The mysterious food that fell for forty years in the wilderness was evidence of God’s abundant supply and inexhaustible resources. This lesson lasted four decades and was meant to train God’s people to depend on Him alone for their needs.
Manna tasted like bread and honey (Ex. 16:31). It is called “angels food” and “corn from heaven” (Ps.78:24-25). Paul analogizes manna as “spiritual meat” (I Cor. 10:3).
Several things can be noted about manna:
1. God was the source of manna.
He alone provided it. It is referred to as “the bread of heaven”, for it was not grown or manufactured by man (Ps.105:40).
2. God bestowed only manna to eat: nothing else.
They were forced to rely on God for their sustenance.
3. His provision was precise.
Manna had to be gathered at a specific time. None fell on the Sabbath, therefore the only night manna would not decompose was Friday.
4. Manna was provided where they lived.
It was easy to get, for it fell right outside the doors of their tents. “God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil.4:19).
5. There was enough for every person.
God gives us more than “we could ask or think” (Eph.3:20). Two quarts of manna were provided for every individual each day. To feed all the people, 4,000,000 quarts fell daily. It is estimated more than 18 billion gallons of manna fell during this forty year period.
6. They could not store it up.
There was no such thing as “stale manna” (Ex.16:20). The only manna that survived was in the golden pot God ordered to be stored in the Ark of the Covenant (Ex.16:33 & Heb.9:4). Manna was gathered fresh, just as spiritual experiences must be “new every morning” (Lam.3:23).
7. Jesus analogized Himself as ‘the bread of heaven’ (Jn.6:48).
Just as no one can explain how God sent manna, no one can explain how God became man.
8. Manna was only provided for God’s people.
It was not accessible to the neighboring heathen nations.
9. Man has a tendency to reject what God sends.
The people were soon sick of manna (Num.21:5). They spurned it, as most people would later spurn the Bread of Life (Jn.6:41).
10. Manna was symbolic of God’s of grace.
Similarly, it was undeserved and could not be earned.
11. It stopped the day they reached the Promised Land.
His provision was for a limited time only. They would not need manna in ‘the land of milk and honey’.
Skeptics tell Jesus how their forefathers ate manna in the wilderness (Jn.6:31). Jesus reminds them their forefathers are dead…but those who partake of the Living Bread will live forever (v.58).
Only overcommers will partake of the hidden manna in heaven (Rev.2:17).