Meditation: Exodus 16

Reading: Exodus 16:1-5; 11-15.

The Israelites complain about hunger. Instead, they should pray to God for their needs. God had previously taken good care of them.  During the great famine God, their Father, had wonderfully provided for Jacob and his family (Genesis 47). Israel should remember and trust God’s promises to care for them.

Often God sends us difficulties: hunger, sickness, poverty, a struggle in our faith. By this God teaches that we are totally dependent on him for all our needs. Furthermore these needs are invitations from God, to pray and trust that He will provide us with all our needs.

The Israelites do not ask God for help; instead they angrily turn to Moses with faithless and thankless hearts. They complain and criticise while exclaiming they would have rather died in Egypt where there was meat and bread.  They even dare to say that Moses brought them into the wilderness to kill them with hunger (Ex 16:3).

See now the Lord’s grace and patience. By a miracle He provides them with meat and manna. Later, Moses teaches the Israelites that this manna was given not only to satisfy their physical needs, but also to teach them to trust in the Lord’s promises for all their needs.  Deuteronomy 8:3 says that God allowed them to hunger, then fed them with manna to teach them “that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.” Our deepest needs are not physical, but spiritual. Jesus Christ says in John 6:48-50 “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven that one may eat of it and not die.”

Of course material things, such as food and clothing, are necessary. However Jesus says “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

Key text: Ex 16:15b “And Moses said to them, ‘This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat.’ ”

Question: In your personal life which things receive most attention?