What is it?

Key Texts: Exodus 16:13-17

That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp.  When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor.  When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was.

Moses said to them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat.  This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Everyone is to gather as much as they need. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent.’”

The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little.  And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed.

Now and then you come across something in the Scriptures that makes you smile.  The passage above has always done that for me.

There they are – the Israelites wandering in the desert in need of food, and not too happy about it.

God miraculously provides.

What do the people call it?  They call it manna – which literally means “What is it?”

That makes me smile.

It makes me smile because it is so like human nature.  There they are in need, perhaps facing the fear of death, and God miraculously provides nourishment.  What do they do?  Scratch their heads and say, “What is it?”

But God (and Moses) were patient.  They instructed the people to trust, and eat, and gather enough for just one day of nourishment, and God would provide for the next day.

Now, some followed that counsel.  Others didn’t, and paid an unpleasant price for their “hoarding.”

The important thing, though, is that God provided the daily sustenance, and those who trusted him, were well cared for as his children.

That, of course, is the lesson we should all take from this little story about a funny food called “Manna.”

God provides.  We don’t need to understand everything about it.  It is enough to trust, in faith, that God lovingly provides – one blessed day at a time.

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