Greetings in the name of the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (John 6:32-33)
God protected the Israelites and provided special food in the middle of the wilderness. Nobody had ever had such food from heaven. When the Israelites ran out of the food brought from Egypt, they were in a hurry to leave Egypt, where they were enslaved for four hundred years. They were too little time to plan all details, including food to bring with them. They just left Egypt in joy and followed Moses, and Moses led the Israelites as God guided Moses. Thus, the entire two million Israelites followed God as God guided them.
Their journey was unforgettable. Under God’s guidance, the Israelites walked on dry ground through the Red Sea, and they saw the bodies of Pharaoh’s army washed to the shore, who chased down into the middle of the Red Sea to capture and kill the Israelites. None of the Pharaoh’s army survived because God utterly destroyed them by returning the water to the Pharaoh’s army, and they were all buried under the Red Sea and drowned. It was God who was against the Pharaoh’s army and blessed the Israelites, His chosen people, and beloved children.
Then the Israelites walked through the desert for three days, and they became almost faint because all water brought with them was exhausted. Out of the extreme thrust, they cried out to God, and God answered. God led them to an oasis. But they complained about the water’s taste while saying it was too bitter to drink. Then God turned the bitter taste of the oasis water to sweet for them. Thus, they drank sweet water in the middle of the desert and were fully satisfied. As they left the place, they called it Marah, which means “bitter.”
God did not forget to teach the Israelites because God cared for them through Moses. Moses said,
“If you will listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the LORD who heals you.” (Exodus 15:26b)
Then they continued their journey following Moses, and God guided Moses. They walked into the wilderness of Sin, between Elim and Mount Sinai. They arrived there on the fifteenth day of the second month, one month after leaving the land of Egypt. There, too, the whole community of Israel complained about Moses and Aaron because they ran out of food.
In the middle of the wilderness, they found no more food to eat. They saw their children and animals starving but had nothing to do. So far, they had seen many miracles of God – God’s plagues to the Egyptians, dividing the Red Sea, and bringing water in the middle of the desert, but the cold reality was too harsh for them. They could not watch their children starving to death. They did everything they could but could not find any food to feed their children because they were in the barren wilderness. They increasingly became desperate, but the cold reality did not budge at all. They looked around, looked out, and searched for food, but nothing helped them locate water.
Then they started complaining about Moses and his co-leader Aaron. The complaint grew bigger and bigger and quickly sped out to the entire Israelites.
“If only the LORD had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.” (Exodus 16:3)
They complained to Moses, but it was for God. God heard it.
Before this event, God taught the Israelites to listen and obey while believing God’s promise and trusting in Him 100% after God provided water to the Israelites who were almost dying due to extreme dehydration after walking through the desert for three days. At that time, all replied, “Yes, we do.” However, their hunger was too great to remember what God did and what they promised to God.
As they complained, they even beautified the enslaved life in Egypt. Then they instead demonized God’s gracious act. Did God intend to kill the Israelites by bringing them into the wilderness to starve them all to death? Absolutely not. If that were truly God’s intention, why didn’t God let the Pharaoh’s army kill the Israelites on the other side of the Red Sea without bringing down God’s miracle of dividing the Red Sea by providing the path for the Israelites? God protected the Israelites and killed the Pharaoh’s Army; who followed the Israelites into the middle of the Red Sea? How faithless they were! They saw and experienced God’s power and His mercy on them while punishing the Pharaoh’s army, trying to harm the Israelites. It was less than a month ago.
It was not all. There was another: God provided water when they were thirsty. Then God told them again and again to listen and obey while trusting in God, but they kept complaining to God whenever their need did not meet.
Even so, God provided. Indeed, God provided food throughout the journey to the Promised Land for forty years. God had never missed their food even a single day, not because they were faithful and obedient to God, but because God was faithful to them with His unceasing love.
Let’s look back at our lives. What do we see? Hasn’t God provided what we needed? Have we never complained to God? Our existence alone is proof of God’s provision and love. If not, we would have perished long before reaching today. Having today is God’s provisional blessing. For some of us, today is painful, but later we will look back and see His gracious provisional hand out of His unfathomable love, which is our faith and testimony.
However, it does not mean we get earthly luxuries as much as we want. The Israelites got manna that God rained down from heaven, which was neither an extravaganza feast nor a delicacy extremely craved by many today, but God’s provision was perfect and has never lacked at all.
Again let’s look back. How many times have we craved something out of our greed and envy? God knows exactly what we need. All those things we yearn for are neither necessary nor building up for us. If not all, most of them are detrimental and even harmful. What we overly crave out of greed and envy quickly becomes a snare in our life, pushing us to crave more and more. Thus, we become a slave to what we crave, and we double down on everything we have, including our entire life, for what we crave. Then we put all our energy into getting what we crave without knowing they will not provide what we think. Even so, all run for what they crave, which has become a norm in our world.
God keeps reminding us to listen, trust, and obey Him through various channels, including the Holy Spirit that God sent to our hearts. But what’s our response? Do we listen to Him and trust and obey? Or do we keep chasing down what we crave, following the norm of this world like those who don’t know Our Ever-Loving and Gracious Father who is always faithful, loving, and providing? Again today, we should remember our existence alone is proof of God’s provision.
We will see more about the life of the Israelites through the wilderness for the next forty years. It is a journey of the real people, the Israelites, whom God dearly loved. By the way, have we thought about how many kings and queens in history truly had a life that we envy to have? The answer is almost none.
Then how about the lives of those who faithfully lived and followed God while trusting and obeying Him? Their lives were truly worthy to themselves and the rest, especially those who knew their lives. Virtually no king or queen had such a blessed life. Why? A truly blessed life only comes from God when we humble ourselves, truly trust, and obey Him, and they did.
Yes, the real gem prepared for those who humbly follow God under all circumstances by trusting and obeying Him as Moses did is more than what we see and touch, which is our eternal salvation. Indeed, our eternal salvation cannot be purchased or obtained by money, fame, or power.
Indeed, countlessly many have searched for it since the dawn of history, but none have found it. Even today, many still believe there is a way to get it through various means – full dedication of their lives, complete sacrifice of all they have, and giving up even their own life. But all of these efforts have been futile and will be equally futile. Forever, no one will find it by one’s own effort. Period. Thus, we love to share and are sharing the real gem with you: our eternal salvation only comes from God and God’s free gift. Yes, it is free, which does not require any payment or even any of our effort because it is God’s free gift.
Let’s go back to the Israelites. What did happen to the Israelites? God rained down food for them for the next forty years.
“Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they will gather food, and when they prepare it, there will be twice as much as usual.” (Exodus 16:4b-5)
provided rest as God’s gift, Sabbath. Sabbath actually means “to reset from labor.” God loved them and graciously gave them day of rest each week. Even in the middle of the wilderness, they could rest with God and with their family. Their only source of provision was God, and God rained manna every day, and they gathered the manna each day. On Sabbath, they rested with God and their family.
Some tried to be smarter than God by gathering more manna for the following day, but it became spoiled and full of maggots the next morning. Yes, God provided what they needed. They could not deviate from what God provided for each day. Yes, they had to trust and obey God. The extra that they gathered became useless.
Each day God provided, and they gathered manna as needed every morning. Then they ate it for the day and enjoyed God’s blessing that God rained down from heaven daily.
It was also true that no one could eat manna with their family by doing nothing in the morning. Each morning, they had to go out and gather manna. They had to work daily to get manna for their family. Again as God promised, God rained down manna for them every morning. It was God’s blessing, and they enjoyed it by trusting and obeying God.
Additionally, God provided Sabbath, which was God’s blessed gift for the Israelites, who worked daily like clockwork. On each Sabbath, they enjoy family and their blessed relationship with God. It is the day for their family and God. God himself rested on the seventh day after His six days of creation.
However, some did not believe Sabbath was God’s gift, and they went out to gather manna but could not find it. Why did they go out to gather manna? They did not prepare for Sabbath by gathering twice on the last day as God instructed. They trusted their own experience and logic rather than God’s command, which did not match what they knew. Thus, they could not receive God’s blessed gift. They should have overcome their logic and obeyed God’s command, although it did not make sense. After all, believing in God is not knowledge but faith.
Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1)
Then they also became like the rest of the Israelites. They trusted and obeyed God and enjoyed Sabbath while enjoying the manna gathered the previous day. Although they gathered twice, it did not spoil on the following day. They rested on Sabbath and by accepting God’s gift for them. It was the day of enjoying their relationship with God and their family.
Then Moses said, “This is what the LORD has commanded: Fill a two-quart container with manna to preserve it for your descendants. Then later generations will be able to see the food I gave you in the wilderness when I set you free from Egypt.”
God did not want the Israelites to keep God’s provision for themselves only. God’s provision was for all, including their future generations and the rest of the world. By the way, God’s provision is not limited to the worldly manna that the Israelites ate in the wilderness or what we eat today, but all the blessings that we get from God. Please count all our blessings from God. Among all blessings, the most precious one is God’s salvation which reaches eternity. Manna was only for this world, but God’s salvation is for eternity.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
God’s love is so great that He loves the world and provides His provision to all. As long as we trust and obey, we enjoy God’s provisions on earth. By the way, there is one provision which is something greater than Sabbath and manna. That is our eternal peace with God through God’s salvation. God has prepared eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ, and anyone who believes in Him receives God’s eternal salvation, our eternal peace with God. It is the Good News for all.
Yes, God has provided us with our manna on earth and our eternal salvation. Why do we worry about anything on earth? God is Our Ever-Loving Father who is always faithful and dearly loves us. Unfortunately, sometimes we are not faithful to God and even against God. Then we should not hide from God as Adam and Eve did. Don’t forget our God is patient and always ready to forgive and embrace us with His love.
You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you. (Psalm 86:5)
Come, let us sing to the LORD!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
for he is our God.
We are the people he watches over,
the flock under his care. (Psalm 95:1, 7)