You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?
Is there something here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages.
Welcome to More Than Ink. Hey, you've heard people say that phrase, man doesn't live by bread alone. Yeah, what do they mean by that? Isn't it an odd phrase to use? And where does it come from? Well, it comes from the Bible, but people don't know the second half of the sentence. Which is? But, by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
Ah, today we'll gain some insight on that as we look at Exodus on More Than Ink. Well, we're delighted that you're with us this morning. I'm Jim.
And I'm Dorothy. And it's a wonderful spring day. It's beautiful.
Yeah, we've been waiting for this all winter time. And we are here continuing our exploration of Exodus, and that's how I like to think of it. Not that we're necessarily any kind of experts on it, but when you sit down with someone to read the Word together, you're really exploring it together. And you make observations that other people don't see, and you help each other see them, and that's just kind of what we're doing here. So we hope you're joining with us as we explore our way through Exodus, and maybe you'll notice things this time that you didn't notice before.
I hope you will. And actually, you know, our purpose in this exploration is to help you find new ways to explore the Scripture for yourself. And of course, our favorite way is talking it over with, among ourselves and with our fellow believers.
But, you know, when you sit quietly to consider and listen to the Word of God, that's a way of exploring too. And that's particularly helpful when we have a long narrative like this. You know, God tells us these stories, these accounts, for a reason. Yeah, they're not just interesting stories to tell around the campfire. That's right.
They have imports. They have a purpose. Yeah, and this particular part of Exodus today is a very famous narrative story that actually gets leveraged many other ways throughout the rest of the Bible. So you've got to have the story down so that you can understand how it gets used later on. Well, yeah, because today we're introduced to manna. Mana! Manna figures, it's a huge, huge thing in the story of the Bible, right? And believers, people who've never even read the Bible, know the term manna. They know about manna, yeah. At least they know something about manna.
Well, let's look at manna today. So if you're following with us, we're in chapter 16 of Exodus. And we got through the first three verses of chapter 16 last time to highlight the fact that they were grumbling. In fact, I'll just remind you, in 16.2, the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. And the question we asked last time when we left that was, how does God respond to a people that grumbles? Will he hit them with lightning and fire, or will he actually accommodate their needs?
And that's what we're entering today. And God hears. God hears. They're grumbling.
That shows up repeatedly in this passage. Yeah, so here's how God responds to a grumbling people. Which, by the way, if you have kids and they grumble, you probably understand the emotional proclivities you have to react to them poorly. Well, the grumbling is always associated with self-pity and with blame.
Things are not going right for me, and somebody has to pay. So let's see how God responds. We're starting today in verse 4 of chapter 16. Okay, you want me to start?
Yeah. Okay, so then right after the grumbling, then the Lord said to Moses, behold, I'm about to rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may test them whether they will walk in my law or not.
On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily. So Moses and Aaron said to all the people of Israel, at evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt. And in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against the Lord. But what are we that you grumble against us? And Moses said, when the Lord gives you in the evening meat to eat and in the morning bread to the full, because the Lord has heard your grumbling that you grumble against him, what are we? What are we? Your grumbling is not against us, but against the Lord. Okay. Let's stop.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Your grumbling's not against us, Moses and Aaron, it's against the Lord. So the Lord decides to feed them when they grumble. Because remember they said we had all these meat pots and we ate our bread to the full in Egypt, and well, God says, well, here we go, I'll feed you here. Well, they were grousing, we don't have any bread to eat.
They probably had eaten everything they had brought with them, because we're a couple months out here. Yeah, that's exactly right. But it's interesting, the Lord says, I'm going to rain bread from heaven for you, right?
There's going to be a lot of it, and it's going to come down everywhere. Yeah, exactly. And it does kind of remind me of the fact that many times when I look around myself and I'm in a dire situation and I do not see any resources to meet the challenge, that perhaps the resources from God might be hidden until he rains them down on me. And in this particular case, the manna was hidden until it came out of heaven. And the scripture says, we'll get into this a little bit later, that the purpose God gave the manna was so that they would know that it's he who provides what they need on a daily basis.
Exactly. And how simple his instructions are. He says, first of all, I'm going to rain down bread for you. I'm going to go out and gather a day's portion so that I can test them, whether they'll walk in my ways or not, right? So I'm going to give you the instructions. Now, here's the test.
Are you going to obey me or are you going to do as I tell you? Then he says, when they were prepared on the sixth day, it'll be twice as much as they gathered daily. Right. So it's not like they had to gather twice as long on the sixth day. It's just whatever they gathered turned out to be twice as much. That becomes clear later on in the passage.
This is part of the teaching construct. But the purpose of the manna is so that they would know that it's God who provides for their sustenance, provides for what they need. Well, let's see how it works out.
We'll just push forward here. Verse 9, then Moses said to Aaron, say to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, come near before the Lord, for he has heard your grumbling. I don't think I want to go near the Lord. Verse 10, and as soon as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud.
Remember the cloud? And the Lord said to Moses, I have heard the grumbling of the people of Israel. Say to them, at twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread, and then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.
So that's the point. Okay, so four times now, God has said, I've heard your grumbling, I've heard your grumbling, I've heard your grumbling. And Moses says, your grumbling is not against me, but against the Lord.
That raises this question in my mind as I'm listening to this narrative, and kind of looking in the mirror. Does that mean that all grumbling is against the Lord, ultimately? Right, when we grouse about our circumstances not being, or thinking we don't have enough, and we start grumbling. It's really, our issue is with God. Well, you know, in the face of God's promises to us, to care for us, and then suddenly we grumble, we're saying out loud that God's not caring for us.
So you're either saying that he's forgotten his promise, or he's gone away, or he doesn't see my need, or he just doesn't care anymore. That's really what you're saying, God doesn't care anymore. So that's what the grumbling is. And unfortunately they redirect their discontentment toward Moses and Aaron, the easy ones, but the real issue is that they do not really understand yet that God, who promised to be with him through this entire sojourn, is actually there. And so when they do meet a need, why don't they just automatically say, hey, God promised he'd take care of us, let's pray and God will provide for us. They don't do that, they grumble instead. So they're actually doubting God's promise. This is not the first time they've grumbled, right? They grumbled just a couple days out. I got no water, and God took them to a spring. First the bitter water, and then the real spring. This is one of many grumbling stories, but they're actually teaching stories.
God's accomplishing something in their heart through all this grumbling. Well, let's just push on the story, and we'll talk more about that. Okay. Why don't you take it at 13?
So 13. In the evening, the quail came up and covered the camp, and in the morning dew lay around the camp. And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine flake-like thing, finest frost on the ground. When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, what is it?
For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, it is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. This is what the Lord has commanded.
Gather of it each of you as much as he can eat. You shall to each take an omer according to the number of persons that each of you has in his tent. And the people of Israel did so. They gathered, some more, some less. But when they measured it with an omer, whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack. Each of them gathered as much as he could eat. And Moses said to them, let no one leave any of it over till the morning. But they didn't listen to Moses. Some left part of it till the morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them. Morning by morning they gathered it, each as much as he could eat.
But when the sun grew hot, it melted. Are we stopping or going on? No, let's stop right there. So it is interesting. He doesn't give them a hard, fixed amount that they have to do. He basically said, take as much as you'll eat.
And so he makes that distinction very clear. You know, some who could eat more, they took more and they ate it, and they're fine, and some took less. By the way, if you're curious, an omer is about two quarts. So, I mean, it's not a lot. So think about collecting enough for you to eat for an entire day. And this is about that much. But you could take, the issue here is you take what you need, what you need.
Right. What is sufficient for you. And what is sufficient for you as you gather, it turns out to be enough.
It turns out to be enough. And this is a theme that happens throughout the entire Bible, and this is a real good start of this portion idea. You know, what is your portion? You know, when someone gives you a plate of Thanksgiving food, you say, this is my portion. You know, you could eat the whole turkey, but I'm only going to eat this portion. The portion is really what you said in front of you. You say, this is sufficient. The idea of portion is sufficient for you. So this is what I need for today.
This is what I need for today. To survive today, not for tomorrow. So that sets me in mind when Jesus said, now when you pray, right, give us this day our daily bread. Our daily bread. Our needful bread is what that literally means. Give us today the portion that we require in order for today. Yeah, yeah. The sufficiency. And we'll come back to this idea.
This is a really important thing. And God accommodates what is sufficient for them, which might be different from person to person. And you have to trust freshly that when you get up in the morning, there will be enough provided for this day, whatever this day holds. Right, right.
Which is why the Sabbath is such an interesting thing, when God then gives him instructions about the Sabbath. Ah, it's next. Right, because that's what's next. Are we ready to read that? Yeah, let's read that. Yeah, let's read that.
We need a little double back. 22. Okay, so 22. On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much bread, two omers each. And when all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, he said to them, This is what the Lord has commanded. Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over lay aside to be kept till the morning.
What? So they laid it aside till the morning as Moses commanded them, and it did not stink, and there were no worms in it. And Moses said, Eat it today, for today is a Sabbath to the Lord.
Today you will not find it in the field. Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, which is a Sabbath, there will be none. And on the seventh day, some of the people went out to gather, but they found none. And the Lord said to Moses, How long will you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws? See, the Lord has given you the Sabbath. Therefore, on the sixth day, he gives you bread for two days.
Remain each of you in his place. Let no one go out of his place on the seventh day, so the people rested on the seventh day. Ah, so God is doing this in a purposeful way to make a point about the Sabbath. And by the way, this is the first place in the Bible where you see the word Sabbath and this whole idea about not working on that seventh day. And resting on that seventh day in what God has already provided for you.
Yes, yes. That's the core of it. Yeah, and if you think about it, I mean, just logistically, if you think about the fact that you're going to start depending on the fact that every morning you wake up and you'll find enough food for today, imagine what would happen if God said, well, don't do that one day a week, and you'll say, well, where will that food come from?
God says, I'll provide it for you. So it's really a trusting exercise as well as many other things. Okay, but they can actually see the day before that they've gathered twice as much, so they don't have to go out the next day. Yeah, yeah. So those who did go out were like, oh, well, we maybe need a little more. Yeah.
Right? Yeah, if they had their double portions, what were they doing going out on the Sabbath? Well, the interesting thing about the Sabbath here is the repetition of this rest, rest, rest, rest, rest, because that's what Sabbath means or Shabbat. But these people had been slaves in Egypt.
Yes, good point. And they did not have a day of rest. They never rested. They didn't have any rest. They were always, were completely at the beck and call of their masters. Yeah.
So this is a huge thing to be told now. I'm giving you, this is a gift from God to you. Rest, because I have already provided for you what you need for today. Yeah, and we're used to a five-day work week or something. We're used to these weekends where we don't work. But back in this culture, you worked every day. Well, sure, because it was an agrarian culture.
You didn't feed your cows. You may not have anything to eat if you didn't work every day, and that the pests come and pick the pests off you. I mean, all that kind of stuff. So this is the introduction of a radical thing from God's perspective, a radical, caring, gracious gift from God to say, look, guys, I'm going to give you a day off every week. And that's radical. It's one of the monumental things that God gave them here during this generation in the wilderness, right? He gave them the manna. He gave them the Sabbath.
He gave them his law, and he gave them the tabernacle. Yep. Those are all things which are absolutely monumental in the history of Israel and in the story of the whole Bible. Yep, yep. And if you want to do a little extra credit reading, you'll find out in the creation story God rested on the seventh day.
Indeed. That's given us the reason for everything. Yeah, so make some connections about what God's trying to teach you just through this passage right here with this Sabbath. By the way, too, when it says it's a holy Sabbath to the Lord, that preposition is very important, the holy Sabbath to the Lord. So the purpose of the Sabbath is really to turn your attention to the Lord, and he's given you this rest. And so that's a big clue about what the Sabbath is meant to be overall. Even the rest day that God takes in creation, we are to also fashion our lives having that rest day toward God himself.
We could spend lots of time on that. Well, to enjoy being in his presence. Yeah, exactly. But before we wrap up to the summary statement about the manna that comes at the end of this chapter, I want to circle back to the beginning, back to Chapter 4, where it says, The Lord said to Moses, Behold, I'm about to rain bread from heaven for you. Right, rain bread. When you hear bread from heaven, that ought to set an echo going in your mind, right? Because Jesus used that very phrase in John 6 when he said that I am, this is the bread from heaven that came down, right? That gives life to the world.
So let's see, I'm mangling that. John 6 32, he says, Truly I say to you, it's not Moses that's given you the bread out of heaven, but it's my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven and gives life to the world. And they said to him, Evermore, give us this bread. And Jesus said, I am the bread of life. He who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst. Well, bread and water are the two things that were constantly at the saunter of their grumbling during those years in the wilderness. And here we find that they all pointed to Jesus. I'm the bread of life that comes down out of heaven.
I'm the one that gives life to the world. And those two components constitute the essential things you need. Right.
Something you have to have every day. But interestingly, also in John 6, a little farther down in the passage, it says in verse 41, The Jews therefore were grumbling about him because he said, I'm the bread that came down out of heaven. So that association of grumbling with bread is interesting to be given that that's the first way manna is presented to us. He's in the presence of grumbling, God says. And God doesn't just fling it at him. He says, Here, I will provide for you so that you'll know me. Yeah. So when we get done this morning, you might want to go to John 6 knowing that now that you have this manna narrative in your hip pocket, take that narrative and listen to Jesus in John 6 and you'll start making a bunch of connections.
It's really cool. Well, let's push on toward the end of the narrative here. Where did we? I forget. Okay. Verse 31. 31. I'll take it.
Okay. So now the house of Israel called its name manna. It was like coriander seed.
White and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. And Moses said, This is what the Lord has commanded. Let an omer of it be kept throughout your generations so that they may see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness when I brought you out of the land of Egypt. And Moses said to Aaron, Take a jar, put an omer of manna in it, and place it before the Lord to be kept throughout your generations. As the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the testimony to be kept. And the people of Israel ate the manna 40 years till they came to the habitable land. And they ate the manna till they came to the border of the land of Canaan. By the way, he says in verse 36, An omer is a tenth part of an ephah, if that helps you out a little bit.
It doesn't help us much. So isn't it interesting? He says, I want you to remember we're going to be eating this for 40 years, but you're going to forget. So we're going to put it in a jar and we're going to keep it as a testimony so you can see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness. Fascinating testimony that he wants to keep throughout all the generations of Israel. And where does that jar end up, by the way? That's a good question. We could do a plot spoiler and tell them.
No, let's not. But that jar does end up somewhere, and it does end up going through the life of the nation of Israel in a prominent place. So this is a fascinating summary statement. It says, and they ate the manna for 40 years. And if you take your concordance, now here's a little study technique regarding manna. Take your concordance and look up manna. You're not going to turn up very many verses.
You can read them all from beginning to end in just a few minutes. But you're going to find them here in the Exodus passage. You'll find some in Deuteronomy. Then you're going to find them in the New Testament. You're going to find them in John and in Revelation.
There's a few others scattered around. That's why this is a very important picture to keep in here. That's why this tells us if the biggest chunk of talking about manna is here in Exodus and then out of Jesus' own mouth from the Gospel of John, then, huh, that's a pretty clear connection.
So we ought to pay attention. So when Jesus says, I'm the bread of life, this is what he's talking about. So what was the purpose of the manna? The passage tells us right here, I'm testing them so that they'll walk, to find out whether they'll walk in my way or not. Does God not know? Of course he knows.
But he's testing them so that they would be revealed. So let me just read to you from Deuteronomy 8, because this is probably a very favorite passage. Deuteronomy 8. And where Moses later on is kind of explaining to the people and reminding them. Yeah, it's his own commentary on this event.
It is, on this very event. Deuteronomy 8, I'm going to start in verse 2. And you shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these 40 years, oh, here's his purpose, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. Now we've talked about the meaning of that word keep before. And he humbled you and let you be hungry, ouch, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know that he might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.
Yes. Now you're pretty familiar with that statement, right, man doesn't live by bread alone. Jesus quoted this in the wilderness.
It's in our common culture. Yeah, but I mean when he was being tempted by Satan in the wilderness, right, that's how he responded to that temptation to make the stones into bread. By quoting this very passage, man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. But what does that mean?
What does that mean? Man does not live by bread alone. And you know we talked about the fact that bread and water, but bread especially symbolizes the essential necessaries that bring life.
Right. And so when you say, when you ask someone on the street, what is the essential necessary thing for life, they might say pizza or bread or something like that. A job, I gotta have a job, I gotta have a car. But it's actually not that, it's God's words themselves. Yeah, man doesn't live by bread alone.
Which will sustain you when you don't have a job, you don't have a car, you're in prison, you're sick, you're right. The word of God nourishes that deep, deep place of life within us where we are without resource apart from God. Yeah, and one could actually say if you asked a man on the street in the desert for the exodus what sustains you, what's the necessary essential, you could say the word of God sustains us out here. God says and it happens, God's word sustains us. That would be from the wise people, the grumblers would say I don't know.
But it is an interesting change they have to make too. Coming out of Egypt their dependence, their daily dependence for life came from Egypt. And so God needed to wean them of that dependency.
So when they would get to a place in the desert where they'd say well this does not look like Egypt, this does not look like it has resources, God would say hello, I have resources and they may be hidden until I rain them on you but you will live out here not with dependence on Egypt and wishing you had Egypt to depend on but independence upon me and that's what's going on right there. Daily. Daily dependence, daily dependence.
And with a day of luxury rest thrown in. I mean it's the best thing. This is what God gives to you. So that's what he's teaching him with manna.
By the way manna means? What is it? What is it? What is that?
What's his stuff? That's what manna means. Literally now you know your first Hebrew word.
What's that? It's manna. That's what manna is.
It actually transliterates that way. I wanted to kind of finish also with this idea of portion. God gives you a portion. He gave them a portion. He gave them what they needed, what was sufficient and what they needed and in the end that idea extends all through the Bible, not just with miracle food in the desert but with God himself. And one of my favorite passages comes from Psalm 73 where he says my flesh and my heart, my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. That's where my source of life comes from. That's where my sufficiency. That's where my necessary things for life come from. And that's all wrapped up in the idea of manna and that's all wrapped up in the New Testament in the idea of Jesus, the bread who comes from heaven.
That's what this is all tied to. He is enough. He is enough. He is sufficient and I need look nowhere else. That's why it's fascinating to me that even when God says if you look out there on the seventh day you're not going to find it but people still go out there on the seventh day when God tells them you're not going to find it but people still go looking in places to find life where God told them it will not be there.
And that continues to this very day in our culture. People look in places for life where God warns them it's not going to be there and they're not going to find it and they're disappointed. If you hearken to what God says about where you'll find life, you will find life. Are you willing to trust his word for where life comes from? Or are you going to go out searching on the seventh day despite his word?
And that really is the question, isn't it? As we just sit in this account and think through the story, think about the repeated grumbling, the question comes back, will we depend on God for the daily essentials of life? Will you take him at his word and trust that? Will we believe what his word is to us and will we walk in his ways? Yeah, that's exactly right and that's why this is the test. Are you willing to bank your dependence day by day on God's word to you and his promise?
That's key. Okay and then that raises the question, does God still test our walk? Indeed he does and the New Testament bears that out. And so you know these verses from James and from 1 Peter.
So our time is flying away from us. But sit with this story and consider how God provides for you daily. How is he nourishing you? Yeah, exactly. And keep reminding yourself that the Lord is my portion, so therefore I have hope in him as from lamentations.
And that's exactly what man is supposed to bring to you. So I'm Jim. And I'm Dorothy. And we're glad you're with us here on More Than Ink. More Than Ink is a production of Main Street Church of Brigham City and is solely responsible for its content. To contact us with your questions or comments, just go to our website, morethanink.org. Okay, here we go. Let's get it right this time. Music
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