Spiritual Lessons from Manna

Something so small and yet so impactful.

Manna was a provision for the Israelites during their 40 years in the wilderness when they were on their way to the Promised Land— a land flowing with milk and honey which God had promised them (Exodus 3:17).

During these 40 years, God was teaching them and preparing them to be His people, a holy nation He had set apart which would bless the other nations of the world.

‘5“I have led you forty years in the wilderness; your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandal has not worn out on your foot. 6“You have not eaten bread, nor have you drunk wine or strong drink, in order that you might know that I am the LORD your God.”’ (Deuteronomy 29:5-6).

In my last post, I talked about God being our Provider. He knows our every need. To the Israelites in the wilderness, manna was one of the provisions from the Lord, and He had specific rules for them. They were to gather it daily, except on the Sabbath day (no manna could be seen on the Sabbath day, as it is a day of rest, and so on the day before Sabbath, the Israelites were to gather the portion they needed for the Sabbath). If the Israelites gathered more than they needed, it would rot.

For us as believers, we are to pray for our daily bread as our Lord Jesus Christ has taught us to pray (Matthew 6:11). However, we can get so busy wanting more and more that we can fall into the temptations of whining, complaining and coveting for the things we do not need but want. This is hard for me too, because I am always yearning and wanting the shiniest and newest things. If I look back at my purchase history, I have wasted a lot on things I want but not necessarily beneficial for me.

In his letter to Timothy, Apostle Paul wrote, “7For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. 8If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. 9But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1Timothy 6:7-10)

God does provide for our daily needs. We do not need to be over-anxious. At the same time, we are to be wise stewards of all that He has given to us: time, money, talents and gifts.

The providence of manna reminds me to:

  • Be grateful with all that I have
  • Do not hoard things but share with those in need. Be generous!
  • Be a good steward of God’s gifts
  • Rest in God, trust in His goodness and plans for me

May the providence from the Lord brings us joy!

Be Satisfied

In the wilderness, God had supplied the Israelites with all that they had needed. He was with them: in a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night to give them light so they could travel by day or night (Exodus 13:21). Their clothes and sandals never worn out (Deuteronomy 29:5).

In the wilderness, they did not have lands to plant vegetables for food. God then provided food for them, manna, which He rained down from Heaven. Manna in Hebrew means “what is it?!”.

“4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days” (Exodus 16:4-5).

As time passed, the Israelites were sick of having manna every meal. They began to get upset and frustration got a hold of them. they began to wail, whine and complained that they had lost their appetite because they had (eaten and seen) too much manna.

4 The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!” (Numbers 11:4-6) 

They were making comparisons with their old life in Egypt. They would rather be working as slaves in Egypt under the cruel task masters and had fish, and other types of food to eat, than being in freedom with God as their loving Provider. Being in the wilderness meant they had to trust God like never before.

They got what they wanted: meat. God sent them quails but it was not without a price.

It is easy for us to whine and complain. It is easy to find things to complain about. May God have mercy on us. May God help us to see His goodness, mercy, providence, forgiveness and love.

Let us cultivate a heart of thanksgiving. What are the things you can give thanks to God for today? Why not list them down and give thanks to God for His mercy and providence?