Hello friends! This is Angie, exploring Exodus 16 with you today!
I grew up in the Midwest, and it was not uncommon for us to experience snow blizzards during winter. People would scurry to the store buying essentials like bread, milk, eggs, etc., and it was normal to miss school because of blowing and drifting snow. My brothers and I would spend hours playing outside. I loved to later come inside and drink some hot cocoa and eat some cinnamon toast. If my parents didn’t make it to the store before the snow hit, however, and we were out of bread, I would find myself grumbling about my horrible situation. Bread was essential for my snow day existence!
After departing the land of Egypt, the Israelites in Exodus 16 found themselves without bread as well, and they began to grumble too. Verse 2 begins, “In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day…”
Obviously, food of some kind is essential to maintain life, but dang, those people sounded hangry, like they were in serious need of a snickers bar! Maybe it didn’t happen this way, but in my mind I see some chick with a baby on her hip giving her husband the “stink eye” and exclaiming with drama, “If only we had died…” Really? Did you forget you were slaves and made bricks in the scorching sun for 15 hours a day, only to be rescued by the God of the universe? God showed up big time!
It’s interesting to me that God provided only enough bread from heaven for each day. He gave very detailed instructions about the collection and distribution, the gleaning and the keeping of the manna He provided. He didn’t pass out multiple loaves of Wonder Bread for the week, He just provided what they needed for the moment. It’s almost like He was reminding them to rely on His daily provision, to trust in His sovereignty. Hmm. It was like these daily gifts were speaking these words… "Stop thinking about Egypt, and keep your eyes on me, your sustainer and provider. I will get you to the land of milk and honey, not Pharaoh.”
So what does this tell us, friends?
Here we are travelling through our own wilderness, topped off by a side helping of Covid. And as if that misery of heartaches and difficulties wasn’t enough, God has graciously pointed out patterns of sin and idolatry, both in individuals (like me) and within the church (like Bethel), that Covid has only amplified. Ouch. Hold my Dr Pepper while I grumble some more.
When problems come or when sin is revealed, we all too often act just like the Israelites: We forget God’s promises. We grumble and complain that God has now abandoned us without help. We might even try to solve the situation in our own strength. But God patiently provides the essentials we need, saying ”I will rain down bread from heaven for you.”
Today, this heaven sent bread, the provision given for us, is Jesus, the Savior of the world, in all His fullness. Jump over to John 6 with me and read more about this…Here are some of Christ’s own words, beginning in verse 32. “I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives to the world.” Jesus goes on to declare multiple times in John 6 these powerful words: “I am the bread of life.”
Is Jesus bigger than Covid? Is Jesus bigger than our complaints, grumblings, heartaches, and difficulties? Is Jesus still setting captives free and providing manna to us? Yes.
It’s really that simple but also that hard. By equating Himself with bread, Jesus is reminding us: He is essential for life. We have the living bread of heaven. He is bigger than Covid, bigger than all our circumstances. Let’s don’t walk around acting like we are starving when we’re not! He is the bread of life, essential for our daily existence, and He is enough.
Jesus, thank you for being the greatest gift ever given to our world. Give us strength to keep our eyes on you and you alone. Amen.