The manna that the Israelites ate in the wilderness (Deuteronomy 8:3; Nehemiah 9:15; Psalms 78:23–25; 105:40; John 6:31) was a miraculous act by God to provide food for His people. The word “Manna” may mean a “gift” or it could owe its origin to the exclamation of surprise that the Israelites had when they first saw it, man hu’, “What is it?” (Exodus 16: 15).
In the morning, the Israelites found the manna laying upon the surface of the ground “a small round thing, as small as the hoarfrost” (Exodus 16:14). “It was like coriander seed, white” (Numbers 11:7). The Hebrews made the manna into wafers. They described it as tasting like cakes with honey (Exodus 16:31) and as if baked with fresh oil (Numbers 11:8).
Paul wrote about the “spiritual food” that the Israelites ate in the wilderness: “They all ate the same spiritual food” (1 Corinthians 10:3). The word “spiritual” means that the food was not provided naturally. The apostle was writing about the spiritual significance of the manna (John 6:32, 33, 35) as pointing to Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4). For Christ said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry” (John 6:35).
The Israelites were fed and sustained by this supernatural way in the wilderness. In this way, they were given a clear evidence that they were taken care of by the Creator. In the wilderness, there was no other food for them; they were totally dependent on the bread that came down from heaven (Exodus 16:3). If anyone didn’t eat of that bread, he will simply die.
Christ the Bread of Life
In like manner, there is no other source of food for the believer than that which comes from heaven who is Jesus Christ – the Word of God (John 1:1). The perishing manna provided for physical sustenance for the earthly needs of the Israelites, and its effect was brief, and those who ate of it ultimately passed away. But those who partake of the Word of God will not die, but will live forever as He promised (John 6:48-63).
In this earthly wilderness, people try to feed their minds on human words and traditions, but there is no hope for peace or joy away from Christ (Matthew 11:28, 29; John 10:10; 15:6). And even as the manna had to be collected every day, in an amount sufficient for the day’s need, so must people take the needed daily amount of nourishment from the Word of God in order to have a lively, Christian experience (Exodus 16:16, 21; Job 23:12; Matthew 6:11).
In His service,
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