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What is it?

by: Bill Bratt

Email: info@icogsfg.org

Ancient Israel had been slaves in the land of Egypt for 430 years. God sent Moses to deliver them from their oppression, but God had hardened Pharaoh's heart (Ex. 7:3) and Pharaoh would not let the children of Israel go. God brought ten plagues upon Egypt so that they would know that it was God who was dealing with them (Ex. 7:5). The tenth plague was the death of the firstborn. Pharaoh finally called for Moses and Aaron and said (Exo 12:31 NKJV) "Rise, go out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel. And go, serve the LORD as you have said."

So God led Israel out of Egypt, (Exo 13:21 NKJV) "And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night."

God led Israel to the Red Sea and by a great miracle, the children of Israel went through the Red Sea on dry ground (Ex. 14:22).

The children of Israel arrived at the wilderness of Sin one month after they departed the land of Egypt (Ex. 16:1-3) and they murmured against Moses and Aaron and said: "Oh, that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt.

Now let's focus in on the story of the Manna. Exo 16:4-35 (NKJV) says: "Then the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.
{5} "And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily."
{6} Then Moses and Aaron said to all the children of Israel, "At evening you shall know that the LORD has brought you out of the land of Egypt.
{7} "And in the morning you shall see the glory of the LORD; for He hears your complaints against the LORD. But what are we, that you complain against us?"
{8} Also Moses said, "This shall be seen when the LORD gives you meat to eat in the evening, and in the morning bread to the full; for the LORD hears your complaints which you make against Him. And what are we? Your complaints are not against us but against the LORD."
{9} Then Moses spoke to Aaron, "Say to all the congregation of the children of Israel, 'Come near before the LORD, for He has heard your complaints.'"
{10} Now it came to pass, as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud.
{11} And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
{12} "I have heard the complaints of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, 'At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the LORD your God.'"
{13} So it was that quails came up at evening and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay all around the camp.
{14} And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground.
{15} So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, "What is it?" For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, "This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat.
{16} "This is the thing which the LORD has commanded: 'Let every man gather it according to each one's need, one omer for each person, according to the number of persons; let every man take for those who are in his tent.'"
{17} Then the children of Israel did so and gathered, some more, some less.
{18} So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one's need.
{19} And Moses said, "Let no one leave any of it till morning."
{20} Notwithstanding they did not heed Moses. But some of them left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them.
{21} So they gathered it every morning, every man according to his need. And when the sun became hot, it melted.
{22} And so it was, on the sixth day, that they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. And all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.
{23} Then he said to them, "This is what the LORD has said: 'Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.'"
{24} So they laid it up till morning, as Moses commanded; and it did not stink, nor were there any worms in it.
{25} Then Moses said, "Eat that today, for today is a Sabbath to the LORD; today you will not find it in the field.
{26} "Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, there will be none."
{27} Now it happened that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none.
{28} And the LORD said to Moses, "How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws?
{29} "See! For the LORD has given you the Sabbath; therefore He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day."
{30} So the people rested on the seventh day.
{31} And the house of Israel called its name Manna. And it was like white coriander seed, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.
{32} Then Moses said, "This is the thing which the LORD has commanded: 'Fill an omer with it, to be kept for your generations, that they may see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.'"
{33} And Moses said to Aaron, "Take a pot and put an omer of manna in it, and lay it up before the LORD, to be kept for your generations."
{34} As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept.
{35} And the children of Israel ate manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan."

What is it?

It is interesting that in vs. 15 that the children of Israel saw the Manna and they said to one another, "What is it?" A quote from the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary says: "Evidently, when the Israelites first saw it on the ground, they nicknamed it a "whatness," or colloquially a "whatdyacallit," which seems to be the literal meaning with reference to the mysterious quality of the divine bread."

Lessons to be learned from the Manna.

Lesson # 1: Israel had been slaves in Egypt for many years. As slaves they labored greatly working 7 days a week. The first great lesson that God wanted Israel to learn was to rest on the Sabbath. The Manna was to be gathered every day, except the Sabbath. If they gathered more than they should have each day, except on the day immediately preceding the Sabbath, the Manna substance became wormy and offensive.

Lesson # 2: Notice that in verse 3, it says: "that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not." This was a simple test to see if the children of Israel really loved the God who had delivered them from slavery and would want to keep His law. You might compare this test to telling your kids to take out the trash from the kitchen and put it in the garbage cans. They may love you, but they may not want to do what you have told them to do.

Lesson # 3: Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life. The Manna was a type of Jesus Christ. The Manna was bread from heaven. Jesus was from heaven. Jesus said in John 6:48-51 "I am the bread of life. {49} Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. {50} "This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. {51} I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world."

Lesson # 4: We must live by every Word of God. Mat 4:4 (NKJV) says: "But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'"

In Conclusion:

As you can see, we can learn many lessons from the story of the Manna.
Let's remember to keep the Sabbath, God's law and to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
Let's remember that Jesus is the bread of life and that it is through him that we have our salvation. Jesus died for us (John 3:16). We are justified by His blood and saved by His life (Rom. 5:9-10).

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