Gracious Lord, let Your healing light shine on me today. Grant me wholeness of body, mind, and soul.
Read EXODUS 16:9–36
9 Then Moses told Aaron, “Say to the entire Israelite community, ‘Come before the Lord, for he has heard your grumbling.’”
10 While Aaron was speaking to the whole Israelite community, they looked toward the desert, and there was the glory of the Lord appearing in the cloud.
11 The Lord said to Moses, 12 “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’”
13 That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was.
Moses said to them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Everyone is to gather as much as they need. Take an omer[a] for each person you have in your tent.’”
17 The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. 18 And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed.
19 Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.”
20 However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them.
21 Each morning everyone gathered as much as they needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away. 22 On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much—two omers[b] for each person—and the leaders of the community came and reported this to Moses. 23 He said to them, “This is what the Lord commanded: ‘Tomorrow is to be a day of sabbath rest, a holy sabbath to the Lord. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.’”
24 So they saved it until morning, as Moses commanded, and it did not stink or get maggots in it. 25 “Eat it today,” Moses said, “because today is a sabbath to the Lord. You will not find any of it on the ground today. 26 Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any.”
27 Nevertheless, some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather it, but they found none. 28 Then the Lord said to Moses, “How long will you[c] refuse to keep my commands and my instructions? 29 Bear in mind that the Lord has given you the Sabbath; that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Everyone is to stay where they are on the seventh day; no one is to go out.” 30 So the people rested on the seventh day.
31 The people of Israel called the bread manna.[d] It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey. 32 Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Take an omer of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the wilderness when I brought you out of Egypt.’”
33 So Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar and put an omer of manna in it. Then place it before the Lord to be kept for the generations to come.”
34 As the Lord commanded Moses, Aaron put the manna with the tablets of the covenant law, so that it might be preserved. 35 The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a land that was settled; they ate manna until they reached the border of Canaan.
36 (An omer is one-tenth of an ephah.)
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today day our daily bread.’1
God is the chief actor throughout this passage. First, God hears (vs 9–12). Having heard the anguished cry of Israel while oppressed in Egypt,2 God was not deaf to their cries in the wilderness. Their moaning must have tested his patience, but graciously he not only listens but does something about it. How true it is that ‘The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles’.3 Second, God provides. Their great need was for daily food: God immediately supernaturally provided for them (vs 13–18). The evening menu consisted of quail and the morning menu of manna, a sweet, flaky, wafer-like substance, usually referred to as bread, with which they were unfamiliar. Two things are highlighted in verse 12: that God’s provision was sufficient (‘filled’) and that it gave them reassurance of God’s presence among them. It all seemed straightforward, except that God laid down some regulations as to when and how much was to be collected. Not only did those rules witness to God’s concern that all should be fed sufficiently and greed restrained, but by them it showed that God tests his people (vs 19–30). Did they trust him? Would they obey him, especially at the end of the week? When they tried to outwit God, they quickly learned that there was no benefit in disobedience.
Finally, looking to the future, God commands that they should preserve some manna in the Ark of the Covenant (vs 31–36) as a witness to ‘the generations to come’ (v 32) that God delivered Israel from Egypt and miraculously looked after them with desert rations for forty years. Behind the simple request of the Lord’s prayer for daily bread lies, in part, the deep spiritual lessons of manna and quail, raining down in the wilderness.
How does this passage apply to us, in a world where many are overfed and, equally, many suffer from hunger and famine?
How patient You are Lord. I must surely test Your patience. I thank You that Your mercies are new every morning. That turns my despair into hope.
1 Matt 6:9–11 2 Exod 3:7 3 Ps 34:17
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