A Devotion for 17 March 2021 Anno Domini (In the Year of our Lord), the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 12I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God. 13And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host. 14And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground. 15And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat. (Exodus 16:11-15; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
This ‘bread of manna’ was of a different sort to which the Children of Israel had been accustomed. It came down from God and distilled silently upon the foliage around about just as the dew – without notice or observation. It was everywhere on the ground, but the people knew not what it was. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Creation and King of Kings, is also everywhere though man may not discern Him.
This bread of manna was a miraculous provision for God’s people in the wilderness journey though they knew not what it was. It was their salvation from famine, though they knew it not. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the provision for salvation from the Wilderness of sin though many know Him not. The Manna came down to the children, ironically, in the Wilderness of Sin as they journeyed from Elim. It came as a result of the people’s ungodly murmuring against the men whom God had chosen to lead them – Moses and Aaron.
That Manna given in the Wilderness of Sin foreshadows that Bread that came down from Heaven in the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ. The salvation He offers is without cost (to us) or labor for it is all of His works and none of our own that saves us through grace. It is a free gift to the elect, but it cost Heaven the greatest cost of all time and eternity. Freedom is never free – it must be purchased at the cost of blood.
Our Lord came in the same manner as the Manna. His birth was not heralded in the royal courts of kings. He was born in the deep, still night of a little hamlet in Judea called Bethlehem – a village that was known for the sacrificial lambs they raised and sold for the Temple sacrifice. Even the name of this little hamlet gives evidence of the coming Messiah – Bethlehem (a place of Bread and Praise, in Hebrew). No one paid much attention to the birth of our Lord though He was the true Bread that came down from Heaven. God chose the lowly shepherds on the hills overlooking Bethlehem as the first to know of His coming – not kings and princes. There was no room for Him in the polite furnishings of Bethlehem. He was laid in a manger – a device for feeding the beasts of the field which we all are without Christ.
Jesus is the believer’s Manna: “Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. 32Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. . . . .As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. 58This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.” (John 6:31-33, and 57-58)
There are a number of ways in which Manna describes our Lord. Like manna. The manna of the Wilderness was round in form – “And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.” (Exodus 16:14) This circular form represents the eternity of our Lord (without beginning of end). “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending...” (Revelation 1:8) And the Manna was insignificant in size – it was small like unto the Babe of Bethlehem.
The Manna was white in color (which is actually all of the colors of the rainbow combined). This white appearance represents righteousness in Christ. “For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;” (Hebrews 7:26)
Our Lord Jesus Christ is literally the Word of God Incarnate. (see John 1:1-5) We consume His Word daily as the Children did the Manna. We do not gather days ahead – we must consume the Word daily to be healthy and strong believers. His Word is sweet to the taste to those who love Him just as the Manna was like unto honey wafers. “…. and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.” (Exodus 16:31)
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the seasoning and honey of our lives: “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” (Colossians 3:15-17) and “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” (Colossians 4:6)
Just as Manna is the bread of life, so the Bread of Heaven is His Body. It is the fiber of our being. Manna also had the nature of sweet oil as does the wine of His blood for us serve as our spiritual nourishment. “And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil.” (Numbers 11:8)
As stated earlier, the Manna came down as the dew of Heaven. It came unseen, unheard, and without fanfare. The Holy Spirit comes to us in the solitude of our lives – silently and without notice of other company. He knows us and comes particularly to US! The Manna did not fall among the Edomites or Moabites; but directly to the Children of Israel.
God provides His blessings in particular ways but without regard to persons. When the Angel of Death passed over the dark land of Egypt, He did not ask the names of those inside the homes of Goshen dabbed with the blood of the lamb over the lentils and on the door posts – He only sought out only the homes that had the blood as a covering – and so He does today. All who were found under the blood of the lamb were spared that sorrowful night in Egypt.
Are you gathering consuming your Bread of Heaven (Word of God) daily as did the children in the wilderness? Our spirits cannot thrive upon one sitting under the Word per week, we must daily feed our souls with the Bread of Heaven. We cannot read five books of the Bible one day and rest the other five – the word grows stale quickly in a soul that is not well fed with the nutrients of the Word. “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19)
The Table is set – time to eat!