"When the Lord's hand is
in your mouth you're fed generously." That ancient
saying from the Middle East is wonderfully true.
When we are hungry, we
grumble. We gripe even if we think we might miss a
We are not the only ones
who get spoiled. The "whole congregation of the sons
of Israel grumbled . . . in the wilderness" (Exodus
16:2). Two million people were grumbling at Moses
and Aaron because they were afraid they would miss a
meal. Grumbling is serious business and has dire
consequences. It is found six times in next few
verses. "Your grumblings are not against us but
against the LORD" (v. 8).
What they really missed
were their "pots of meat" (v. 3). They were so
attached to their pots of flesh that they haggled
Moses saying, "Would that we had died by the LORD'S
hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots
of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have
brought us out into this wilderness to kill this
whole assembly with hunger."
The LORD wanted the
people to trust Him. All they had to do was trust
Him and walk in obedience. We think that it is so
much easier and wiser to walk by sight. Then the
Lord has an amazing way of knocking our false
securities out from under us so we are made to trust
Him. He makes us see that He alone provides our
The LORD provided
"Then the Lord said to
Moses, 'Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for
you; and the people shall go out and gather a day's
portion every day, that I may test them, whether or
not they will walk in My instruction" (v. 4).
The word "manna" is a
transliteration of two Hebrew words meaning, "What
is it?" Moses didn't provide the manna; God did. The
LORD provided meat at night and manna in the morning
for the next forty years, or until they crossed over
the Jordan (vv. 13-21, 35). All of chapter sixteen
gives instructions on gathering and eating manna.
Every day for forty years they saw God provide! It
should have produced a song of praise every morning
and evening. "I saw God do it!" It was His
supernatural gift. They did not work for it. They
did not earn it. It was without money and without
price. It was a free gift from God. All they could
do was appropriate it. Every morning each individual
bent over, picked it up and ate it!
However, the manna met
only a temporal need of the body for a short period.
The Israelites came to loathe the manna. They were
forever grumbling and complaining about it. Everyone
one of them who ate it, with the exception of Joshua
and Caleb died in the wilderness because of unbelief
The message is clear.
When you love Him, you don't have any problem
obeying Him. "If you love Me you will keep My
commandments," Jesus said.
Jesus is the Bread
Manna is a type of Christ
giving His life that the believer might eternal
life. Jesus Christ is the true manna. He is the
Bread from heaven.
Jesus tells us about
bread that gives life. It is not the commodity, but
a Person who gives life that begins the moment
someone believes on him and it satisfies throughout
eternity. The life He gives is eternal because He is
eternal. The person who believes on Jesus receives
eternal life. He is the giver of life for all who
will believe on Him. Just as the Yahweh provided
manna in the wilderness of Sin, Jesus is the
heavenly provider of the bread of heaven that issues
in eternal life. A person who eats His bread will
Jesus answered and said
to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe
in Him whom He has sent." So they said to Him, "What
then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and
believe You? What work do You perform? Our fathers
ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written,
"He gave them bread out of heaven to eat." Jesus
then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it
is not Moses who has given you the bread out of
heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true
bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that
which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to
the world." Then they said to Him, "Lord, always
give us this bread." Jesus said to them, "I am the
bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger,
and he who believes in Me will never thirst. But I
said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not
believe" (John 6:29-36).
Jesus used a figure of
speech that means to believe on Him. We must
appropriate the bread He gives. We do so by faith in
Him. Jesus is not referring to the Lord's Supper or
the "sacraments." The Lord's Supper came a year
later. Jesus would not have used the symbolism of
the Lord's Supper while speaking to the Jews who
were arguing with Him. They wouldn't be able to
understand Him. "Eating" and "drinking" is simple
faith in Him and the provision of eternal life He
has made for us. We "eat" and "drink" Jesus by
believing on Him as our personal Savior. Note how
often in the context Jesus refers to believing on
Him (vv. 29, 35, 40, 47, 69). His death gives life
to all who believe on Him. The only possible meaning
is the spiritual appropriation of Jesus Christ by
faith. "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes
has eternal life" (v. 47).
In Galatians 2:16, 20 the
apostle Paul's teaching is clear on this subject.
"Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by
the works of the Law but through faith in Christ
Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so
that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not
by the works of the Law; since by the works of the
Law no flesh will be justified. . . . I have been
crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who
live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I
now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of
God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me."
Jesus is more than manna;
He is our bread of life. We can have all of Him that
we desire, and we can never desire too much of Him.
We definitely will never be disappointed in Him. May
the Lord cure us of our spiritual anemia and cause
our hearts to feast daily at His table.
"I am the bread of life.
Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and
they died. This is the bread which comes down out of
heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am
the living bread that came down out of heaven; if
anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and
the bread also which I will give for the life of the
world is My flesh." (John 6:48-51).
Jesus went on to stress
that He came from the Father in heaven and we can
have fellowship with Him. "He who eats My flesh and
drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the
living Father sent Me, and I live because of the
Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because
of Me. This is the bread which came down out of
heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats
this bread will live forever" (6:56-58).
Jesus has the last word
on manna. He said, "He who has an ear, let him hear
what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who
overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden
manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new
name written on the stone which no one knows but he
who receives it" (Revelation 2:17). Jesus Christ is
our Bread from heaven. Come, let's feast on Him
daily! We have life-sustaining fellowship as we
abide in Him. He alone gives us grace and strength
for each day. Could it be that we are now enjoying
the heavenly food that we shall partake of in Christ
for all eternity?
16:4-21 Bread from Heaven
Christ in the Old Testament