A while back, I found myself in possession of a bag of yellow potatoes. I don’t cook potatoes often, but I roasted them in the oven till they were soft on the inside and crispy on the outside and seasoned with Italian-approved spices.
I served them to my family, and my husband ate them with pleasure. My two little boys? You would’ve thought the potatoes were pickled pigs feet the way they poked and prodded at them with their forks. They complained and made yuck faces. They eventually tried them but gave them a hearty thumbs down.
A longer while back, thousands of years ago, the Israelites were following Moses through the desert to the Promised Land. They were hungry and begged God for nourishment. Do you remember what the Lord provided for them to eat?
One day, the Israelites woke up, peeked out of their tents and saw a fine, flaky frost covering the ground with the morning dew. It was white, about the size of a coriander seed, and—land o’ Goshen—it was food! It tasted like wafers with honey. It arrived every morning in perfect portions for each man, woman, and child. It was so new and unfamiliar that the word “manna” in Hebrew translates to “what is it?”
Manna was food sent straight from the throne of God. But it was also fairly plain. And they had to eat it off the ground. It wasn’t exactly a steak served on a silver platter. But it was the carb charge they needed to press forward on their journey.
Sure enough, the Israelites began to whine. “Aww, manna again?” Numbers 11 explains what happened when the Israelites complained about the never-ending supply of heavenly bread that kept them from starving in the desert.
When my boys complained about the potatoes, I wasn’t happy. I can only imagine how displeased God was when the Israelites basically said, “This manna isn’t good enough. Can’t we have something else?”
When I chastened my boys about the potatoes, I chastened myself, too. How many times have I looked at everything God has provided for me—the daily abundance of food, shelter, and clothing. Loving family. Fellowship of the saints. Personal communion with Christ. I’ve looked at it and said, “This isn’t good enough. I want something different.”
Being a wife, mother, daughter, sister, church member…it’s getting old. Day in, day out. What a grind! Please, Lord, NOT more of the same. Oh dear, look at this pink slip (or diagnosis, accident, disappointment)…just LOOK at it. What is it?!? Manna?!?
We look at the steaming, fried potatoes seasoned with garlic, paprika, and herbs, and we say, “Not this again!” or “What in the world is it?!”
A similar thing happened when Jesus told His disciples in John 6 (I’m paraphrasing):
I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate manna and are dead. I’m the bread that comes from heaven, and if you eat it, you’ll never die. You’ll live forever. You must eat my flesh and drink my blood, and I’ll dwell inside you and give you life.
The people who heard this were bewildered. You want me to eat WHAT?! They murmured. They departed from Jesus’s fold. It was too much to bear.
I think of the potatoes. Prepared with love. Rejected in their goodness.
I think of that heavenly bread. Given in love. Rejected in its purity.
Will I eat the manna that God sets before me? Will I partake of Jesus Christ, allowing Him inside? Will I do it the Lord’s way or insist on my own?
These are questions that I must ponder with the regularity of my daily meals.
This I DO know. It doesn’t really matter how I feel about God’s manna. It’s exactly what I need. If I look at my Plate of Life, heaping with heavenly bread, and I realize that this meal was bought with a price, and I give thanks—kneeling in humility before the Lord’s Supper—then I can see the manna for what it truly is.
And I am filled.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.
It would be very interesting (to say the least) if one could find out what the other nutritional data for manna was, besides the obvious “heavenly” honey, i.e., (protein, fat, fiber content, vitamins, minerals, etc.)