The text for this lesson is Exodus 16
- God provided for the children of Israel. We can trust God to provide all that we need.
- Law: According to my sinful nature, I quickly forget God’s promises and power. When I think I lack food, money, a good job, or other First Article gifts included in “daily bread,” I am tempted to think that God either does not love me, does not care, or can’t provide what I need.
- Gospel: In Jesus, God came in the flesh to lead me out of slavery to sin to be with Him in the promised land of heaven. He promises He will never leave me or forsake me, but will supply all that I need.
- Moses led the children of Israel out of their slavery in Egypt through the Red Sea. They were now in the Sinai Desert, where there was no food or water. God led them up against the Red Sea when the Egyptians were pursuing them so that He could show them His power. And by a mighty miracle, He delivered them out of the hand of Pharaoh and his army. From there, He led them into the desert so He could show them that He was the almighty God who could provide for their needs. He was with them in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. He talked to them through His servant Moses.
Over and over again, the children of Israel are a picture of sinful man. They don’t trust God, they grumble, they complain, they don’t remember GThe children of Israel grumbled against the Lord in the desert. This means that they despised what He had done for them and wished He had left them alone in Egypt. They longed to be back in slavery, the very place where they cried out to the Lord for deliverance. They wanted to be rescued, but they did not trust God to give them good things. They were worried that God would not meet their needs.
Over and over again, the children of Israel are a picture of sinful man. They don’t trust God, they grumble, they complain, they don’t remember God’s gracious actions toward them, they don’t trust the leaders that God places over them, they doubt that God can provide for their needs, and they want a god after their own imagination. But God does not leave them or forsake them. He shows His power, His concern, His love, and His patience through His chosen leader. Moses is a picture of Christ. He is the mediator between God and Israel. When God grows angry and impatient, it is Moses who intercedes and reminds God of His promises. Sinful Israel needs Moses to intercede for them.
When they grumble for food, God provides a miracle. While wandering in the desert, the people could not grow food, so God provided it. He sent bread from heaven in the morning. When the people saw it for the first time, they asked, “What is it?” (Exodus 16:15). The word manna (16:31) means “what is it?” in Hebrew.
The people were to gather an omer, about two quarts, of manna in the morning. They were supposed to eat it that very day. They were not to leave any of it until the next morning. God gave a specific law regarding this that they did not obey. After the first day, it grew worms and stank. Again, they did not trust God to keep His Word. On the sixth day, they were to gather twice as much so that they could eat on the Sabbath. For on the Sabbath, God would not send any manna. Some of them did not obey this law either and went out to try and gather manna on the Sabbath.
God wanted to teach them to obey Him and to trust in Him. He was showing them that He would provide for their daily needs, literally their “daily bread.” He also taught them to keep the Sabbath holy by resting on it and not working.
Jesus would use the analogy of manna, bread from heaven (16:4), to describe Himself in John 6:31-35. As bread sustains the body, so faith in Jesus sustains the soul. God provides both for the body and for the soul. He does not care for one at the expense of the other. In the Lord’s Prayer, we pray for both body and soul. In the first three petitions, we pray for God to hallow His name, let His kingdom come, and let His will be done. These all integrate faith and action, Word and work. In the Fourth Petition, we pray that God would keep His promise to take care of our bodies and all things needed for this earthly life. Our Creator knows what we need even better than we do. He created us, He sent His Son to redeem us, He counts our hairs, and He has promised to sustain us in this world.