Molded Manna; Keeping Our Daily Bread Fresh in the Pantry of Our Hearts
“Moses said to them, “Let no man leave any of it until morning.” But they did not listen to Moses, and some left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and became foul; and Moses was angry with them. They gathered it morning by morning, every man as much as he should eat; but when the sun grew hot, it would melt.” – Exodus 16:19-21
There are many things I could say by way of introduction to the subject of manna; for this bread from heaven is a very rich and plentiful subject within the pages of God’s Word. Manna is an Old Testament picture of Christ; for Jesus is the Bread of life who came down from heaven to earth (John 6:41). And just like manna, Jesus is a free gift from God given to undeserving people (Exodus 16:15, Romans 6:23).
But for our purposes in this particular devotional thought, let us turn our attention to the specific instructions the Lord gave the people of Israel about the usage and storage of manna. In our passage above, the people of God were specifically instructed not to try to hoard or store up the manna. Instead, they were to gather it on a daily basis and make sure that none of it was wasted. Yet some of the people did not listen to God’s instructions and attempted to stash excess manna up for later use. When they did so, God spoiled their plans by causing the excess bread to have a foul odor and become infested with maggots. The leftovers then lost nutritional value and had to be discarded. Therefore, the only way the Israelites could have fresh bread was to gather it each and every day, and eat it on the day it fell. Any remaining manna left on the ground was melted by the sun. So manna was eaten, and manna was melted, but no manna was to be stored up for later use. God designed this unique manna meal plan so that the people of God would learn to trust in His daily provision.
There was one exception to this pattern of gathering daily bread, and it had to do with the Sabbath. God did instruct the Israelites to gather a double portion of manna on the sixth day because no manna would fall from heaven on the seventh day (Exodus 16:22; 25). And as they did so, God faithfully saw to it that the manna did not spoil (Exodus 16:24). Similar to God’s design for work, they gathered manna for six days but did not gather manna on the seventh day (Exodus 16:26). Yet in no way did God’s instructions about manna in relation to the Sabbath diminish a great spiritual truth about His people’s need to gather daily bread (Exodus 16:21).
Jesus is the Bread of life. He who receives Him receives eternal life (John 6:51). He is the Word of God who became flesh and dwelt among men (John 1:1; 14). And like Israelites wandering in the wilderness, we must faithfully be about the business of daily gathering fresh bread from the Word of God. We are not to gather weekly bread or monthly bread. We are to gather daily bread. Just as yesterday’s physical meal does not nourish your body today, yesterday’s spiritual food will not sustain your soul for today. You need fresh manna from God’s Word every day. God did not design the pantry of your heart to be a storehouse for molded manna. And your faith will immediately begin to grow stale today if you do try to stash away manna in your spiritual cupboard in some lazy attempt to avoid having to labor for manna tomorrow. God won’t let it happen. Such poor spiritual dietary habits are displeasing to the Lord.
Jesus as the Bread of life will always satisfy the soul of any hungry sinner who diligently seeks after Him. But for proper spiritual growth and development, we must seek after Him on a daily basis. It should not surprise us that Jesus taught His disciples to pray and ask their heavenly Father for “daily” bread (Mathew 6:11).
– Pastor Eric