Exodus 16=Manna in the Wilderness
Bible Background: As this scene unfolds, it has been about 30 days since the Israelites made the exodus from Egypt. God’s presence has been visible (pillar of cloud and fire), and real. The people, though, are hungry and complain, and even wish they had died in Egypt-where they were treated terribly, but did have food to eat. As we’ve seen before, God hears their cries, and God provides.
Digging Deeper: 1. The Israelites have seen God’s great power and God’s great victories: the plagues, the defeat of Pharaoh’s chariot army, the rescue through the Red Sea. But reality quickly sets in: they don’t know where they are; where they are going; how long the journey will be; or what they will eat. Their complaining-in some ways-is understandable.
2. This is clearly a story that demonstrates how God provides! There are also 2 details worth noting: First, that there is enough manna for everyone, so forget the ‘scarcity’ thinking! Second, God provides bread and meat one day at a time! If they will learn that the LORD provides, and does so faithfully, they may yet learn to trust God along the way! (Verse 16:12 emphatically states, “Then they will know that I am the LORD your God”, and there is NO other; just like God would prove that the hard way to Pharaoh!”
3. Pause to consider that ‘cries’ people who are hurting, discouraged, or oppressed, raise up today? Who, besides God, is hearing those cries? Who is trying to silence some, or many, of those cries? How do we take their cries to heart? How might we respond-and work with God to provide what hungry or hurting people need?
4. Also ponder how this story fits in with Jesus teaching us to pray: “Give us this day our daily bread.”
Notice the “us” and “our”, and not just “me” and “my!” And notice the “daily” part. Martin Luther explains this petition broadly: “Daily bread” includes everything needed for this life, such as food and clothing, home and property, work and income, a devoted family, an orderly community, good government, favorable weather, peace and health, a good name, and true friends and neighbors! Thank God, that God is a God of abundance, and not of scarcity or stinginess!