I’m sitting here watching white stuff fall from heaven. No, this is not an old post that I’ve pulled out of the archives. It is, in fact, Friday, April 23rd. And I do still live in southern Arizona. But it has been snowing, really snowing, big white flakes kind of snowing, for about two hours now.
In fact the big white flakes are so big and fluffy and so surprising on this spring morning in southern AZ that the whole phenomenon has made me think of another time when big, white, flaky stuff fell from heaven. That would be thousands of years ago when manna fell in the midst of the weary, hungry, cranky Israelites’ camp between Egypt and the Promise Land.
Recently as I was finishing up my Bible study on the Bread of Life, I did a little research on manna and included it in said book. Here are some of the interesting things I found out:
- “manna” literally means “what is it?” Makes sense.
- It looked very similar to white coriander seed
- It had the appearance of bdellium which was a treasured and beautiful substance originally seen around the Garden of Eden.
- One account says it tasted kind of like vanilla wafers. Well not really, but it was described as being “like wafers with honey,” thus vanilla wafers.
- It was later referenced in the Psalms as angel food, food from heaven, and grain from heaven
- The people prepared it all sorts of ways. It was rather versatile.
- One scripture says it tasted like a fine pastry prepared with the best oil.
So if you’ve ever felt sorry for the Israelites having to eat manna day after day, don’t. Even in our modern world there are thousands and thousands of people who would give anything just to know for sure that they will get their daily bowl of rice, plain old rice. The Hebrew people knew that every morning they would find a substantial provision of angel food and they would be able to cook it up in such a way that it would both taste divine and fill their bellies.
Not only that, but everyone who went out and gathered their daily portion would get just that–their daily portion. If you got up late and dashed out to scoop up a few morsels around your tent, you somehow ended up with plenty of food for the day. And if you got up early and went out and greedily picked up baskets and baskets of the stuff, you still ended up with just a good healthy portion at the end of the day. Some might yell, “No fair!” at such heavenly economizing, but that’s just the way it was. And you know, of course, that on the sixth day God would provide just enough extra to supply the people with ample manna through the Sabbath. On that one day they could save enough for the next day and it would remain fresh and pure. But if they tried that shenanigan on any other day, they ended up with maggots and waste. Yuck.
The Hebrew people may have griped and complained about the daily diet of manna, but actually it was divinely tasty, easy to work with, readily available, pleasantly filling, and, most importantly, God’s holy and generous provision for them, His people.
I could take our thoughts toward the correlation between manna and our Bread of Life, Jesus Christ. That’s where I take these ponderings about the wafer-like food in my Bible study. So you’ll just have to read it to go there. But today, I want to go down a different path while the white stuff is falling outside my window.
The manna was God’s provision for His people during this one season of time (granted, it was a rather long season). Their good God supplied the Israelites with food for every day. They never went to bed hungry. They never woke up to find a shortage of manna or to wonder if God had forgotten them. I’m sure, in fact, that after several years of collecting and eating the daily manna, the people didn’t even give this daily blessing a second thought. They probably began to take it for granted some days and just complain about it other days. This food they had begged for, this heavenly substance that was so freely given, this tasty and unique delicacy became the object of their frustration instead of the stuff of their dreams.
And so my question today is, “What daily provision from God has become a second class commodity in our eyes? What did we ask Him for, wait with baited breath for, delight in, and then… grow tired of?”
Sometimes when others talk of building or buying new homes, I start looking at my home through weary eyes. Suddenly the home I prayed for is no longer as lovely and grand. And some days our 1990 Ford Taurus with less than 50,000 miles on it (and it only costs us $1,000) makes me sigh with boredom and even contempt. And some days as I put my family’s dirty clothes into our 22 year-old washer and dryer I’m almost tempted to pray that this will be the day they break down. But like the Israelites’ sandals, God seems determined to make that washer and dryer last until we cross over into Canaan. I could go on ad nauseam about the “manna” I so often complain about. Unfortunately.
So today I’m going to try to be more mindful of the ways God has provided for me and my family with our ample portion of “manna from heaven.” Whether it’s our three 1990s cars that keep on running, our old reliable Kenmores, or last year’s sandals that still look as good as new, I’m going to be glad I have them. And when I get the bug to look over into someone else’s land and see what they’re eating for dinner, I’m going to be thankful for my daily portion “what is it?” Because vanilla wafers are definitely better than bland rice. And what I have been given is nothing to wave my fists at. I have a good God who is providing amply for me every day.
Anyone else care to ‘fess up? What do you sometimes grow weary of that, upon second thought, you realize is really a glorious provision from God?
Have a great weekend friends!