Chewing on Manna

Hovering over my reading in Exodus 16, this morning. So, in a sense, I’m actually chewing on manna.

Bread from heaven, that’s what this chapter’s about. And I know that it’s primary theological intent is to point to the TRUE Bread from Heaven, the LIVING Bread from Heaven, the Lord Jesus (Jn 6:41, 51). That’s the big picture. That’s the for sure foreshadow.

But something hit me this morning which created another connection. Not incompatible with Jesus, but a wonderful facet of some of what the Son reveals about the Father. This morning I’m thinking about what manna can teach me about grace.

And the LORD said to Moses, “I have heard the grumbling of the people of Israel. Say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God.’ ”

(Exodus 16:11-12 ESV)

Manna. Bread from heaven. The morning bread with which the people would be filled. Not given as a reward for being really good, or a blessing for being really obedient, but gifted despite their incessant grumbling.

The people were getting hungry in the wilderness. And so, they grumbled. Eight times in this chapter that point is made. They complained. They murmured.

“O, why were we ever delivered from Egypt?” they whispered among themselves, “better to die there than live here.” And their whispers became shouts. Their inner thoughts outwardly vocalized toward Moses and Aaron. But in reality, so points out Moses, “Your grumbling is not against us but against the LORD” (Ex. 16:8b). Underline that in black — a sin to avoid.

But here’s the thing that grabbed me: God’s response to their grumbling is grub. His reaction to their lack of faith is an abundance of food. Sounds like grace to me.

Remember the old Sunday School adage? Mercy is NOT GETTING what you DO DESERVE, but grace IS GETTING what you DON’T DESERVE. They didn’t deserve the bread! They were whining. Ungrateful. So preoccupied with their own stomachs that, not only did they fail to consider the implications of the glory of God before them in pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, they actually questioned God’s wisdom and power. That God didn’t strike them with lightning from heaven was mercy. That He determined instead to bless them with bread from heaven, well, that’s grace.

And with that connection in mind, check out some of the lessons being laid down about grace that I think I’m picking up.

  1. God’s grace is needed in the wilderness. God’s grace is heavenly provision to satisfy an earthly hunger.

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day . . . ”

(Exodus 16:4a ESV)

  1. God’s grace needs to be appropriated.

“This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Gather of it, each one of you, as much as he can eat. . . .’ ” And the people of Israel did so. They gathered, some more, some less.

(Exodus 16:16-17 ESV)

  1. God’s grace is always sufficient. It’s always what we need. Never comes up short. Never is too much.

. . . whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack. Each of them gathered as much as he could eat.

(Exodus 16:18 ESV)

  1. God’s grace is for the day. No drawing from our own stores of grace from the past. No trying to hoard today’s grace for the future.

And Moses said to them, “Let no one leave any of it over till the morning.” . . . Morning by morning they gathered it, each as much as he could eat; but when the sun grew hot, it melted.

(Exodus 16:19, 21 ESV)

  1. God’s grace is a window through which we can see God’s goodness and God’s faithfulness.

” .. . . and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God.”

(Exodus 16:12b ESV)

Chewing on manna this morning.

Tasting God’s grace. Only for God’s glory.

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