Manna
Daily Devotional • April 12
By Elizabeth Baumann
It’s easy to roll your eyes at the complaining Israelites. They’ve been brought out of slavery, seen God in a pillar of cloud, passed between the watery walls of the Red Sea, seen the Egyptian army swept away. We’d like to believe that if we had only seen these great acts of God first-hand, we would never doubt him. Here’s the thing: God’s deliverance is never enough for us, anymore than it was for the Israelites. We forget God’s faithfulness, no matter how powerfully we have experienced it, as soon as we’re hungry or thirsty or tired. We are fragile: without sleep, we die. Without water, we die. Without food, we die. And it doesn’t even take very long.

I imagine this is why fasting is such a big thing in Christian life: because we have to learn to still hold onto God when we’re hungry. It’s not as natural as it seems like it should be. Of course, if you’re out in the desert with your children and you have nothing to eat, it’s not just hunger, but fear that eats away at your ability to trust God.

As I am writing this in Lent, I am in a season of being very intentional about the food I make and eat. You are reading this in Easter, when feasting, rather than fasting, is prescribed. So I would give you this: be no less intentional about your feasting than your fasting. Your food probably doesn’t fall from the sky, but it is no less a provision of God. And like the Israelites in the desert, be humbled that God cares for even our small needs, even when we complain or are afraid.

Exodus 16:10-22

And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. 11The Lord spoke to Moses and said, 12“I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’“

13In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. 15When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.16This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Gather as much of it as each of you needs, an omer to a person according to the number of persons, all providing for those in their own tents.’“ 17The Israelites did so, some gathering more, some less. 18But when they measured it with an omer, those who gathered much had nothing over, and those who gathered little had no shortage; they gathered as much as each of them needed.19And Moses said to them, “Let no one leave any of it over until morning.” 20But they did not listen to Moses; some left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and became foul. And Moses was angry with them. 21Morning by morning they gathered it, as much as each needed; but when the sun grew hot, it melted.

22On the sixth day they gathered twice as much food, two omers apiece. When all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses,