|Exodus 16 (NKJV™)|
|1||And they journeyed from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came to the Wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they departed from the land of Egypt.|
|2||Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.|
|3||And the children of Israel said to them, "Oh, that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger."|
|4||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.|
|36||Now an omer is one-tenth of an ephah.|
New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.
At first, the children of Israel celebrated their deliverance--but then they looked back to Egypt. In the midst of their grumbling, the Lord showered them with grace and rained manna from heaven. As we examine Exodus 16, we learn more about God's faithfulness and discover some interesting parallels between that bread from heaven and the true Bread from heaven: Jesus Christ.
Beginning in the brickyards of Egypt and ending in the tabernacle filled with God's presence, the book of Exodus chronicles the deliverance of God's people from Egypt and records the end of their oppression under Pharaoh. It also provides an account of the beginning of a prophecy fulfilled: God promised Abraham descendants beyond number, and on the pages of Exodus we see Israel become a great nation.
In this verse-by-verse study, Pastor Skip Heitzig presents an in-depth look at Moses, the ten plagues, the ten commandments, the desert wanderings, the construction of the tabernacle, and more. As we study, we'll see the grace of God, witness the glory of the Lord, and a catch a glimpse of Israel's coming Savior.
Visit expoundabq.org for more information on this series.
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Hebrew Terms: מַה־ – mah – what; שַׁבַּת־ – Shabbat - Sabbath; ve·le·chem - bread; ma·yim - of heaven
Figures Referenced: Karl Keil; Friedrich Delitzsch; Flavius Josephus; Manuel Oliveira;
Cross References: Exodus 14:13; Exodus 15:27; Leviticus 25; Numbers 11:5; Numbers 11:8; Deuteronomy 8:4; Psalm 37:25; Psalm 78:24; Psalm 105:40; Psalm 119:18; Matthew 6:11; Luke 9:62; John 4:13-14; John 6:30-35; John 6:49-51; Acts 20:7; Romans 1:21; Romans 6:23; Romans 11:4; Romans 14:5; 1 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 16:2; Ephesians 2:9; Colossians 2:16-17; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:12-13; Revelation 2:4
Keywords: complaining, grumbling, grace, manna, quail, provision, bread of life, bread from heaven
Now let's pray. Heavenly Father we thank you for this evening. We thank you that we can divide our week and be spiritually refreshed as well as challenged. We know that we need spiritual maintenance on a regular basis. We thank you Lord that we can gather as a body of believers, a common goal, a common interest over a common text of scripture. We are thus a textual community as we gather around your word, the teaching of your word, the pondering of your word, and the application of your word to our lives.
These events happened so long ago and the words that Moses spoke, that you spoke through him were spoken so long ago, but to us it is like fresh manna. You seem to take these principles that were written down so long ago and make them personal for us. And we remember the words of Paul that these things were written for our admonition.
So we apply ourselves Lord to listening, to learning, it's a very real part our worship here and we want to give you our attention and show you that we love you by listening to what you might have to say to us, not what we have to say to each other or to you, but what you have to say to us. So receive our worship as we sit with our full attention and we apply your truth to our lives. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Well yes, I have been in Japan for the last week and all I can say it was both -- I saw devastation as well as cooperation. It was horrible and it was wonderful at the same time. What I mean by that is that you know about the 9.0 earthquake and the tsunami devastation. I have some slides. Hopefully they are going to throw up anytime now on the screen that shows some of the devastation that took place. And so when I say it was horrible, that's why it was horrible was this physical devastation of a wave that was in some places a hundred feet high and that took out buildings and people along with it.
There's a picture of a church building that was in a harbor and everything was taken out except that church. It was the only thing that stood there. Even though the waters covered its roof and houses were taken up and put down. As I stood there and I saw this, I though of the devastation that Moses, Aaron, Miriam, and the children of Israel must have seen as they looked back on the Red Sea as the Egyptians were swallowed up.
Now I want you to just look at this picture. That's an automobile wrapped around a pole. That is as the wave that came in was going back out before there were three successive waves in this tsunami. The water came in and then it was violently receiving and taken back out. That's the result of the car being thrown. Imagine the kind of force to have an automobile bend around, frame and all, bend around a pole as the water was taken back out. And thousands of people were taken out with it.
And you get a little bit of a sense what it was like to see chariots and armor and horses and people being tossed around that kind of debris as the waters of the Red Sea engulfed the enemies of Israel and Israel was delivered.
Now I say it was horrible and that is horrible, but it was also wonderful because I got to meet lots of leaders and lots of people who are from all over the world. Even they're from Japan, Christians who are on the spot, on the job working. And let me read to you what I read in the scriptures the day I was about to go out and see this devastation. I was having my devotional time and I was reading Psalm 93 and this is what I read that morning. "The mighty oceans have roared, Oh Lord. The mighty oceans roar like thunder. The mighty oceans roar as they pound the shore, but mightier than the violent raging of the seas, mightier than the breakers on the shore, the Lord above is mightier than these."
I didn't look for that scripture. It was in my daily reading. I came across it and I read that before I went out and saw the devastation. And what I saw was not just the devastation, but the mighty love of God being poured out through people whom they will tell me, leaders will tell me, Christians will tell me and you that the opportunity they have now is unparalleled in their history.
And one pastor who lost his church and lost 50 of his congregation members, they're unaccounted for and presumed dead, lost the entire building, lost his house, they lost all of their homes. He will say God has chosen us. He's chosen us for such a time as this to be able to show the love of Christ in a real tangible way. I talked to one pastor, he said, "I planned on retiring in June. Those were my plans until this happened and God put me back to work to be his hands and his feet and demonstrate his love to my people at such a time as this."
So it was horrible but it's wonderful at the same time to see how people around the world are rallying together to help these people. I was working as I mentioned with Samaritan's Purse. I was there with Franklin Graham and we got to meet government leaders. We were able to meet church leaders and to be able to tour the facility with all of the donated goods that are there that are being passed out to these people on a daily basis.
Now back to Exodus. So far in the book of Exodus everything for the children of Israel has been a gift. They haven't really done anything. It's been a gift. You see, they didn't break the pride and the power of Pharaoh and the Egyptians by sending ten plagues on that land, God did that. They didn't do it, God did that. They didn't open the water so that they could go through and the Egyptians drowned, God did that. They didn't do it, God did it.
They didn't march during the day with umbrellas over the head to protect themselves from the sunlight and little torches at night so that they cold see. No, God gave them a pillar of fire at night and a pillar of cloud by day. They didn't do it, God did it.
So everything so far they didn't do, it's been a gift. The only thing they have done is what God told them to do through Moses in Chapter 14, "Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord." You guys just hangout and you watch what God is going to do for you. So that's why I say everything up to this point has been a gift.
Now doesn't that sound familiar? Isn't that a lot like salvation? It's a free gift of God. God acts toward us favorably based upon what Jesus did for us on the cross, wiping away our sins. God gives to as many as will receive it salvation. That's why Paul says it's not of works, lest anyone should boast. Nobody can brag about earning anything. Like all that God has done for the children of Israel, it has been a gift for them and for us up to this point.
Now in Chapter 15, they get really excited about what they have seen. That Red Sea miracle, that state of the art miracle so excited them that in Chapter 15 it's all about praise and worship. They have a giant praise and worship service complete with dancing and tambourines as they give glory to God. But now in this Chapter, their praise turns to panic. Their worship turns to worry. Why is that?
It was pretty simple actually. In fact, it's pretty basic. It's because they're hungry. They want food, which is interesting. They have just seen the classic miracle, the power of God demonstrated. It's almost as if they have forgotten what they have seen and now they feel like they're hung out to dry and life isn't worth living anymore and it's not worth going on because they're hungry and they have forgotten the power of God.
Now, wouldn't you think that if a person was hungry, they would think, "I've just seen God, through ten plagues wipe a nation. I've just seen God open a body of water. I've just seen the Lord provide a cloud for shade during the day and for light at night and warmth. I think God's going to take care of my meal." But they seemed to have forgotten that.
There's a principle I want you to remember. We often forget what we should remember and we remember what we should forget. We lock in to certain things that we just sort of don't let go of, but the tender, wonderful mercies of God we forget about even if God has shown himself strong. Miracles will dazzle people for a moment, but I got to tell you something.
Unbelief is such a strong current. Unbelief tends to wipe out in the memory banks all of the mercies, all of the miracles, all of the dazzle that a person has seen. Case in point, we've studied it in Sunday mornings. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Some people saw it. Pharisees probably were among the crowd that saw it. They certainly heard about it. And as soon a Lazarus gets raised from the dead in spite of the dazzling miracle, they plot how they can destroy Jesus Christ.
So we forget what we ought to remember and we remember what we ought to forget. No wonder the apostle Peter in 2 Peter Chapter 1 said, "I will not be negligent, brethren, to remind you of these things. Though you already know them and are established in the present truth, I want to stir you up to remembering." In other words, you guys have forgotten certain things. I know you know them but you've forgotten them. You're not holding them in the present any longer. It's sort of a past thing that you're not in touch with and I'm going to stir you up. I'm going to jog your memory.
So, children of Israel start complaining. That's what you're going to read about in this chapter. How does God respond to their complaints? Does he send fire and brimstone from heaven? He sends Crispy Kreme doughnuts. He sends bread from heaven. He sends manna from heaven and it's such a wonderful lesson of God's grace. Instead of giving them what they deserve -- can I just tell you something right now? Never ask God to give you what you deserve. "God, I want you to give me what I deserve." Please don't do that unless you want to be crispy critter and just fry and die because what you and I deserve is death. "Death?" Yeah, death and hell. "Hell?" Yeah. The wages of sin is death but the free gift of God, free gift is God's grace. We'll see it here.
Verse 1 Chapter 16, "And they journeyed from Elim". Now Elim was a cool place. If you recall, Elim is described in the previous chapter as an oasis in the middle of the desert. Twelve wells of water, 70 palm trees, a great place to hang out if that's all you've got in that region and they were refreshed. So they journeyed Elim and the congregation of the children of Israel came to the wilderness of sin.
Now, don't think of that in terms of the wilderness of committing sin. That's a -- this is a title, sin or "seen" you would pronounce it and it's related to another word in the same verse, Sinai. See it's the first three letters of the mountain of Sinai because we believe that in the South West portion of that Sinai peninsula is where that wilderness began, the wilderness of sin related to the mountain of Sinai which is between Elim and Sinai on the 15th day of the second month after they departed from the land of Egypt. So they've been on the road now for about a month, a month and a half.
Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. So just tuck that away in your brain because I'm going to come back to that in a minute. They're complaining against the leadership. And the children of Israel said to them, Moses and Aaron, "Oh that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt." Can I just say that I wouldn't make a very good Moses? Probably most of you wouldn't either because if I heard that and they said, "Oh that we had died," I would have said, "Amen. Amen" because if it's going to get really wearying to hear a complaint after complaint after gripe after gripe and to be at the center of that for so many years.
"Oh that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full, for you have brought us into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger."
This is called "Selective Memory Disorder." For the record, that's what I'm calling it, selective memory disorder. If I recall correctly, the record tells us that they were slaves in Egypt. They didn't eat anything to the full. They were giving meager amounts of everything and they were slaves seven days a week.
Building bricks without straw and for years being enslaved by the Egyptians. But in their imagination, they're looking back to the bright spot and they're forgetting the huge dark spot, the cloud that hung over their lives for years. Now in Numbers Chapter 11 and I'm telling you this now because we may never get to Numbers. But if we do, you'll see that their complaint gets a little more specific. They start naming the foods they missed. Leeks, onions, garlic, not that they would just eat those raw, these are the spices that you put on food.
In other words, we miss – if you left New Mexico you would miss green chili, or chili. Okay, I'm sorry, just chili because -- I like red chili. Okay, whatever. You'd miss the spice, not that you would sit here and eat like chili after chili after chili, but you mix it with stuff. They miss those accoutrements that came along with the abundance of the food that they said they had in Egypt.
So they named that in Numbers Chapter 11. Here's what I want you to know. They were slaves but the meager portions that they got as slaves in Egypt are magnified by their imagination. Do you get that? They were slaves. Their meager portions were magnified by their imagination.
Now I submit to you that Satan tries to do the same thing with you and with me to get you to look back and remember how good it was before you came to Christ. That's what he tries. That's the bill of goods he tries to sell you. Do you remember all the friends you had before you came to Jesus? Do you remember all the good times you had? You could do whatever you wanted to do, selective memory disorder. He won't remind you all of those dark days that you were in bondage and enslaved to your own desires. He won't bring up that lonely feeling you had in your gut day after day. But he tries to say remember those bright spots which for these people were few and far between.
Also there's something else, believer. When you lose your first love relationship with Jesus Christ like it says in Revelation Chapter 2, the church Ephesus, when you lose the first love relationship that you had with Jesus Christ and he doesn't satisfy you any longer, the world starts looking more and more appealing. You start looking back to it. You start looking back to it to fulfill your needs because you're not letting Jesus fill them any longer.
Paul the apostle in Romans 1 speaks of this attitude. Listen to what he says. "When they knew God, they did not glorify him as God, neither were they thankful." You start looking away from God, you start looking back to things that are selective and amplified in your imagination, and you stop being thankful. You start complaining and it can become a lifestyle unfortunately. Just remember next time you're tempted to complain. I know the economy is bad. It's a real issue. I know things are bad. It can be a real issue and in your life I don't want to marginalize or minimize what you may be going through, but here's just a little reality check. Your garbage disposal eats better than 30% of the world's population. That's just a reality check. God has been so good to us.
Now let me say something else before we move on. We want to finish this Chapter. The fact that the record of the bible shows the murmuring and the complaining and the grumbling and the griping of the children of Israel adds to the authenticity of the biblical narrative as anybody writing a biography would often be very selective and just show the good points and not the bad points. The bible tells the whole story even of the heroes of the bible. It shows the sins and the foibles and the failures, the warts and all.
So it adds, to my opinion, to the authenticity of the biblical record that shows us exactly what is was like. Verse 4, then the Lord said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain,' fire and brimstone, no, "Bread from heaven for you." What a statement of grace. "And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota everyday that I may test them whether they walk in my law or not." It's going to rain bread from heaven. You've heard the old saying, "It's raining cats and dogs." Well they would say, "It's raining bread and doughnuts from heaven."
Notice that the Lord says this is to test them. You see, this group of one-time slaves who were in Egypt, even though they got meager helpings from the Egyptians, not the banquet that they're imagining. They need to be weaned from those kinds of free handouts to trusting in the Lord on a daily basis, that God's going to come through and actually provide, taken to the mountain of desert and for 40 years providing for them. So God is going to test them.
Okay. Now, I'm going to fast forward to another book in the first five books of Moses. In the book of Numbers, we are told that the instigators of much of this complaining is a group known as the mixed multitude. The mixed multitude was a group of spiritual freeloaders you might say, many of them who were Egyptians who fled for their lives, who wanted the relief without the relationship. They didn't have a real relationship of faith or a covenant relationship with God, but they wanted the relief. They didn't want to get their first born killed. They didn't want to get wiped out in the Red Sea. They started believing in the promises of God because of the children of Israel, but they're not fully sold out.
So they will begin and instigate the complaining and cause the children of Israel -- by the complaining of the mixed multitude to cause the rest of them to look back to Egypt.
The first step to going backwards is looking backwards. Hey, remember what it was like? Yeah. When you do that, really remember what it was like. Not selective memory disorder, remember the whole truth. They didn't do that and the instigators were the mixed multitude. Jesus put it this way, "No man having put his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God." This is the reason you and I must be selective in who our friends are that we hang out with and what people we partner with in business, in what people we chose to date or make our spouse, that we get the right people who are going to encourage us in spiritual things and move us on toward the Lord, not away from him, to get us to look ahead and up, not backwards.
Verse 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." In other words, on the sixth day, before the seventh day, before the Shabbat, before the day of rest, before the Sabbath, you pick up twice as much as you did on the other days so that you don't do any cooking or work on the Sabbath.
Now this is going to be a law that will be instituted later on. Here's the beginning of it. You're going to prepare. You're going to prepare on the sixth day what you're going to eat on the seventh and you're not going to do any work or cooking on the seventh day. So they will gather twice as much as they gather daily.
Now herein lays the test. Will they believe God is able to provide for them everyday of the week for the next 40 years? The manna will continue for 40 years until they reach the border of the Promised Land at a place called Gilgal. We'll get to that in the book of Joshua, Lord willing. But the manna, the manna was a perpetual testing, a continual trying, and an ongoing training for them to depend on God. They had to do it everyday. They had to trust God every single day.
Didn't Jesus teach us to do the same when he taught us the Lord's Prayer, the Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will done on earth as it is on heaven? Give us this day our daily bread, not give us this month our bi-monthly paycheck, but this day our daily bread that -- here's the principle, we never should outgrow simple dependence on God. Give us this day our daily bread.
So every day they'd get up, God said there's going to be manna on the ground, the substance. I'm going to feed you with bread from heaven. You pick it up, sixth day you take twice as much so you can prepare for the seventh day. Now this is a principle I want you just to remember because later on when we get to Leviticus Chapter 25, this principle gets amplified on a large scale for the entire nation and their agriculture. They are to work for six years and on the seventh year, the Sabbath year, they are to let the ground lay fallow and not plant anything and God said, "Don't worry. I'll provide for you during the entire year what you gather up on the sixth." So this little principle begins here and it will be amplified later.
Verse 6, And Moses and Aaron said to the children of Israel, "At evening you shall know that the Lord has brought you out of the land of Egypt." It's an interesting thing to say. I would think by now they knew God delivered them out of the land of Egypt miracle after miracle. But once again, you know what? You're going to know this. How? And in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord for he hears your complaints against the Lord.
Now it says they were complaining against Moses and Aaron. Moses goes, "You know what? God hears your complaints against him." You know how he figures that? Well it's pretty simple. "If God chose me, Moses, and Aaron, my brother for the task of leadership, I didn't do it, I didn't want it, but if God chose us for this task and you're complaining against us, the ones God chose, guess what, you're complaining against the Lord. God hears your complaint against him."
But what are we that you complain against us? Now what I want you to notice is when Moses says, "You're going to see the glory of the Lord." How are they going to see the glory of the Lord? Well they are going to wake up in the morning and see God's provision. That provision is the glory of the Lord. That provision is the sign that God is at work and delivered them from Egypt. The glory of the Lord is often the visible sign of the presence of God, the visible sign of the presence of God. A sign of the presence of God in your life is when you see God's provision for your life. "You're going to see my glory," says the Lord and when they woke in the morning and they saw God's provision for their life, it was the sign of God's presence in their life.
I want you to listen of what David writes in Psalm 37. He says, "I was young and now I am old and I have never seen the righteous forsaken or God's people begging for bread." A sign of God's presence in your life is God's provision for your life. And when God would provide for their needs, it was to make them thankful so that they would praise and worship God and give God the glory. That's how they would see God's glory. Verse 8, 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." What are we? Your complaints are not against us but against the Lord.
Then Moses spoke to Aaron, "Say to all the congregation of the children of Israel to come near before the Lord for he has heard your complaints." At this point I'd be going, "Uh-oh." You just – it's like being called to the principal's office. God hears your complaints, come here. All 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. That's the initial visible evidence of God's presence, but it's going to continue.
And the Lord spoke to Moses saying, "I have heard the complaints of the children of Israel. Speak to them saying at twilight," or at some versions put it at midnight, "You will eat meat and in the morning you will be filled with bread and you will know that I am the Lord your God." You see that the purpose of God's provision is to further spiritual relation. The purpose of God's provision is to further enhance their spiritual relationship.
I'm going to do this for you and you're going to know that I am the Lord. That was the point of it. So it was. Watch this, "That quails came up," that's the meat. They said, "Oh that we died in the wilderness," or "died by the hands of the Egyptians." "We miss the flesh pots, those three legged bronze pots of meat that we ate to the full," selective memory disorder.
So God's going to give them meat to the full. Quails came up at evening and covered the camp and in the morning do lay all around the camp. A word about these birds, the quail. Quails are migratory birds and in that part of the world, they migrate from the Arabian Peninsula, Saudi Arabia. In a couple of months during the year, they migrate toward the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, North Africa, and on to Europe. They travel with the winds and because they travel with the winds they can cover long distances, but because they cover long distances, they get really tired and they fly slow and low to the ground.
Often times they'll even stop and just rest and it's easy to catch them. In one commentary that I was reading by Keil and Delitzsch, two great German scholars who did research on this, they said these quail still fly in such dense masses that the Arab boys today often kill two or three at a time by merely striking them with a stick as they fly. Sort of like playing baseball but with birds.
But in the spring the quails also come northward in immense masses from the interior of Africa and return in autumn when they sometimes arrive so exhausted that they can be caught with the hand. Something else I discovered, in Egyptian pictographs, hieroglyphics, they often picture people with these little nets, hand nets, catching quail because they're easy to catch. Well God just brought them into the camps so they would have enough, more than enough.
Verse 14, "When the layer of dune lifted there on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance as fine as frost on the ground." So I know Krispy Kreme doughnuts was a stretch because it's just tiny little stuff. Now it's -- you're going to see it's white and it's on the ground. Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian, you've heard me for years talk about him, said when the children of Israel first got out and looked they thought it had snowed. It looked like snow on the ground.
So when the children of Israel saw it, Verse 15, 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." Okay. Now I want your attention here for a moment because I want to unravel this. There's a Hebrew word here, Manna, when it says manna, manna, that is translated into the Greek translation of the bible, the Septuagint Version as manna which is transliterated into our English translation, manna. What is it? They looked at it and said, "What is it?"
Now today in Israel, the term for "What is it," the question, "What is it?" in Hebrew would be Mase. What is this mase? It is believed that this is a participle of an old way of asking the question "What is it?" "Manna?" It's an old rendering. That's what some people believed that they called it after the question, "What is it?" And so they called it "What is it?" That's the name of it. "What are we going to have for supper?" "What is it?" "Oh yeah, we had that last night."
Okay. Or in some translations of the bible like the Revised Standard Version, in the margin there's a little note. It says, when they saw it, they didn't say, "What is it?" they said, "This is manna."
Now it is believed the word man, M-A-N or man, we would say is from an old Egyptian word man, M-A-N and they named it after what was a shrub in the Sinai desert. There's this tree, a tamoris bush, that to this day Arabs call man or manna. And it's this little sticky, sweet honey-like substance that hardens into little white droplets that fall on the ground. It could be that the children of Israel named it after what was familiar to them, that stuff that falls on the ground from the bush. That's not what it was, it was actually bread from heaven that God miraculously gave, but they named it after what was familiar to them. So they called it manna, that bread that is from that Sinai area.
Verse 16. That makes sense? If that didn't make sense you can ask me about it afterwards and I can tell you I don't know. No, you can talk to me afterwards.
This is the thing which the Lord has commanded, "Let every man gathereth according to each one's need. One omer for each person," that's less than two quarts, "According to the number of the persons let each man take for those who are in his tent."
Then the children of Israel did sow and gathered some more, some less, each according to his need.
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 gathered according to each one's need and Moses said, "Let no one leave any of it, any of it until morning." Notwithstanding, they did not heed Moses. Surprise, surprise. Some of them left part of it until morning and that bred worms and stank and Moses was angry with them. He got up in the morning and it just stunk in that camp. "Oh that stinks! Somebody did not obey me." And they found a lot of people didn't.
So they gathered every morning, every man according to his need and when the sun became hot it melted. Now this is interesting. In the camp of Israel, there was no room for a lazy person, for a slugger who would want to just like sleep and get up really late. No, if you don't get up and get that manna, it's going to turn to liquid. It's going to melt in the sun.
So you got to get up early and get it so you have food for the day. Now I see a spiritual parallel and I'm going to draw a couple of these during this message tonight. I think it's best if you learn to start your day with the Lord. Start your day spiritually with the Lord. Gather manna, spiritual food early. Food from the word, do it early.
If you wait too long, what happens is the day gets cluttered, you get distracted and those days turn into more days and to more days and pretty soon you're spiritually malnourished because you haven't had manna. And I think its best when it comes early. And so it was, Verse 22, "On the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one," and the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses and he said to them, "This is what the Lord has said. Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord."
I'm emphasizing that word and I'll tell you why in a moment. Bake what you will bake today and boil what you will boil and lay up for yourselves all the remains to be kept until morning. Now I emphasized the word "Sabbath" because the very first time the word Sabbath appears in the scripture is here. It's not formalized yet until the giving of the law at Mount Sinai but the idea of the Sabbath is introduced to Israel here. You worked six days, the seventh day is a day of rest, a "Shabbat" in Hebrew or translated "Sabbath."
Now I imagine that while the children of Israel were in Egypt, they didn't get a day off. They were slaves, right? They probably worked seven days. They weren't used to this. God is giving them a gift. They get a day off. It's a new covenant now. It's a new relationship now. You work six days, you gather six days, you rest.
Now something interesting about manna, we'll discover there are several. There are five books in the Torah, the first five books of Moses, and manna is described in book two, three, four and five. We're going to discover that manna has enough sustenance to enable a male to eat it in the morning and give him strength to march -- male of female, march all the way through an entire day's march in the wilderness. In other words, they never lacked. That one meal brought them through the whole day.
When I was -- after Japan, this trip, I flew back to Anchorage, Alaska and I spoke on Sunday at a place called Port Alsworth, Alaska. And afterwards, Glenn Alsworth, the town's named after his dad, cooked us this sour dough pancakes. He just calls them "sour doughs." He said, "I was raised on these things." They were interesting and he said, "When I was a kid and we used to go out and chop wood, work during the day, if I had any other meal besides the sour doughs, I got hungry. If I had sour doughs and we had them typically," he said five days a week if not six, "it would last me all through the day." And I thought, "Really?"
So he gave me sour doughs that morning. It lasted me all the way until -- I was not hungry until night time. It had just an amazing way of sustaining. Manna, like those sour dough pancakes, gave a person energy and strength. More than that, in Deuteronomy, this is Chapter 8, the Lord recalling the manna in the wilderness, listen to God's description, "Your garments did not wear out while you were in the wilderness nor did your feet swell these 40 years."
I did a little digging. We're told that usually in the orient, people that have the same diet everyday without change, one of the manifestations they don't get enough nutrients, their feet swell. So, miraculously this bread, this "What is it?" had all of the necessary nutrients and life sustaining ingredients so that for 40 years, it gave them energy, it gave them protein, enough carbohydrates, enough complex carbohydrates and sugars, enough that their feet didn't swell.
Verse 24, so they laid it up until morning. That is the Sabbath morning. As Moses commanded -- and it did not stink. It stunk the other days, but it didn't stink that day nor were there any worms in it. And then Moses said, "Eat that today for today is a Sabbath to the Lord. Today you will not find it in the field. Six days you will gathereth, but on the seventh day which is the Sabbath, there will be none."
I got an interesting email either this week or the week before from someone I don't know whom. I don't know if it's in this community or in a community, they listen on the radio, but the email chided me for my disobedience to God and not keeping the Sabbath. "So you worship on Sunday, you're breaking the Sabbath. It's Baal worship." I was accused of Baal worship, disobeying God. Of course I don't know if this person knows that we have a Saturday night service, so we really do have a – keeping the Sabbath service, if you want to look at it that way. But they made a big deal out of not keeping the Sabbath day.
Now this is a typical question. I hear it a lot. Why do Christians worship on Sunday when God in the Ten Commandments says keep the holy the Sabbath day? Well to answer that, you have to look at the practices of the early church. What did they do? Before you say, "They worship on the Sabbath."
In Acts Chapter 20 Verse 7, it says, "On the first day of the week," not the seventh, "The first day of the week," that's Sunday, "they would gather together to break bread." In 1 Corinthians Chapter 16 Verse 2, it says, "On the first day of the week, each one should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income."
There are plenty of scriptures that talk about gathering together on the first day, not the seventh day. At least you read that the early church started making it a practice of gathering, tithing, breaking bread on the first day, not the seventh day. Why is that? Well the seventh day celebrates a finished creation. It's all about the creation. God worked for six days, on the seventh day he rested.
The first day is all about a finished redemption, that's why. Now let me just tell you something about the Sabbath. The calendar has so changed from the time this law was given, that we really don't know when Saturday is, at least what should be the sixth day of the week. The calendars have so changed and been mismanaged throughout history that Saturday may actually be Tuesday. We don't really know when the Sabbath is. That's just for starters.
Number two and more significant, of all of the Ten Commandments, the only commandment that is non-moral, follow me, non-moral and purely ceremonial is the Sabbath day. That's why all nine commandments of the Ten Commandments, all other nine are repeated in the New Testament. The Sabbath is not. Jesus never said keep the Sabbath. Paul the Apostle never said, "You keep the Sabbath." In the Book of Acts they didn't make a big deal out of keeping the Sabbath. In fact, when the Jews were telling the Gentiles about having a relationship with God, they never mentioned the Sabbath. They just said, "Don't eat meat, sacrifice to idols, save yourself from fornication, things strangled, blood, God speed. God bless you all."
In fact, it seems that the bible and the New Testament makes more of an issue about not making the Sabbath a big deal. Colossians Chapter 2, "Let no one judge you in relation to your keeping of the Sabbath or new moons or festivals which are a shadow of things to come, but the substances of Christ." Or Romans 14, Paul says one man esteems one day over all the other days. Another man esteems all of the days of the week alike. And then this is what Paul says, "Let each one be persuaded in his own mind." How is that?
In other words, "The Sabbath is a day to worship." Good, you persuade that in your own mind, go do it. "No, Sunday is a day to worship." You persuade about that, good. Do it. I'm persuaded that God ought to be worshiped Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, everyday. The Lord is the Lord of all the week, not just one day. And if you're not persuaded, cool, but don't try to persuade me or anybody else and make that your little legalistic hang up.
Enough said. Verse 27, "Now it happened that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none." Remember, manna is a test if you're going to trust God or not. They failed the test. And the Lord said to Moses, "How long do you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws? 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 this place. Let no man go out of his place on the seventh day."
So the people rested on the seventh day and the house of Israel. Now watch this description, called its name manna, either mun, stuff that they saw on the desert and they didn't know what it was so they called it that or they called it, "What is it?" That interrogative participle, "What is it?" That's what they called it. And -- watch this, and it was like white coriander seed and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.
So maybe I'm not stretching the Krispy Kreme analogy too much. Wafers made with honey, the sweet wafer. I want a little add to that, I'm not trying to proof text Krispy Kreme and say they're from heaven or God or anything, but in Numbers 11, it says the taste of the manna was like fresh oil, or one translation says "Rich cream." Oh yeah, baby.
So that's manna. That's what it's like. That's the description of it. Okay. There are two Psalms, Psalms 78, Psalm 105. It's called, "Heaven's bread" or "Bread from heaven." In Hebrew, "Lechem Shamayin," the bread from heaven and it says in Psalms 78, "It rained down manna on them to eat and he gave them the bread of heaven," listen to this, "Men ate angels' food." First angel food cake right here on the bible, they ate it.
Okay. I want to help you understand manna a little bit more. Not only was this manna substantial, it kept them all day. Not only was this nutritional, their feet didn't swell. It was also flexible, that is it could be baked, it could be boiled, it took various forms. Listen to Numbers 11, I'll read you a little verse, "And the people went about and gathered it and grounded up in their mills, beat it in the mortar, and baked it in pans." So it could be baked, it could be boiled. You could make a soufflé, manna soufflé out of it. You could have "bamanna bread" I suppose. "Mannacoti" would be one.
There's just a lot of ways to do manna. Maybe Mrs. Moses had 1001 ways to fix manna and pass it out to the women. And Moses said, "This is the thing which the Lord has commanded. Fill and 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." And Moses said to Aaron, "Take a pot," not take pot, "Take a vessel, a pot." You'll be surprised how people try to proof text anything.
Take a pot and put an omer of manna in it and lay it up before the Lord to be kept for your generations as the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the testimony to be kept. Later on, we'll get to it even in this book. As the Children of Israel are out in the desert, God commands them to build a tent structure, a tabernacle. At the center of the tabernacle is a box called, "The Arc of the Covenant," wood overlaid with gold, the seat pure gold, angels of cherubim reaching out and touching over that mercy seat.
Inside the box were kept three things to give them a memory. Number one, the law that was written on stone. Number two, Aaron's rod that produced or budded and this jar or this pot of manna. It was to be a remembrance, a reminder that God did that. God did that for us. Look at that, keep that here. Keep that as part of our history to jog our memory because we forget what we should remember, we remember what we should forget. Keep those to jar your memory, no pun intended, jog your memory.
I believe in reminders. I believe in spiritual reminders. Some people like to keep journals. It's nice to write things down, data. This is what the Lord showed me. This is what the Lord's doing in my life. Write it down. Commit it to memory in a journal. Some people like to write in the margins of their bible. I commend to you writing in the margins of your bible. The only problem is the older you get, you have to wear glasses to read what you wrote years earlier.
But you write down what the Lord showed you, what the Lord did as you reveal that truth to you. And the children of Israel ate "What is it," manna for 40 years until they came to an inhabited land. They were going to get to Gilgal and when they get to Gilgal right on the boarder of the Jordan River before passing into the land, that's where the manna stops and they'll start eating the produce of the land, but for 40 years they ate the manna. Until they came to the inhabited land they ate manna, until they came to the boarder of the land of Canaan.
Now, we been talking about an omer all night and you're thinking "What is an omer?" So we have a helpful little footnote. An omer is one-tenth of an ephah. I'm glad he wrote that. I was just really bothered by that. Now I know. Oh okay, it's a tenth of an ephah.
Okay, here's how I want to close this tonight. Manna -- and you've heard me alluding to it a little bit tonight. Manna is like the word of God and because they were to collect it for six days of the week, I want to give you six ways that manna is like the word of God. Number one, it is super naturally given. It was bread that came down from heaven. The word of God is super naturally given as well.
Paul wrote to Timothy and he said, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God." It's supernaturally given. Number two, it had to be eaten. You could just look at the manna I suppose. You could muse at the manna. You could analyze the manna, but if you want to get nutrition, you had to eat it. Same with the word of God, neglecting spiritual truth will make you an unhealthy person. Way number three, it had to be gathered daily.
Each new day required you to get out of your tent and gather the manna. It wouldn't last for the next day. Let me tell you something. Your soul requires spiritual maintenance just like your body does. You feed your body at least three times a day. Some of you feed it way more than that. Some of you graze all day long. That's what I do. Your soul requires the same kind of attention and maintenance as your body does. Number five, it had to be gathered by stooping. They had to bend down to pick it up. They didn't go out and stand up right and picked it off the trees. They had to get it off the ground.
That should always be our approach to the word of God. We come in humility and independence. David wrote in Psalm 119 these words, "Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things from your law." You don't take it for granted. Lord, you got to reveal this to me. I stoop, I bend, I bow, I'm open, I'm submissive. And way number six, that manna is like the word of God, it's incomprehensible to the natural man.
They looked at it and said, "What is it? I don't get it. What is it?" You know what the bible says about spiritual truth? The natural man does not understand the things of the spirit. They are spiritually discerned. And one final thing as we close, because Jesus did this, you got to see it and we'll close with this.
Turn in your bibles to a familiar text, John Chapter 6, where Jesus makes manna a type of Christ, a type of himself. Turn to John Chapter 6. We'll look at a few verses and we'll close in prayer. John, New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Juan, John. John Chapter 6, look at verse 30 of John 6, "Therefore they said to him what sign," are you in John 6? I still hear a bible. Verse 30, Therefore they said to him, "What sign will you perform then that we may see it and believe you? What work will you do? Our fathers ate manna in the desert. As it is written, he gave them bread from heaven to eat."
Speaking of Moses, Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly I say to you Moses didn't give you the bread from heaven, my father gives you the true bread from heaven, for the bread of God as he comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
And they said to him, "Lord, give us this bread always. Not just today, always." Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never hunger. He who believes in me will never thirst." Go down to verse 49, but I don't want to read it all. "Your fathers ate manna in the wilderness and they're dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven that one may eat of it and not die. 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 will give is my flesh which I shall give for the life of the world."
Do you see what's happening here? They marginalized a miracle that Jesus performed before their very eyes. He fed 5,000 people. You know what they're telling him? "That was cool but it's not as cool as Moses. I mean, you fed everybody. That was great. Moses did it for 40 years. You did it once." That's what they're telling him.
So Jesus answered them. He says, "Well number one, Moses didn't do anything. He watched it happen. He didn't make it happen. He watched it happen. This came from God, not from Moses. Number two, manna was physical food that had no value after this life ends. Your fathers ate manna, they're dead. That has no eternal value at all. And number three, true spiritual nutrition is not a loaf of bread but a living person. I am the bread of life. The world will leave you hungry." Jesus will never fail.
I read about a guy down in Valenzuela who had an ice cream store. He had 567 flavors. I've been to 31 flavors, but this guy had flavors like -- here's from right from the article, onion ice cream, chili -- some of you think, "Oh, I can deal with that." A lot of people can't. Beer, I'm looking around to see if anybody likes that. Eggplant ice cream, smoked trout ice cream, spaghetti, parmesan, chicken with rice and spinach ice cream. Can I just say some flavors are just wrong?
Now this guy was named Manuel Olivera and he to his own admission said, "Some of those flavors failed." Everything the world offers for any real meaning and value eternally will fail. Jesus said to the woman at the well of Sumeria, "If you drink of this water you're going to get thirsty again. The water that I drink, you'll never get thirsty. I'm the bread of life. If you come to me you'll never hunger. If you come to me you'll never thirst."
Jesus Christ will never fail you. He is the true bread and he offers it. But if you don't take it, you will die in your sin. It's not automatic. You have to receive it. It's a gift. It's a free gift. But with any gift you have to receive it. If you don't receive it, you will die in your sins.
Heavenly Father as we close tonight, we thank you for the bread which came down from heaven. We see that Jesus Christ is a type of manna because that manna is supernatural, Jesus is supernatural. That manna came down from heaven, Jesus came down from heaven. But that manna was temporary, Jesus is forever. The satisfaction he gives by cleansing off our sins, by the new hope we have by his resurrection, that free gift of salvation is so wonderful. And Lord if some of us have left our first love and we're not looking to Jesus to be satisfied, we start looking back selectively to the things of the world to get answers once again, to feel better once again, to try an experience a substance once again.
Lord I pray that tonight you'd wake us up and let us see these are lies. This is selective memory disorder. And we would begin to be thankful, not like those in Romans who though they knew God, they didn't glorify him and neither where they thankful. So we just want to pause as we close and thank you, even though for some of us times have been very, very difficult. You've been with us, your presence. Your glory has been with us, your provision. The evidence, Lord that you're with us is seen by your provision for us. We know what we want, you know what we need.
And some people here tonight need Jesus Christ desperately. They're religious, but they're not saved. For some you've offered this free gift for a long time and they've never personally received the gift and opened the package and made it their own. I pray that tonight some would.
Lord I pray that you would do the work of drawing men, women, young, old, and anyone in between to the saving grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. We see you do it so often. We'd love to see it again tonight. As you give that gift I pray that many would come and receive it. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Let's all stand. We're going to sing a final song. The invitation goes out to you. Some of you don't know Jesus Christ. You know about him. You've heard about him. You've gone to church. You know the stories, you know the songs, but you have never personally made Jesus the Lord of your life. I'm going to give you an invitation to change that, to give your life to Christ and receive his life for you and his forgiveness. As we sing this final song, if you want to come back to the Lord or if you want to come to Jesus for the first time, you get up and come as we sing this song and stand right up in the front, and let me pray a prayer with you to receive Christ. As we sing, you come.
Could it be that some come to church and sort of try to blend in and hide in different places? It's a big church. It's easy to do that, to sort of kind of blend in with the work, but you're just tired of the past. You want a new start. You want forgiveness. You want a fresh life. God offers that to you tonight. Anybody else as we close this service, if you're in the family room, you're in the balcony, you're in the middle of a row, you're siting in the back, you're in the front. If God is dealing with your life and telling you to come to him, come to him. Don't wait another day. Do it now. Do it tonight.
I'm about to lead in prayer these fine folks who have made their way forward. I'm sure you didn't think you'd be walking forward tonight, but here you are. And I believe you're not here by accident. I believe the Lord drew you here to this place and drew you to this moment and selected you because he's got a lot he wants to accomplish in you and then through you.
Before I lead you in a prayer, anybody else who could be that last moment? I was one of those last moment people, at the very last moment when there was a call given on television through Billy Graham. At the very last I prayed to receive Christ. God bless you. Any other takers? You've heard this for a long time and you've gotten good at pushing it away and saying no or saying wait. Get up and come. God bless you. That's right. All right. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord.
And just for the record, we're not trying to get you religious or have you join a religion. "Hey I heard you got religion." No, I don't. In fact for me, my testimony, I left religion and came to Jesus. Anybody else? It's a real personal relationship.For those of you who have come forward, I want to lead you now in a prayer and I want you to say this prayer from your heart. I want you to mean this. You think about what you'll say and you say it out loud after me and you say it to the Lord. You ready? Let's pray. Lord I give you my life. I know that I'm a sinner. Please forgive me. I believe in Jesus that he died on the cross, that he shed his blood for my sin, and that he rose again from the dead. I turn from my sin. I turn to you as my savior and Lord. In Jesus' name, Amen. Amen. Congratulations.