a study through Exodus on how God shapes His leaders
Manna: God’s divine provision for the Israelites during their wilderness wanderings. We’ve already seen that through this miracle God shows us two points: 1) He will always provide, and 2) He wants us to trust and believe His Word. Let’s now look at the other two points we can glean from the miracle of manna.
3. God wants us to rest and will provide for us while we do so.
When God gave the manna to the children of Israel, He gave them clear instructions on how they were to gather it. As we saw last week, each morning they were to only take as much as they needed for that day. They were not supposed to save what they had or ration it out for the next day. It was meant to be an exercise in their faith and trust in God. They had to believe God when He said He would give them food to eat each day.
However, on the sixth day of each week the Israelites were given different instructions.
“On the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers each. And when all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, he said to them, ‘This is what the LORD has commanded: “Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD; bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over lay aside to be kept till the morning.”’”
God wanted the Israelites to rest completely on the seventh day of each week. So He gave them a double portion of manna the day before and allowed it to last two days. This was a great gift! The Israelites didn’t need to gather and prepare their meal on the seventh day. They could just relax and enjoy the leftovers! But did all the Israelites follow God’s Word? Of course not. The Israelites always needed to test God and His Word.
“And the LORD said to Moses, ‘How long will you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws? See! The LORD has given you the Sabbath; therefore on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Remain each of you in his place; let no one go out of his place on the seventh day.’”
The command to rest on the seventh day was for the health and benefit of the children of Israel. God knew that they would need rest and He wanted them to rest, which requires trust. Trust that God would provide. Therefore, God also wanted the Israelites to trust His Word and believe that He would provide as He said.
And God wants us to rest.
We are not supernatural beings that can go-go-go without rest. We need regular periods of time where we can just rest, just relax, and stop rushing around in our busy little lives. In our modern world, rest can be difficult to schedule in. Everything in our world is high speed, from the internet that connects to the world to the rate at which we drive on the freeway. We are catapulted from one activity to another, from month to month and year to year with barely a moment of breather in-between.
But this isn’t the way God intended us to live. He wants us to experience rest—His rest. He wants us to take one day each week and just slow down so we can sit at His feet and experience Him in a new way. God wants us to rest. And through the example of the Israelites and the manna, God promises that He will provide for us while we rest.
So will you choose to schedule in periods of rest in your week? Will you take God at His Word and trust Him to provide as you rest? Will you take that step of faith?
I recommend scheduling in times of rest, because if we don’t, we’ll never rest. That’s just our culture and lifestyle. So make it a priority. You won’t regret it. In fact, if you talk with other saints, you will find that those who don’t stop and take time to rest may be forced to rest as their health declines and their body wears out from the constant activity. God created us to rest. So do it!
4. God wants us to remember and attest to His faithfulness.
God did some amazing things for the Israelites during their exodus from Egypt. The Ten Plagues, parting the Red Sea, bitter water turned sweet, and now manna. However, we would not know about these spectacular events if the Israelites had not remembered them and if Moses had not written them down for future generations to know the mighty deeds of the Lord.
For the Israelites, that looked like saving a jar of manna that God would miraculously preserve for years so that they would remember His divine provision.
“Moses said, ‘This is what the LORD has commanded: “Let an omer of it be kept throughout your generations, so that they may see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.”’”
God wanted the children of Israel to remember. Remember how hungry they were and how miraculous the manna was. Remember how God heard their cry for food and provided. When they entered the Promised Land and enjoyed plenty, God wanted them to remember the wilderness and how He fed them all those years. He wanted the Israelites to remember His faithfulness.
And God wants us to do the same. He wants us to remember the miracles He’s done for us. He wants us to bear witness to His faithfulness. We might not have a jar of manna sitting on our mantel to remind us of His provisions during the difficult times, but we can remember. We can tell the next generation of His faithfulness to us. We can have a proverbial manna jar in our hearts that reminds us of the goodness of God.
No matter how we do it, let’s just remember what God has done in our lives. Remember His faithfulness and tell others about it. Remember how good He has been when things looked hopeless. That’s the final lesson we can learn from the divine provision of manna.
And now let us be encouraged because the same God who fed the Israelites with divine manna for forty years, is working in our lives, providing for our needs, and hearing our cry of help when all seems hopeless. Therefore, let’s trust Him with all that we have and are. God is faithful and will provide!
“The people of Israel ate the manna forty years, till they came to a habitable land. They ate the manna till they came to the border of the land of Canaan.”