Manna from Heaven

In their hunger you gave them bread from heaven

You gave them your good Spirit to instruct them.  You did not withhold your manna from their mouths...

Nehemiah 9:15,20a

I like bread.  No, correction; I love bread.  But it has to be fresh.  I love it when it comes right out of the oven almost too hot to touch. When we eat out at those restaurants that generously keep the basket full of warm rolls; it’s my main course.  When Jason and I were in college, there was a Mexican restaurant (maybe Ruby Tequila’s?) that had hot tortillas that would travel around a conveyor belt in glorious orbit.  Just the thought of them makes my mouth water.  At home, when it comes to a loaf of Mrs. Bairds, I skip the heel and go straight for the soft piece behind it.  I’ve even been known to banish the last few pieces when they become the least bit stale.  I can feed those pieces to the ducks right?

Thoughts of luscious loaves and butter slathered tortillas remind me of the days when Moses and the Israelites were in the desert.  The Israelites were grumbling about hunger (Exodus 16:2) though God had provided their every need.  He had just parted the Red Sea for them for crying out loud. Further down in chapter sixteen, Moses has instructed the Israelites to gather their share of the quail and manna that God has rained down from heaven.  I was encouraged to learn that the Lord doesn't like leftovers (in verse 19 he has Moses tell the people not to keep leftovers until the morning). God sends a fresh daily supply.  Those who were attempting to consume day old bread awoke to an unpleasant surprise of bread with maggots and a stench.

In the Bible, bread is compared to the Word of God. -For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. John 6:33. We, the treasured people of God have been given daily bread from Him too.  Though given to us thousands of years ago, the Word of God does not expire or go stale.  The word of God is living and active.  Made fresh through the spirit we have his word waiting to be feasted upon every day.  No need for freezing as it is always available.

We need a steady diet just as God provided for the Israelites. Our bodies would not benefit from eating one or two huge meals per week and so it is with the word.  I imagine those who tried to stockpile the manna; it didn’t work out too well for them. I know I have been guilty of doing all five days of my Bible Study in one day.

Squirreling away or in some cases procrastinating when it comes to our study and quiet time, won’t cause us to have a stench like the kept manna.  But in failing to give proper attention to my spiritual needs will I give off the sweet fragrance of life?  “Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him”-2 Corinthians 3:14.

Are you malnourished when it comes to being fed by the word?  I have memory of awful tasting cafeteria food in my elementary school days.  I'm completely serious in telling you that most days I took only the piece of bread off of my tray.  I folded it in half and took a couple of bites, often two bites, so that when the bread was unfolded, I had a bread mask (how did I not ever get in trouble for that?). The point is, two bites of bread left me starving.  Don't I do the same when I skimp on my private time with God?  No wonder I often find myself exhausted and irritable.

Neglecting and even cramming our God time certainly doesn't bring about the desired growth God intends.   Unlike the quickly expiring bread in our pantry and the day old manna, God's word and his Spirit stays fresh; always speaking a new and pertinent message to us. The Hebrew word for manna translates into "What is it?". May we not find ourselves so unfamiliar with the daily bread God has given us.

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