It’s pretty incredible but way too relatable. It caught my attention, caused me to give my head a shake, but then realize that I’m looking into a mirror.
They are the people of God, delivered from Egypt. And there’s no mystery as to how their deliverance came about. No secrecy as to what mighty force prevailed over the powerful Pharaoh of Egypt. They were there. They saw it. They experienced the miracles of the mighty hand of the Creator. They knew what it was to have applied the blood and had the death angel pass over them. It wasn’t just some talk of freedom, they did the walk . . . straight out of Egypt . . . with the treasures of Egypt in hand.
And that wasn’t the last they’d see of their God. It was only the beginning. They were at the base of the burning mount as Moses went up and met with the God of their victory. They received His word. They had actively contributed and had built a place for the Almighty to tabernacle among them. And they had seen that too.
By day the cloud covered the tabernacle. At night it appeared as a fire. And when the cloud lifted from the tent they set out following it. When it settled down, they did as well. Unreal. Talk about walking with God!
And under-lying it all was their daily bread. Even those under the cloud need to eat. But these where sojourners in the wilderness. Where would their food come from? Short answer: Heaven! Every day, six days a week, with enough on the sixth day for two days, they received food from heaven. What is it? Yes. That’s what they called it, “What is it.” AKA Manna.
Delivered by God. Visited by God. Led by God. Fed by God. That’s what makes the first part of Numbers 11 so incredible.
Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”
(Numbers 11:4-6 ESV)
Really?!? Nothing but manna? That’s the complaint? Nothing but faithfully delivered heaven-sent provision from the God who dwells in your midst? That’s your gripe with the God of heaven? Give your head a shake! Incredible! But, I confess, all too understandable. And even too relatable.
What is it about my nature that can take the divine and reduce it to the commonplace? What is it about me that, even while receiving blessings from heaven, causes me to over fixate on the happenings of earth? How can I live under the cloud, and eat the bread from heaven, and still grumble, “I need something more?” How can I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good and still want to sample other stuff?
I’m not home yet. The battle still rages between the old man and the new nature (Gal. 5:17). I know there’s the propensity to become familiar with that which should be jaw-dropping. To take for granted the price paid for my redemption . . . to walk into the holy of holies, opened for me by the blood of Jesus, and not take off my shoes . . . to receive, day in an day out, the measure of grace needed, and more, and not so much as acknowledge it much less fall on my face in wonder at it.
Nothing but manna? O that such words would not be found on my lips. That such disregard for the divine would be shunned from my heart. That by God’s grace, and through the Spirit in me, I would know and acknowledge that His mercies are new every morning . . . Great is Your faithfulness! (Lam. 3:22-23)
God’s people are a privileged people. And a privileged people should be a praising people. Let’s praise God for manna!
By His grace . . . for His glory!