PastorRodney’s Weblog

Preaching from the Pulpit of Ephraim Church of the Bible

Exodus 16:19-36; Our Daily Bread – Not By Bread Alone

04/10 Exodus 16:19-36 Not By Bread Alone; Our Daily Bread


God is testing his people. His stated purpose throughout the book is that they would know that he is the LORD. They are to know that he is God over all gods, with authority over the whole earth, authority over water and wind and over all creatures on the earth, authority over the hearts of men, authority over weather, even over light and darkness. They are to know that he holds power over life and death, that he is a just judge and a protector of all who find refuge in him. That he is a God who hears and answers prayer. That he is the passover Lamb substituted for us, our ever-present guide, the one who stands in our defense, the one who fights our battles and conquers our enemies, the one who can heal bitter hearts and satisfy our deepest hunger.

God has displayed his power over the Egyptians and he is leading his people through the wilderness, teaching them about himself, showing them what it means to have a relationship with him. He took them to a place where the waters were bitter and showed them that he is their healer, then he brought them to a desert oasis, with plentiful water and shade. Now they are running out of food, and they are grumbling. God graciously responds to their grumbling, not with condemnation, but with abundant provision and further revelation of who he is.

16:10 …they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud. 11 And the LORD said to Moses, 12 “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. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God.”’

13 In the evening quail came up and covered the camp, and in the morning dew lay around the camp. 14 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. 15 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. 16 This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Gather of it, each one of you, as much as he can eat. You shall each take an omer, according to the number of the persons that each of you has in his tent.”’ 17 And the people of Israel did so. They gathered, some more, some less. 18 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.

God satisfied the hunger of his people. He supernaturally provided for their needs. God creates something entirely new for them that will be their daily provision throughout their time in the wilderness. God, the Creator, brings something out of nothing to provide for their needs. He gives them clear instruction and he expects his people to listen to his voice.


God was teaching his people to trust him, to listen to him, to obey. When they get to Sinai, he will give them detailed instructions for how a sinful people are to relate to a holy God. For now, his abundant provision with simple instructions. He had said in verse 4:

4 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.

Pick up what you need for the day, and eat all of it that day. A day’s portion every day. Daily bread. This is my instruction. This is a test.

19 And Moses said to them, “Let no one leave any of it over till the morning.”

Isn’t that clear enough?

20 But they did not listen to Moses. Some left part of it till the morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them. 21 Morning by morning they gathered it, each as much as he could eat; but when the sun grew hot, it melted.

Manna was God’s gift to his people. God said he would rain bread from heaven for you. Moses describes it as the bread that the LORD has given you to eat. In Psalm 78 it is described as ‘the grain of heaven’ and ‘the bread of angels’. It was an undeserved grace in response to grumbling. The people said ‘what is it?’ which in Hebrew sounds like ‘manna’, and the name stuck. It was also a simple test. Don’t leave it over till the morning, but they did not listen, and some left part of it till the morning. God gives instruction and we say ‘Why? What will happen if I do what you tell me not to do? We almost ran out of food in the desert. Natural reasoning tells me that I should be wise and prepare for tomorrow. God says ‘eat what I give you today and trust me for tomorrow’. It is interesting that it doesn’t say that some people gathered much more than other people and kept the excess overnight. It says ‘whoever gathered much had nothing left over’. So the ones who kept some over must have rationed their daily portion. They chose to go hungry today so that they could have security for tomorrow. In effect, they were saying ‘we don’t know where our next meal is coming from, so we’d better be cautious and store up’. But instead of providing security, manna disobediently stored up became a dangerous source of sickness and disease. What seemed to be wise from man’s perspective, was disobedient to God’s direct command and proved to be destructive. How slow we are to learn that God’s ways are always best! We may not understand why, but obedience to God is the way of wisdom. Disobedience has consequences. Trusting God can be scary. Walking by faith in God’s word is not always comfortable. But God’s way is always best.

Daily Bread

Jesus alluded to God’s daily provision of basic needs when he taught his disciples to pray.

Matthew 6:9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Give us this day our daily bread. Often we view prayer simply as a shopping list of unrelated needs that we are to ask God for. I think there is more to this prayer than that. We are invited to approach our Father in the heavens, requesting that your name, your kingdom, and your will be honored and come to pass, as in heaven so on earth. Then we ask that the bread of our daily need be given to us this very day. Our daily sustenance is further defined, not as physical food, but as release from our legal obligations and rescue from temptation. What we desperately need every day is rescue from temptation and release from debt. Jesus frames this request for God’s forgiveness and rescue in the language of God’s daily provision for the needs of his people in the wilderness. Our deepest need is for God’s daily deliverance and God’s daily forgiveness. The bread of our daily need, give us this very day; that is, release us from our legal debts… that is, do not lead us into temptation but deliver us from the evil. This is our daily bread.

When talking with the Jews about the manna in the wilderness, Jesus said:

John 6:33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” … 35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. … 48 I am the bread of life. … 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

Jesus claims to be God’s provision for man’s deepest hunger. Give us this day our daily bread. Today, give us Jesus! Release from the debt we owe to God and rescue from temptation come only in Jesus. Jesus, the bread of our daily need. Jesus, the broken bread that gives life to hungry sinners. Let Jesus sustain us today! This day, give us Jesus!

Treasure in Heaven

Jesus continues in Matthew 6:

Matthew 6:19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The Israelites were laying up treasure on earth and it bred worms and stank. They were not looking to God in heaven to provide for their daily need. They were not laying up the treasure of an increasing trust in God and a deepening relationship with him. Even in the face of God’s supernatural provision for them, they were trying to find a natural way to bank security for themselves against tomorrow. It didn’t work. It never does. Jesus continues by challenging their worry over daily necessities:

Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Life is more than subsisting. Jesus came to offer life abundantly. Your body and your soul are meant for so much more than an obsession with food and clothes. Jesus tells us that we are of greater worth than birds and grass, and God feeds and clothes them. He challenges our lack of faith.

Matthew 6:31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Seek God. Spend your energy going after God. If you’re going to be anxious about anything, be anxious to know God better. Learn to depend on God. Learn to trust. Pursue Jesus, the bread that gives eternal life. Pursue Jesus, who clothes you with his perfect righteousness.

Solemn Rest; a Holy Sabbath to the LORD

We’ve been looking at the manna as a pointer to Jesus as the one who satisfies our real needs. Jesus invites us to see it this way. But Manna was a real substance, God’s miraculous means of feeding his people in the desert. But even in the way God provided then, he was pointing to these greater realities. God said in verse 5:

5 On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.”

Then we see how this happened in verse 22:

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, 23 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.”’ 24 So they laid it aside till the morning, as Moses commanded them, and it did not stink, and there were no worms in it. 25 Moses said, “Eat it today, for today is a Sabbath to the LORD; today you will not find it in the field. 26 Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, which is a Sabbath, there will be none.”

God did not provide manna seven days a week. He provided double the amount Friday morning, and none Saturday morning. This too came with clear instructions. This is what the LORD has commanded: Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD. This too would teach his people trust. God will provide for your needs. Follow his instructions. The purpose of the double portion on Friday was to provide for rest on Saturday. But it was not just rest from labor, rest from collecting food, rest from the pressure of gathering the needs of the day. It was rest to the LORD. It was more than rest from something. It was to be rest for someone.

We can look all the way back to Genesis when God created the heavens and the earth for the meaning of this rest.

Genesis 1:31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

God finished his work of creation and he rested. Not because he was exhausted from all the hard work – it says ‘God said… and it was so’. God did not need a day off to recuperate from all the talking. God completed his creative work and stepped back as it were to enjoy what he had made. He said ‘look, it is very good’. God made the seventh day happy – he blessed it. He sanctified it. He set it apart as holy or sacred. Here in Exodus, the first mention of the word ‘sabbath’ in the bible, we see that the Sabbath rest is to the LORD. God is good. He is our provider. God established that we take one day out of seven to break the routine and enjoy him. Focus on him. Give him the attention he deserves. Seek him. Honor him. Worship. A day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD. The verb form of this word Sabbath that appears in Genesis also appears earlier in Exodus:

Exodus 5:5 And Pharaoh said, “Behold, the people of the land are now many, and you make them rest from their burdens!”

Rest from slavery to Pharaoh. God’s demand of Pharaoh was ‘let my people go that they may hold a feast to me (5:1); that they may serve me, or worship me in the wilderness’ (7:16; 8:1, 20; 9:1, 13; 10:3). Here we see this happening. The people were released from hard service to Pharaoh to glad service to the true King of kings. They were transferred to their rightful master. They were to hold a feast to the LORD, to celebrate, to honor their God, spend time with him, to enjoy him. Here God supernaturally provides for this to happen. Double portion on Friday so that Saturday can be all about God.

27 On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather, but they found none. 28 And the LORD said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws? 29 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.” 30 So the people rested on the seventh day. 31 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.

Again, disobedience to God’s clear commands. We can identify with this on a human level. ‘Last time we kept any manna overnight it was all nasty in the morning. We’re not doing that again! Manna doesn’t keep well. Better eat it all today.’ Again, it seems that this was not a case that the people were lazy and didn’t gather double. It seems the double quantity was a curious thing. The leaders had to ask Moses about it. Apparently, they gathered, and when they measured it and prepared it, it was a double portion. So the ones who went out to gather on the Sabbath had probably gorged themselves on two days worth of food all at once, assuming it would spoil overnight and go to waste. They did not listen to God’s word. Have you ever eaten way too much one day? Your stomach stretches, and the next morning you feel ravenously hungry. So they go out to find more food and there is none, just as God had said. What was meant to be a day of rest and feasting and enjoying became for these disobedient Israelites, a day of fasting.

Not By Bread Alone

God was teaching his people to be dependent on him, to trust him. Jesus picks up on this in his temptation.

Matthew 4:4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”’

Jesus is quoting Moses in Deuteronomy 8:3, where Moses is recounting God’s provision of Manna in the wilderness.

Deuteronomy 8:3 And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

The manna was training in dependence on God. Don’t trust your human wisdom. Don’t trust your instincts. Trust God. Believe what he says. Do things his way and he will bless you. Walk in obedience. Draw your sustenance from every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Manna was sweet. It tasted like wafers made with honey, which was a great luxury in that culture. In the Psalms, God’s word is compared with honey.

Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; 8 the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. 11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

Psalm 119:103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

A Testimony to Future Generations

God’s provision for his people was to be remembered.

16:32 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.”’ 33 And Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar, and put an omer of manna in it, and place it before the LORD to be kept throughout your generations.” 34 As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the testimony to be kept. 35 The people of Israel ate the manna forty years, till they came to a habitable land. They ate the manna till they came to the border of the land of Canaan. 36 (An omer is the tenth part of an ephah.)

A jar of Manna was to be placed before the LORD. This became one of the contents of the box that held the contract between God and his people. (This manna shows up again in Hebrews 9:4 and Revelation 2:17). It was to be a constant reminder of the gracious faithfulness of our loving God who provides for our physical and spiritual needs. God who of himself provides for our deepest needs, needs for deliverance, needs for release from our debts. God so loved undeserving sinners that he gave us his only Son Jesus.

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~

April 10, 2011 - Posted by | Exodus, podcast | , , , ,

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