Daily Devotional: "THE JOURNEY TO SPIRITUAL WHOLENESS"

November 17, 2017

Scripture:

"And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground. And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat. This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents. And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less.  And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating. And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning.  Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them. And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted. And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord : bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein. And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the Lord : to day ye shall not find it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.  And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. And the Lord said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?  See, for that the Lord hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day.  And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. And Moses said, This is the thing which the Lord commandeth, Fill an omer of it to be kept for your generations; that they may see the bread wherewith I have fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you forth from the land of Egypt. And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a pot, and put an omer full of manna therein, 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. And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan." Exodus 16:14-35 KJV

 

Biblical Exposition:

God's methods of dealing with His people are ever the same. Food and water were in short supply in the Sinai desert. The sheer number of individuals made satisfying their needs challenging; except for God. God is never caught off guard with His people's circumstances. Whether of our making or of His leading, our situations are seen collectively and individually. Traveling in total dependence was new for the Children of Israel. Prone to complain and always anxious for predictability, God's people were stretched in their thoughts to comprehend how they would survive with the limited food resources they brought from Egypt. God's objective was to teach them dependence while bringing their minds and actions into submission to His will. God introduced them to a new food source and a new cycle for food preparation. The daily allotment of manna was plentiful enough to feed each person. Friday, or the sixth day's portion, was doubled to guarantee sustenance during the Sabbath hours. 

Food is fundamental to human existence. Physical survival is always secondary to spiritual survival, in God's plans. Our Scriptural emphasis is actually a platform for more comprehensive instruction. God's objective was to bring His people to spiritual wholeness and teach them the larger lesson of the plan of Salvation. God's objective is to reveal Christ; His love for His creation; and the greater plan for those, who are His. Layered in this historically documented event are values expounded on in the Psalms and New Testament.

Prophetic and Doctrinal Application:

Christ's three temptations encompassed the core issues each Christian must confront. Temperance or self-control is one of the most challenging issues we face. Following 40 days of fasting, Satan's efforts to tempt Christ to satisfy hunger by using His divinity was actually a dual temptation. Hunger was the physical issue. Presumption was the subtle spiritual issue hidden in the words of the arch deceiver. Reaching back to the Garden of Eden and reminiscent of the wilderness sojourn, Satan had been successful in overthrowing humanity on the issue of appetite. 

Christ's response was intentionally connected to the typological significance of the march from Egypt to Canaan. Quoting Deuteronomy 8:3 - "And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live."  (Deuteronomy 8:3 KJV)

Through the account of the provision of manna, God teaches several important values for the end-time believer. First, God permitted His people to hunger to drive them to Him for the simplest needs of life - food. Food was not the objective for God, but the initiating process for a relationship of deeper emphasis. Creating a spiritual bond of loyalty and uncompromising commitment takes intentionality and daily focus. God was emphasizing the plan of salvation, in which unquestioning allegiance is required. Total dependence prevents us from self-importance and self-reliance. Both are counter culture to the humanistic views of contemporary society. Secondly, the account of manna teaches the role of Christ as the "bread of life". Providing food that does not perish is central to the Divine institution of salvation and redemption. To the Satanic appeal to eat for temporary nourishment, Christ pointed to God as the counterpoint to physical survival and moves the discussion to the eternal. Only God lives in the eternal, and to ignore Him, His assigned sacrifice for salvation, is a continuation of the mind of rebellion, began in Eden and seen more vividly in the Children of Israel. Christ is all we need. The manna that came from heaven, unsolicited, without need of payment, or participation of any human, proves God is the Source of our salvation.

The Apostle Paul summarizes the typology in 1 Corinthians 10: 1 and 3: "Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;  And did all eat the same spiritual meat. . ." Manna was to point the carnal minded to the indisputable truth - salvation was outside their control. It is a free gift from our Heavenly Father. Our challenge is to overcome the issue of self-indulgence, gluttony, and intemperance. Vegetarianism is a profoundly important first step in the process of submission, cooperation, alliance, and reverence for Christ's instruction and example in self-control and dependence on God. Self-discipline in dietary practices is a requirement for being aligned with the principles of heaven. Self is never first. God is.

Prophetic Context:

1 Corinthians 10:3. 

Spiritual meat. Or, “spiritual food.” The word “meat” is used with its Old English meaning of “food” in general rather than flesh. The word “spiritual” signifies that the food was not provided naturally. Furthermore, Paul was probably also thinking of the spiritual significance of the manna (John 6:32, 33, 35) in the same way as he identified the spiritual Rock as Christ (1 Cor. 10:4). All the Israelites were fed and nourished in this miraculous way in the wilderness. Their food was given to them directly by God. In this way all of them were given dramatic proof that they were protected and cared for by God. In that waste place there was no other food for them; they were absolutely dependent on the bread that fell from heaven (see Ex. 16:3). If anyone refused to eat the manna, he would perish. Similarly there is no other source of food for the Christian than that which comes from heaven and is personified in the Saviour. The temporal manna supplied for material sustenance sufficed for the earthly needs of the Israelites, but its effect was only temporary, and those who partook of it eventually died. Those who partake of the Word of God, even Jesus Christ, will not perish, but will live forever (see John 6:48–51, 53, 54, 58, 63). In this earthly wilderness men endeavor to feed their minds on human philosophies and inventions, but there is no hope of peace or happiness apart from Christ (see Matt. 11:28, 29; John 10:10; 15:6; 1 Cor. 1:21, 25, 30). Even as the manna had to be gathered every day, in an amount sufficient for the day’s need, so must men take the appropriate daily portion of nourishment from the Word of God in order to maintain a vigorous, vital Christian experience (see Ex. 16:16, 21; Job 23:12; Matt. 6:11).

Nichol, Francis D.: The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 6. Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1978; 2002, S. 740

Psalm 78:23-25. 

23. Doors of heaven. Compare 2 Kings 7:2, 19; Mal. 3:10. Ps. 78:23–25 is an exquisite poetic description of the gift of the manna.

24. Had rained. See Ex. 16:4. Throughout the poetic account in this psalm, there is close identity with the phraseology of the historical record.

Corn. Heb. dagan, “grain,” or “breadstuffs” (see Ex. 16:4; Ps. 105:40; cf. John 6:31). The manna resembled “coriander seed” (Ex. 16:31).

25. Angels’ food. Literally, “bread of the mighty.” The mighty ones of God are the angels (Ps. 103:20). LXX reads, “bread of angels.” We must not infer from this statement that manna is the diet of angels. The phrase simply means “food provided … by the angels” (PP 297).

Heb. Hebrew

cf. confer, “compare”

LXX Septuagint. A. Rahlfs, editor, Septuaginta (2 vols.; Stuttgart, 1935)

Nichol, Francis D.: The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 3. Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1978; 2002, S. 816

Spirit of Prophecy Comments:

“The children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited: they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.” For forty years they were daily reminded by this miraculous provision, of God’s unfailing care and tender love. In the words of the psalmist, God gave them “of the corn of heaven. Man did eat angels’ food” (Psalm 78:24, 25)—that is, food provided for them by the angels. Sustained by “the corn of heaven,” they were daily taught that, having God’s promise, they were as secure from want as if surrounded by fields of waving grain on the fertile plains of Canaan. PP 297.1

The manna, falling from heaven for the sustenance of Israel, was a type of Him who came from God to give life to the world. Said Jesus, “I am that Bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven.... If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:48-51. And among the promises of blessing to God’s people in the future life it is written, “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna.”Revelation 2:17. PP 297.2

 

Sincerely,

Samuel Thomas, Jr.


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