in the wilderness of Sinai what a striking picture! Egypt behind
them. Canaan before them, and the sand of the desert around
them. The wilderness afforded not one blade of grass for the
Israel of God. Manna: The "bread from heaven" alone
was their portion. "Manna" literally means, "what
is it?" What was "manna"? How essential was it?
in the wilderness was a graphic illustration of Christians in
this wilderness world. They have nothing here. Their life being
heavenly can only be sustained by spiritual things. Though "in
the world, they are not of it" for Christ has chosen them
out of it. Christ can only sustain the new life in the believer.
"As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father;
so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me." Christ
is the "bread from heaven "
manna was so pure and delicate that it could not remain for
long in contact with the earth. Manna fell with the dew (Numbers
11:9) and had to be gathered before the sun was up. Each Israelite,
therefore, had to rise early and seek his daily portion. So
it is with the people of God now. The heavenly manna many be
gathered fresh every morning. We must feed upon Christ our primary
object. We must seek him "early" before other things
have had time to take possession of our hearts. Many of us fail
in this sorting out of priorities. We give Christ a secondary
place, and the consequence is we are left feeble and barren.
lesson: With the exception of the Sabbath, the manna would corrupt
if an Israelite gathered more than his daily portion. Manna
could not be hoarded up for the days ahead. There is a danger
of the Christian's intellect outstripping his heart. Paul tells
us that "knowledge puffeth up but love buildeth up."
We should always remember that Christianity is more than a system
of doctrines. Christian theory must become a living reality—a
personal, practical, powerful force, revealing itself in all
the circumstances of life shedding its influence over the entire
character and imparting its love to every relationship which
one may be called of God to fill.
Numbers 11 we learn that Israel grew tired of the manna and
longed for the "fleshpots of Egypt." But they seemed
to have forgotten the lash of the taskmaster and the toil of
the brick kilns.
this longing for the world can happen to the Christian. When
"first love" declines when Christ ceases to be our
satisfying portion when the Word of God and prayer lose their
thrill and become heavy, dull and mechanical then the eye wanders
back to the world and the heart follows the eye. We forget,
at such moments, what the world was to us when we were in it
and of it. We forget what toil and slavery, what misery and
degradation we found in the service of sin and Satan and think
only of the gratification and ease, the freedom from those exercises,
conflicts and anxieties which attend the wilderness path of
allow the world to determine for them what they will do and
what they will be. They conform to the influences about them—they
can rise no higher because they have looked no higher. All too
often this is the only goal parents want for their children—just
a good job and financial well-being. In this pursuit countless
people are trampling upon others while they try to claw their
way to a "mythical" financial top. How much of the
human spirit is being trounced and how many are left wounded
and discouraged from the modern oppression of human competition!
Are you committed to never-ending toil, to uncomforted mourning,
to a meaningless succession of nights and days consumed with
just eating, drinking and breathing? Is this what you are seeking?
once asked one of the most searching of questions: "What
seek ye?" (John 1:38) Is it pleasure you are seeking, the
desire to be entertained, to have others take care of your mind,
to let them fill it with what they want—only to sense
inwardly you are shriveling in mind and heart? Most people would
not like to think this is true of themselves, but their actions
demonstrate this is indeed what they are seeking. But "What
those seeking faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,
and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness,
and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly
affection and brotherly affection with love, the place to find
it is in God and Christ Jesus His Son (II Peter 1:5-11). Here
is where our search will begin and end. If we seek these things
of God, we must do so with a fixed purpose and determination.
The world is not going to assist us here. We must feed on things
of the Spirit of God. Like the Israelites who gathered manna
(Exodus 16) every day to sustain them, so we must seek to feed
upon the Word of the Lord.
consistent devotion to God has characterized the outstanding
men and women of the Bible. Out of their devotion a rich life
of faith resulted and out of their faith, the result was evident
in their actions. Hebrews 11 presents the record of their faith.
offered a sacrifice "which pleased God." (Hebrews
had such great faith he could be said to "walk with God."
(Genesis 5:22; Hebrews 11:5)
faith ABRAHAM obeyed when he was called to go out to a place
which he was to receive an as inheritance; and he went out not
knowing where he was to go." Abraham believed God, which
is considerably different than believing in God. He believed
not only for himself, but his faith grew to the point where
he was willing to offer his own son in sacrifice at God's request.
God acknowledged his faith saying, "For now I know that
you fear [reverence] God." (Genesis 22:12)
refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing
rather to share ill-treatment with the people of God than to
enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered abuse suffered
for the Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for
he looked to the reward." Hebrews 11:26
list could go on telling of the devotion of these heroes of
faith Both their great and small acts of faith were embedded
in a daily walk with God, a daily fellowship with their God.
Christian must daily gather his "manna." Morning devotions
are a must for every Christian. To help you gather the "bread
from heaven" early each morning, we recommend the daily
devotional entitled, Daily Heavenly Manna. Of the numerous daily
devotionals available, many Christians have found this companion
to be the most complete and balanced diet for morning meditation.