MDB 45: Exodus 16

Iain D Campbell

God's provision for his people exceeded their expectations. God promised that he would 'rain down' bread from Heaven, and for forty years in the wilderness, he fed his people with Manna (Psalm 78:24-25).
Several things about the manna are worth noting. First, this was a supernatural provision. There was nothing ordinary about this fare. Indeed, Psalm 78:25 describes it as the 'food of angels', a reference, no doubt, to the fact that God provided it for his people in an extraordinary way.

Second, it was a daily provision, yet it did not appear every day. God purposely tested his people to see if they would walk in his law (16:4) by sending manna for six days out of seven, with the promise of a double portion on the sixth day that would provide two days' food. The passage will later talk about the solemnity and holiness of the Sabbath day as the reason for this arrangement (16:23, 25,26,29).
Third, it was a sufficient provision. In spite of the large number of people who needed food, God's supply was bountiful. It was one of the great miracles of the desert floor that there was always enough manna. There was neither too much nor too little (16:17-18). Families and individuals discovered that God's provision is always just enough.

Fourth, it was a constant provision. This supply remained the source of their nourishment for the duration of the wilderness journey: 'the people of Israel ate the manna forty years, till they came to a habitable land. They ate the manna till they came to the border of the land of Canaan' (16:35; cf Joshua 5:11-12).

Fifth, it was a provision to be held as a memorial to God's grace and goodness. This sweet tasting, heavenly bread, was to be preserved in a jar before the presence of God (16:31-34). As such, it was to become one of several items relating to the Ark of the Covenant (Hebrews 9:4). God's goodness was their nourishment. Either we eat Heaven's food or we starve.