Have you ever watched Bedtime Stories, starring Adam Sandler? Do you remember the part when it rained gumballs? I love that scene. Or how about the children’s song with these lyrics: “If all of the raindrops were lemon drops and gumdrops, oh, what a rain that would be! I’d stand outside with my mouth open wide. . . . ”
There is something about the idea of the sky raining down something other than what you might expect that makes ones imagination run wild. What if the sky rained something other than rain or snow, sleet or hail?
Well, the truth is, it did once rain something other than the typical precipitation. Look with me in Exodus, chapter 16 and recall that it rained bread:
verse 4, ESV:
“Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am 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.”
and then verses 13-15, ESV:
“In the evening 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, fine as 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.”
Wait. . . what?!
It rained bread?
That’s right. God sent bread down from heaven for His people.
Here’s the background: The Israelites have recently been rescued from slavery in Egypt. They have experienced the impossible several times over as Moses has lead them out of Egypt and into the desert. They are making their way to the promised land. Moses has acted out in obedience and although he doesn’t know how this whole thing is going to go, he trusts for the next thing, and only the next thing.
The first obstacle they come across after setting out from the Red Sea is thirst. They have been traveling in the wilderness for three days and have found no water. Finally, when they find water in Marah, they are unable to drink it because it is bitter. And they grumble to Moses who immediately takes it to the LORD “and the LORD showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.” (Ex. 15:25, ESV). Shortly after, “they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they camped there by the water” (v. 27).
I wonder if the LORD whispered to each and every one of them: “Do you trust me now? I know what you need and I alone will provide it. You are mine and I love you.”
The second obstacle mentioned is hunger. They have just moved on from their camping experience in Elim where the LORD showed himself faithful to their every need and Moses and Aaron begin to hear more grumbling. The Israelites are complaining because they are hungry and go as far to mention that at least in Egypt their stomachs were filled with meat and bread. Many, in this moment, regretted ever leaving that place of bondage, all because they were hungry.
How quickly we, as humans, forget all the things God does for us.
Their grumbling episode ends with these words “you [Moses] have brought us out [of Egypt] into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” (v. 3).
Ouch. But Moses did not take offense because he understood their grumbling was not against him or Aaron, rather the LORD.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am 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.” (v. 4, ESV). . . . say to them [the Israelites], ‘At twilight you shall eat meat and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God.’ (v. 11, ESV).
And what God says He’ll do, He does.
“In the evening, 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, fine as frost on the ground.” (v. 14, ESV). “Now the house of Israel called its name manna. It was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers make with honey.” (v. 31, ESV).
I wonder if the LORD whispered to each and every one of them: “Now do you trust me? I know what you need and I alone will provide it. I know you miss meat. Enjoy quail meat; I sent them just for you. I know you miss bread. Here you go. Eat all you want. Egypt can only offer you bondage. I have so much more for you. Trust me. You are mine and I love you. I will not leave you or abandon you. I am your rescuer.”
Here was the test: Would they trust the LORD enough to only collect enough for the day? Did they believe He would provide enough for them each and every day to sustain them?
Some did. Some didn’t.
Even after they had been told to only gather enough for the day, some chose to leave part of it for the next morning only to find it had bred worms and stank.
On the sixth day, it rained a double portion because the Sabbath day was coming when no work was to be done. “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,” the Lord instructed them. And in the morning, they found that it had not bred worms and it did not stink. And on the seventh day, no bread rained down. It was a day of solemn rest. Some trusted and gathered enough the day prior. Some didn’t and were disappointed to find that no manna was available to gather that day.
If there is any question whether or not a Sabbath day is important to the LORD, let this be a reminder that it is! He desires us to rest one day a week. Claim it!
This Wait. . . what? event serves to remind us of a few things:
1). God provides. He knows our every need and will see to it that we are cared for. (Matt. 6:25-34)
2). Sometimes when we are called into the unknown, we may, at times, be tempted to go back to what we’ve known, no matter how awful, because it feels safer or seems more reliable. Don’t go back. (Jer. 29:11)
3). Trust Him! Trust that He will get you to where He has called you to go and will meet every need along the way. He never breaks a promise. (Psalm 37:5)
Can you think of a time God sent manna your way? Perhaps it wasn’t in the form of bread raining down but provision, none the less. God sees you, Mustard Seed Girl. He hears you. He will sustain you. Don’t miss the manna!