Manna Rules Exodus 16:16-36
So God gave Moses the instructions for the gathering of the Manna. Remember according to Exodus 16:4 “Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.”
Well we will see that they do not walk in God’s law.
Exodus 16:16-17 “This is the thing which the LORD has commanded: ‘Let every man gather it according to each one’s need, one omer for each person, according to the number of persons; let every man take for those who are in his tent.” Then the children of Israel did so and gathered some more, some less.
Day one, okay. We usually are pretty good following instructions the first day. Remember, the people were hungry and they were grateful for the bread from God. Of course over time greed and wanting to test the limits would come into the picture.
Notice, the Manna is on the ground, and the people had to bend over to pick it up. There was enough Manna for everyone, and God had a set portion for each person. The Manna was to be gathered in the morning and would disappear when the heat from the sun hit it. There will be no laggards or late sleepers.
Exodus 16:18 So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one’s need.
God will supply all of our needs.
Exodus 16:19-20 And Moses said, “Let no one leave any of it till morning.” Notwithstanding they did not heed Moses. But some of them left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them.
First of all, disobeying God’s directives always produces a stench in our lives and what we do in our own understanding is often fraught with rot and does not last. We spoil God’s perfect plan for our lives when we do not obey God, and leave ourselves open to what is not beneficial for us.
Moses was the pastor of these people who constantly seemed bent on testing the limits of God’s patience. I have great respect for pastors who give their hearts to the people, give godly advice and then watch the people fail because they do not follow the godly advice. I am sure it breaks the pastor’s heart, and then the people blame the pastor and God for the repercussions of their disobedience to what the pastor and God told them.
Those who left the Manna (I keep wanting to call it Bread like God does – I am certain He calls it Bread because it is a precursor to what His Son will do for us as the Bread of Life), seem to be saying some negative things about God through their actions. Whenever we disobey God we speak through our actions negative things about God.
The Israelites are first and foremost saying, that God and His prophets do not need to be heeded. Big mistake there, because God is not pleased when we persist in disobedience. It is saying that the people did not value the Manna, for they had leftovers. And disobedience produces decay. They are also implying that they need to hoard the Manna, not willing to trust in God’s provision.
Of course, after one morning of stinky, wormy Manna, the Israelites got the point and I suspect they did not leave any over for the next morning. That is so like a loving parent, sometimes God lets us see the results of our disobedience and how unpleasant those results are, then we are more willing to obey Him.
Exodus 16:21 So they gathered it every morning, every man according to his need. And when the sun became hot it melted.
So often we are told that we must take God’s offer of salvation, for we never know what the next moment will bring. At some point such an offer is no longer there. We have the Bread of Life if we reach out and take the free gift, but if we don’t God will let us have our wishes, and He will not force Himself into our lives. If we do not reach down and pick up the Manna, it will melt when the sun becomes hot. Our lives get hot with situations, and if we keep keeping Jesus out of the midst of our problems, we too will have a meltdown, and will end up hardening our hearts. Far better that we gather the Bread of life.
Another analogy for Bread is the Word of God. So often in the Scriptures it talks about early morning prayer and devotions, and sometimes, if we do not gather our Manna (our spiritual sustenance) before our day begins, we can be subject to meltdowns when the trials come into our lives.
Exodus 16:22-23 And so it was, on the sixth day, that they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. And all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. Then he said to them, “This is what the LORD has said: Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.”
I love this, God is sovereign, he makes the rules. The two omers collected on the sixth day will not rot when left over. There will be no worms in it. When we follow God’s commands we will have sweet sustenance. And of course with that is the timing. If the people had collected two omers on the fifth day it would have rotted, only on the Sabbath eve is it preserved..
Sabbath was something very special that God made for the Israelites. God rested on the seventh day of creation. I am certain God was not wiping sweat off of His brow, saying “Whew, I need a day off!” He, like a good parent, was modeling the need for rest and refreshment that we all need. Before God instituted the Sabbath the people worked seven days a week with no rest. But we are not made to work like that, we need a time to rest and turn our thoughts toward God, then we can become recharged. When we take time off to spend with God, He blesses that and work gets done.
Exodus 16:24 So they laid it up till morning, as Moses commanded; and it did not stink, nor were there any worms in it.
When God gives an instruction, even if it doesn’t make sense to us (remember the last time they left Manna overnight it turned to worms), God will bless the following of His instructions.
Exodus 16:25-26 Then Moses said, “Eat that today, for today is a Sabbath to the LORD; today you will not find it in the field. Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath day, there will be none.”
So what did they do? What we have been known to do at times, not fully believe that God means what He says.
Exodus 16:27 Now it happened that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none.
Could it be that they wanted a head start? Were they not listening to God and did not gather two omers the day before? Did they think to profit from it? God noticed that they did not obey, but He is merciful.
Exodus 16:28-30 And the LORD said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws? See! For the LORD has given you the Sabbath, therefore He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let every man remain in His place on the seventh day.” So the people rested on the seventh day.
We will see that the Israelites do not always honor the Sabbath day or the Sabbath year, and this will have repercussions in their future. What is also sad is that over time the laws for the Sabbath will be so oppressive. What God meant for rest and refreshment and communion with Him is turned into drudgery and duty. In fact one thing Jesus was often guilty of is breaking the Sabbath with His healings and good things that He did. He told people that God made the Sabbath for the people, not the people for the Sabbath.
Exodus 16:31 And the house of Israel called its name Manna. And it was like white coriander seed, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.
Exodus 16:32 Then Moses said, “This is the thing which the LORD has commanded: ‘Fill an omer with it, to be kept for your generations, that they may see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.
How incredible that God wanted to make sure that future generations would remember the Manna. That is one thing that I love about God, His promises are forever. His Covenants last, and He cares that we teach our children about Him.
Exodus 16:33-34 And Moses said to Aaron, “Take a pot and put an omer of manna in it, and lay it up before the LORD, to be kept for your generations.” As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony to be kept.
In fact, this will be one of the items put in the Ark of the Covenant when the tabernacle is built.
Exodus 16:35 And the children of Israel ate manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate manna until they came to the border of he land of Canaan.
How faithful God is!!! He took care of their needs for 40 years, gave them their daily bread. Lets do a bit of math, the Israelites had 360 day years, so 40 x 360 = 14,400 days
14,400 days x 12,000,000 pints (conservative estimate on 2 million in wilderness
equals 172,800,000,000 pints of Manna or 86,400,000 tons of Manna
Can you imagine???? How faithful God is, and yet the Israelites will still seek after old idols, they will complain and grumble about the manna. Sometimes I think God does so many miracles in our lives that we become used to them, and do not realize the magnitude of what He has done. Our God is so faithful.
Now, please tell me why this next verse is put in here. And yet I know it is there for a purpose but I can’t figure it out.
Exodus 16:36 Now an omer is one-tenth of an ephah.
It seems so stuck out in left field. I could see it if they put it in as a parenthetical remark after God told them to gather an omer (one-tenth of an ephah) of Manna. But this line is here by itself. I wonder why God isolated it like this.
Hope this blesses you. Remember we have our Manna in the form of God’s Word. He gives us breath, life, our hearts beat constantly all day, we have vision, neural synapses that can’t be understood. And the beauty of the earth and creation. He also gave us Himself. So many, many miracles.
Have a blessed night!
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