Summary: The account of the Israelites gathering manna represents believers pursuing God's Word and the presence of Jesus in daily devotions. It demonstrates God's care for us, shows His greatness, and emphasizes the urgency of our getting FRESH MANNA!
A. HUMOR: TWO DOG JOKES
1. DOG DRANK GASOLINE
“When I was 12, my father told me a terrible story that had happened at the gas station that day. “I was pumping gas when I noticed this small dog licking up a puddle of gasoline off the ground,” he said. “All of a sudden, the poor thing started running around the car as fast as he could. He kept running and running until he finally just dropped to the ground right in front of me.” I gasped, “Oh no. Was he dead?” Dad shook his head. “No, he just ran out of gas.” Dad was quite pleased with himself over that one. [Bill Woodman]
2. BEWARE OF DOG
a. As the stranger enters a country store, he spots a sign: "Danger! Beware of Dog!" Inside, he sees a harmless old hound asleep in the middle of the floor.
b. "Is that the dog we're supposed to beware of?" he asks the owner. "That's him," came the reply. "He doesn't look dangerous to me. Why would you post that sign?"
c. "Before I posted that sign, people kept tripping over him."
4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. 13… in the morning…14 thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor…. 15 Moses said to them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Everyone is to gather as much as they need. Take an omer [2 quarts] for each person you have in your tent.’” 17 The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. 18 And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little….19 Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.” 20 However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them. 21 Each morning everyone gathered as much as they needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away. Ex. 16:4,13-21 NIV
1. There is a spiritual famine in the land. Amos 8:11-13 says, "The days are coming," declares the Sovereign Lord, "when I will send a famine through the land -- not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to East, searching for the word of the Lord, but they will not find it."
2. People are staggering everywhere, looking for the presence of the Lord. But thank God we don’t have to do that. God says, "I will pour floods upon the dry ground...."
3. We’re going to look at what manna symbolizes, 3 important lessons about it, and why we must get “Fresh Manna.”
I. THE MANNA REPRESENTED GOD’S WORD & JESUS
A. THE WORD OF GOD IS OUR MANNA
1. Moses said in Deut. 8:3; “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna…to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every Word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”
2. The Lord Jesus echoed this thought in Matt. 4:4; “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (also Luke 4:4)
B. ALSO, JESUS IS THE TRUE MANNA
“33Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness….I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven…34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.” 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty….I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever.” John 6:33-35,51.
1. So the manna that God gave the Israelites represented God’s Word and the life-giving presence of Jesus Christ. Both are essential to our spiritual life.
2. Both are available to us, but also, our effort to seek them out is expected by God, just as it was for the Israelites. If we would keep our spirits alive, we must seek out God’s manna. We can’t live on physical food alone – we must have spiritual nourishment.