|“Early rising and the gathering of manna”
In Exodus chapter 16 we are given practical and spiritual insight, which is rich and often missed by many. It is not easy to be in the wilderness for there you were no longer in the world but you were not yet where the Lord wanted you.
You we out of Egypt, out of the world but not yet in the Promised Land, the place of maturity, provision, heaven itself.
Therefore while we are in this in between place, like Israel we need food, we need satisfaction, nourishment and strength we need God’s manna. Today we know that though it was a physical wafer that God gave to Israel, to us it points to the Word of God as well as Christ. As Israel needed manna you and I need the Word of God and you and I need the presence of Christ. We are in the wilderness in that we are between our new birth in Christ and our entrance into heaven, and while we are here we need strength, satisfaction and nourishment for our hunger. If we are going to sustain the spiritual life as we wait our heavenly home we will need God’s manna on a daily basis.
The children called it manna because they did not know what it was, and manna simply meant, what is it? Spiritually speaking few really know and understand spiritual things, few understand the spiritual depth of God’s Word, or of His Son, and therefore, we must admit that we also could say when it comes to spiritual things what is it?
Many today know no more of Christ then the Israelites did of this manna, but like them they know that Christ is the bread of heaven come down Christ Himself made that clear in John 6:32-34.
If you have never read any of Arthur Pinks writings you certainly should for he gives rich insight into the depth of God’s word and his remarks concerning the manna in his book Gleanings from Exodus is wonderful.
As you will remember Israel was always murmuring and complaining in the wilderness; that it what we do best in our transition from earth to heaven, and without God’s grace in our lives we can be most nasty. In the wilderness the Israelites kept remembering everything back in Egypt, all the good things about they’re past life, the same thing new Christians do when they become discouraged.
Well, these Israelites kept remembering the great food they use to have, the food of the world and the satisfaction it brought. They kept remembering those old fleshpots, as well as many other foods.
Therefore, God in His gracious mercy wonderfully provides for His children even when they do not deserve it, and a part of His provision is that precious manna. Manna is to bring to us the satisfaction, nourishment and strength as it caused us to forget all the old fleshy things we once enjoyed in the world.
Let us discuss some precious truths that this manna teaches us:
Manna came down from heaven from God. This spiritual manna that we need is not of this earth, it does not come from man, it comes from God and if we do not gather it we will have to trample it. What a blessed truth, for today we either love the manna or we despise it, we either gather it unto ourselves and family or we simply discard and trample it under foot. Those who are not the children consider the manna to be foolish while those who are the children consider the manna to be precious.
The manna came to where the children were. You cannot miss the manna if you are the children of God, God will see to it that the needed food will be brought to you, He will lay it before you so that you will have the needed nourishment.
Manna is to be gathered. Sure God will place it before you, but you will have to gather it in. You will have to gather the Word, you will have to search the scriptures to obtain your manna, and you will have to take it in, chew it up and apply it to your life. Only in this way will you obtain the nourishment you need. This is what is often referred too as appropriation, meaning taking it in a applying it to your life, making it yours, for manna that is not taken in does no good.
When it came to manna it had to be taken in everyday, there was no such thing as left over manna. You and I cannot go without our manna; we cannot tolerate the lack of spiritual food even one day. If we miss it one day we are weak, if we miss it two days we are weaker, if we miss it three days we are becoming spiritually malnourished. God so designed the manna that you could not eat yesterdays manna today, when it was gone it was gone. I wonder all this might mean spiritually? If we do miss some manna that God wanted us to have, is it gone forever? Will He be gracious and give to us another chance? I certainly hope so, but most certainly manna must be obtained daily, we need it to do what He wants us to do and to grow the way He wants us to grow.
When you gathered the manna you had to stoop down. Manna was not given in such a way that you could stand when you gathered it, no, you had to humbly stoop, and you had to bend before God to receive your rich provision from Him. Perhaps we all need to humbly come before Him each day to receive the richness of His Word and the presence of His Son.
When the manna was taken it had to be used, v.19-20, 24. If you did not use it, it would not keep, it would be melted by the sun. What God wants to give us He wants to be used, applied to our lives and shared with others. You cannot simple leave God’s Word for if you do, like the manna it becomes, infested with worms, stink and melts away. Now we know that God’s Word never returns unto Him void, we know that it is eternal, but when it comes to us receiving daily what He wants us to have if, we do not receive it, for us it will melt away.
Please note that according to verse six, the manna was to help the Israelites to know that they had been brought out of Egypt. Could it not also be that by His Word and the presence of His Son we also know we have been delivered from the bondage of Satan and this world?
Please note that according to verse seven, manna was to show forth the glory of the Lord. Is not the glory of the Lord seen in His Son? Is not also the glory of the Lord seen in His Word?
The manna was a round, white wafer that was sweet as honey. Small and seemingly insignificant, and yet able to provide all the nourishment that the children needed in the wilderness. God’s Word is so small it can be carried and yet it contains all the divine glory and will of God, the Word of God also is sweet to those who love and hunger for it as the manna was made with honey. It also was white reminding us of the purity of the Word as well as the purity of His Son. Yes, without question the manna was a beautiful type of everything you and I find in Christ and in His world as we wait to be ushered into His Kingdom.
When it came to the manna you gathered one omer for every man, according to the number of your persons. It has been surmised that in the wilderness there were two million Israelites. An omer was equivalent to six pints. Now according to Arthur Pink, that would come to twelve million pints, or nine million pounds gathered daily, which was four thousand five hundred tons. Hence, ten trains, each having thirty cars, and each car having in it fifteen tons, would be needed in a single day. This would be over a million tons of manna a year and this was done for forty years. Is God a God of rich supply or what?
Now as you know the manna had to be gathered early in the morning for God allowed the manna to fall from the heaven at night and it landed upon the dew, v.16. If this manna was not gathered before the sun raised it melted away. That is right, whether we like it or not whether it is difficult for us or not this spiritual process is considered as valid today as it was in the day of the wilderness. God gives His manna, His Word in the morning and he who is wise gathers it in the early morning hours before the sun rises, before the difficulties and cares of life simply melts it away. I will give another lesson that will discuss this in greater detail but for now let us remember that the best time to receive what the Lord has for us is in the morning hours.
Finally concerning the manna it should be remembered that though to the children it was food, satisfaction and nourishment, to others it was not. As the Lord’s children His Word is most precious, most of us cannot tolerate going a day without His Word, but for those who do not know Him for those who know not spiritual things it means nothing. Therefore we are reminded of Numbers 11:4-6 where we see that those who were not true children are those who had negative attitudes concerning the manna. “And the mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; …but now our soul is dried away; there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.”
Without question, people of the world cannot possibly understand the precious value of the Word of God, it alone is for His children, however, when His children allow the people of the world to discourage us concerning spiritual things even we can be detracted from the precious richness of God’s Word.