“And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground…And Moses said to them, ‘This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat’” (Exodus 16:14, 15, NKJV).
The first complaint the children of Israel had was over their safety. They were facing the Red Sea, with the Egyptians on their heels. God opened the sea, and they were delivered.
Their second complaint was over thirst. God turned the bitter water into sweet water, fit for drinking.
Their third complaint was over hunger. God sent quail and then manna for the first time.
Rather than seeing a condescending God dealing with fussy people, we see a loving Father who satisfied His children ‘s needs, who reminded them that their need was a constant reason to seek Him and who was preparing them to learn a great lesson.
Maslow’s pyramid shows there are basic needs that must be met before higher needs can be worked on.
God taught that thousands of years earlier. «God was bringing them from a state of degradation and fitting them . . . to receive important and sacred trusts» (Patriarchs and Prophets, ch. 26, p. 292).
It’s interesting to see how, in spite of being given clear instructions regarding the amount they were to gather and the way they were to preserve manna, people disobeyed and tried to do things their way. Today we’re not much different than they were, and we would do well in remembering in a visible way, with small actions, that we understand that today is special and different.
In his book I’m Jesus, Life and Hope, Doctor Daniel Plenc mentions that perhaps the two loaves of bread Jews place on their table every Sabbath reminds them of the double portion of manna that fell on Friday and fed families on Sabbaths, He also says that through manna we can remember «lessons of daily effort to seek bread and the need for rest and gratitude; lessons in hard work and responsibility, as well as trust and surrender» (p. 22, 23).
Bread doesn’t fall from heaven today, but God still reminds us of the importance of setting aside time each week, intentionally, with preparation and expectation, to devote ourselves to seek Him, the Bread of life.