Sunrise in a desert oasis

Reflections on the Manna Legacy

Reflections on the Manna Legacy

by Bill High

Have you considered the manna legacy? I love reading the stories of the Bible, particularly those of the Old Testament. One of the stories that gets me is about manna, the miraculous “bread from heaven” God provided to sustain his people in the desert.

Think about it. The children of Israel were complaining. They’d left Egypt, and even though they had been slaves, living by the Nile River meant water and fertile ground for planting gardens.

But away from Egypt they were in the desert. Hard, rocky ground. Sunburns and mirages. Not much grows out there. So they complained to Moses, to Aaron, to each other and to God. They wanted food. Funny how the leeks and onions of their slavery suddenly seemed so much better than their freedom in the desert.

God heard their cries, and he gave them manna, described as “thin flakes like frost on the ground” (Exodus 16.14). The Israelites described the taste like wafers made with honey. The manna was edible precipitation!

And here’s what’s equally astounding to me. God gave them manna every single morning, six days a week, for 40 years! The Bible records: “The people of Israel ate the manna forty years, till they came to a habitable land. They ate the manna till they came to the border of the land of Canaan” (Exodus 16.35).

It was better than driving to the grocery store. Every morning they could step outside their tents, and presto! Manna. They could gather as much as they needed. They could gather an extra measure before the Sabbath.

I wonder what it was like to step outside the tent every morning and gather the manna, knowing that you’d done nothing to plant it, cultivate it or harvest it. It just showed up—literally a gift from above.

I’ve wondered also if Jeremiah may have been thinking about manna when he wrote Lamentations 3.23-24:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
  great is your faithfulness.

I’d call it the manna legacy. The story of God’s unique provision for his people at that time lives on to this day. Now, I know that today God doesn’t give us manna like he did in the time of Exodus, but I’m sure he gives other gifts that are as amazing as manna.

What’s your manna that you see every day?



Photo by Nick Dunlap on Unsplash

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Published December 27, 2020

Topics: A Life of Faith


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