Day 12

The Lord Provides in the Wilderness



Exodus 15:22-27, Exodus 16:1-36, Exodus 17:1-16, John 6:41-51, 1 Corinthians 10:1-5

Prior to becoming a pastor, I was a chef. You learn a lot about yourself and others when you prepare food for a living. For instance, you learn how unthankful and impatient people are when you are serving them. But this is not unique to the restaurant business. It’s part of our fallen human nature and seen clearly in Exodus, when God faithfully provided for His ungrateful people, raining down bread from heaven throughout their days of wilderness wandering.

Scripture tells us “the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled” about their situation to Moses and Aaron. After all God had done for them, leading them to freedom, they began to long for Egypt, believing it better to be a slave and well-fed than free and in the wilderness (Exodus 16:2-3).

Israel’s complaints in the wilderness were met with life-sustaining provision from their God. His grace is magnified in His provision for an undeserving people. Instead of allowing them to starve in the wilderness, God gave them this heavenly delicacy called manna for the entire time of their wilderness wandering (v. 35).

But God’s supernatural provision of manna did more than satisfy their hunger. Apparently, it was the best of bread, tasting like “wafers made with honey,” and unlike anything the Israelites had ever eaten before (v. 31). In fact, the Hebrew word manna literally means, “What is it?”—which was the question on the Israelites’ lips as they watched it fall from the sky. The only thing it could be compared to was “the food of angels” (Psalm 78:25, NLT).

God taught Israel about resting in Him and in His provision, through His supernatural preservation of the manna the day before the Sabbath (Exodus 16:21-26). The manna also served the spiritual purpose of teaching God’s people about the Christ to come; Jesus would be the “bread from heaven” for all those who came to believe in Him and trust Him for the provision of His sacrificial life, death, and resurrection (John 6:1-15).

After feeding thousands of people from just a few loaves of bread, Jesus departed from the crowd. He had no sooner left them than the people began to look for Him, hoping to be fed again (v. 24). When they found Him, Jesus told them, “Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life” (v. 27).

Just as the Israelites in the wilderness had asked “What is it?” when they first saw the manna, so the Israelites of Jesus’ day asked Him, “Who are you?” (John 8:25). Many will look to Christ for bread that perishes. But He is “the bread of life… the living bread that came down from heaven” to meet us in our sin and need (John 6:48, 51). By His grace, may we seek Him for the life-giving provision of His flesh and blood.

Written by Nick Batzig

Post Comments (3)

3 thoughts on "The Lord Provides in the Wilderness"

  1. Luke says:

    I always love seeing Jesus in the Hebrew Bible. I love it because it shows the continuing story of God, and how He planned the whole thing from creation to the church!

  2. Andrew Kwasigroh says:

    Wow…. how many times do I doubt God? He allowed me to go through the wilderness, he’s using it to teach me to trust him that he will provide. During those times of wilderness God is providing for us, we just have to neutral enough (not emotionally charged which will distract us from what he’s doing) to see the Lords hand in it all. He always provides, in his timing, right when we need it, he provides.

  3. Bill Wilson says:

    Not only is Jesus the eternal bread of life that came down from heaven for His people, He is also the Rock that was struck and provided water eternal to quench our thirst. In Jesus conversation with the woman at the well in John 4, He tells her to drink His water and she’ll never thirst again. Just like in the wilderness, Jesus had to be struck before this water was available to all. I never made that connection until recently, and the overwhelming number of fulfilled prophecy in the New Testament continue to amaze me.

    In the midst of my grumbling, in the midst of my rebellion, Jesus came down from Heaven as my bread and water. To give me His life, although I deserve only death in the wilderness. I am forever grateful for His sacrifice.

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