When the Israelites saw manna, they asked: “What is it?”. This is a question we have about Jesus, our life of faith and what is happening today. Even though God had told us in the Bible because we do not remember, do not study and do not see it in the right perspective, we ask “What is it?” The Israelites said this and continued to speak words of grumbling, before and after God gave the manna. From here, let us learn what we must do and not do.
1. They grumble because they had the whispers of the rabble, the mixed multitudes
There are mixed multitudes in our lives and inside our hearts. We don’t have to look at other people but just inside our hearts. The Israelites had double-standards and want to gain an advantage from both sides of the world.
They came out of Egypt, seeking not for the fulfilment of God’s covenant, to become God’s people, it’s not about recovering the fall of Adam and restoring the blessings of the Garden of Eden by entering into the land of Canaan, it was all about the physical understanding of milk and honey. Something for me to eat and drink, and be satisfied. Sometimes we complain because we do not see the proper purpose and goal, we misunderstand and forget. What comes to me immediately is the physical discomfort, hunger, thirst, greed and ambition.
God told them through Moses that I will send down bread from heaven. It was not even 24 hours, just overnight. What would you have said? “Wow, this is what God promised, the bread that came down from heaven!” Instead, they said, “What is it?” That came from ignorance and also connotes disappointment.
When Jesus came to this earth and said: “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.” What were the attitudes of the people? Same reaction: What? You are the Messiah? You are from heaven? What is that? What good thing can come out of Nazareth?
2. Shape and size of manna
a) Fine and flake-like
It is very insignificant and very small, like the little book in Revelation. When Jesus came to this world as a small insignificant baby of a poor carpenter, who would have thought He was God?
b) Fine as frost
It is like fine frost during the winter morning. Once the sun comes out, the frost melts and disappears. It is not very visible.
Its colour is like a pearl. Which is used to describe the kingdom of God in Jesus’ parable. It comes from long duration and perseverance in faith, it comes through a long time of going through pain when the oyster secretes layer after layer of mucus over the particle. It is like our blessing of overcoming sin, we fight against sin through prayer, tears and faith, layer upon layer, our faith becomes like the precious pearl. White represents purity and innocence.
d) Tastes like honey, which is sweet.
Honey is the taste of the Word of God.
3. How do you gather it?
(i) We need to be hungry and feel the need to gather it (Matthew 5:3, Isaiah 55:6)
(ii) They need to go where the manna is (Matthew 11:28-29)
4. When was manna given?
The Bible says it came down with dew.
Exodus focuses on the fact that manna will be found in the morning and Numbers say manna fell at night. The difference is that Exodus account is general, Numbers is describing how unbelieving and unfaithful the Israelites were.
When Jesus came to this earth, were they spiritually awake or in darkness? When they woke up, they found it on the ground because they were sleeping and the manna came down in the dark when they could not see it.
They did not understand that Jesus came down from heaven and only saw his earthly physical aspects.
What is the spiritual understanding of dew?
Dew resurrects the dead (Isaiah 26:19). God said He will be the dew to Israel (Hosea 14:5). Dew allows the flowers to blossom and fruits to sweeten. Dew is the Word of God (Deuteronomy 32:2).
5. Taste of manna
The taste was like wafers made with honey (Exodus 16:31) and like cakes baked with oil (Number 11:7-9).
The bread was offered to God in the tabernacle as an offering for forgiveness, for making peace with God. It is to be beaten, ground, torn, boiled, foreshadowing Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Jesus was beaten, crushed, and said: “I am thirsty.” He experienced the fire of hell that we should experience.
Oil represents the Holy Spirit. He is offered up to fill us spiritually. Jesus said this is My body broken for you.
Manna is the heavenly food, the Word that came down in the physical form for us. It is the grace and blessing of God. It comes down in the physical form so we can take hold of it, eat it, smell it, feel it. It comes from a spiritual place but with a physical embodiment. It is Jesus Christ!
What is from heaven needs to be treated like it is from heaven to release its power. If we eat heavenly food treating it like earthly food, that negates its power.
Pharisees had earthly things but they tried to make it look like it is from heaven. We as Christians should not do that. We don’t have to act holy or put on a facade of a Christian, it needs to come out from inside of us. When we read the bible daily, when we believe we are in touch with heaven, that Word will take effect immediately in our lives.
Jesus was the hidden manna when He came to those who did not recognise Him, to those who do not understand the Word, to those who do not hear the Word of God. When we find that hidden manna, we will experience the joys and blessings of heaven.