next morning mysterious flakes lie on the ground. The question, “What is it?” in Hebrew sounds like “manna.” This becomes its name (15). Various identifications have been suggested: white globules, rich in carbohydrates and sugar, exuded by insects that live on tamarisk trees, for instance. Whatever the source, the scale and timing of God’s provision described here is miraculous.
Detailed instructions about gathering manna may not at first appear relevant to life today. However, the themes in this passage suggest principles that later generations have applied to their work and wealth. First, there was equality (18) and everyone had enough for their needs (see 2 Cor. 8:14,15). Second, hoarding was forbidden (19,20) and looking to God to supply daily needs was encouraged (see Matt. 6:24,25). Third, the need to keep a weekly day of rest (22-30) was outlined as a means of renewal (see Gen. 2:2,3).
Moments when we experience intensely the divine presence are gifts that remind us that God is there with us in his glory all the time. Can you recall such a time?
Lord, I am hungry for many things. Show me that what I most need are the things that only You provide.
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