Read Exodus 16:11-31
11 The Lord said to Moses, 12 “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’”
13 That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was.
Moses said to them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Everyone is to gather as much as they need. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent.’”
17 The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. 18 And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed.
19 Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.”
20 However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them.
21 Each morning everyone gathered as much as they needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away. 22 On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much—two omers for each person—and the leaders of the community came and reported this to Moses. 23 He said to them, “This is what the Lord commanded: ‘Tomorrow is to be a day of sabbath rest, a holy sabbath to the Lord. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.’”
24 So they saved it until morning, as Moses commanded, and it did not stink or get maggots in it. 25 “Eat it today,” Moses said, “because today is a sabbath to the Lord. You will not find any of it on the ground today. 26 Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any.”
27 Nevertheless, some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather it, but they found none. 28 Then the Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions? 29 Bear in mind that the Lord has given you the Sabbath; that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Everyone is to stay where they are on the seventh day; no one is to go out.” 30 So the people rested on the seventh day.
31 The people of Israel called the bread manna. It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey.
Over a million people homeless and hungry in a desert – how will God feed them?
“That evening vast numbers of quail flew in and covered the camp.”
I love it.
They cover the camp.
But in the morning there’s a special surprise, “When the dew evaporated, a flaky substance as fine as frost blanketed the ground.”
They’ve never seen anything like it.
Indeed, nothing like it has ever existed, before or since. It is created by God for this specific time and place. In a desert where food will never grow, God simply lays it down – every single morning.
On the first morning, after they gather it, Moses instructs them to use it all up, “Do not keep any of it until morning.”
Doesn’t that seem wasteful?
After all they’ve been through and given the very strange way this food has come, I’d be inclined to hoard it. How could I know, for sure, that the same bizarre thing will happen tomorrow?
Best keep some aside, just in case.
Next morning it stinks and writhes – yuck! God wants them to trust Him for food in a fresh way every day and sure enough, the next morning the same miracle happens again – the whole world is covered in food.
Okay. Now it’s clear that I may as well use it all up so I do, and as I do I’m trusting God to give me more tomorrow. It’s a daily object lesson in faith.
But the sixth day is different. On that day God tells them to gather enough for two days, because the next day God wants them to rest.
Sure enough, next morning there’s no manna; but this time, yesterday’s manna is still fresh and good.
He wants the seventh day of the week, the Sabbath, to be a day “dedicated to the Lord”, a day that’s different from all the others; a whole day to stop business-as-usual and simply relax in Him, thinking about and remembering all He has done and promises to do. It will help them. It will make it easier to keep on trusting and obeying.
Could anyone be more tender and generous than God?
See how lavishly He provides: meat flies itself in every night, bread appears magically every morning, and “the Sabbath is the Lord’s gift to you.”