Friday, December 20, 2013

It’s Raining Quails and Bread! God 2, Desert 0 -- Exodus 16:13-15

So it came about at evening that the quails came up and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp.  When the layer of dew evaporated, behold, on the surface of the wilderness there was a fine flake-like thing, fine as the hoarfrost on the ground.  When the sons of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?”  For they did not know what it was.  And Moses said to them, “It is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat.”
We may best remember this event in Exodus by thinking it was raining quails and bread, as God said He would “rain bread from heaven”.  And of course we quickly carry that concept over to the quails as well.  But in reality, reading the text carefully, we come to realize that the quails “came up” (not down) and the bread was in the form of dew, not rain.
According to R. Alan Cole and David Guzik who quotes him, the quails mentioned here "migrate regularly between south Europe and Arabia across the Sinai Peninsula. They are small, bullet-headed birds, with a strong but low flight, usually roosting on the ground or in the low bushes at nightfall. When exhausted, they would be unable to … take off again. The birds are good eating, and were a favorite delicacy of the Egyptians."
In their exhaustion, they are easy to catch, appearing tame.  Robert Jamieson adds, “They are found in certain seasons in the places through which the Israelites passed, being migratory birds, and they were probably brought to the camp by ‘a wind from the Lord’ as on another occasion (as we can see in Numbers 11:31).”
In the morning, the children of Israel found a lawyer of dew on the ground around the camp.  According to Wikipedia:
Dew is water in the form of droplets that appears on thin, exposed objects in the morning or evening due to condensation.  As the exposed surface cools by radiating its heat, atmospheric moisture condenses at a rate greater than that at which it can evaporate, resulting in the formation of water droplets.  When temperatures are low enough, dew takes the form of ice; this form is called frost (frost is, however, not frozen dew).  Because dew is related to the temperature of surfaces, in late summer it is formed most easily on surfaces which are not warmed by conducted heat from deep ground, such as grass, leaves, railings, car roofs, and bridges.
Water vapour will condense into droplets depending on the temperature. The temperature at which droplets can form is called the dew point. When surface temperature drops, eventually reaching the dew point, atmospheric water vapor condenses to form small droplets on the surface.
The Bible says that when these droplets evaporated, what was left on the ground was “fine flake-like thing”, fine as hoarfrost.  David Guzik suggests that because it was so fine, it was not easy to gather and thus had to be “swept” up from the ground.
Chuck Smith: Manna actually means, "What is it?" So they saw this little round seed-like thing on the ground, and they said, "What is it?" because they didn't know what it was.  Later in this same chapter (verse 31), this flake-like thing is described as being like a coriander seed (about the size of a sesame seed), and sweet like honey.
We must keep in mind that the purpose for giving the Israelites bread from heaven and quails was not just to keep them alive.  Its primary reason was as Guzik says, “to teach them eternal lessons of dependence on God.”  The situation also exemplifies God’s desire to cooperate with man.  Man could not provide the provision, and God would not gather it for them.  Both had to do their part.
When the Israelites saw the “flake-like thing” they did not know what it was.  So they remarked, “What is it?”  Again, according to Strong’s Lexicon, the translation of the Hebrew word for ‘what’ as in ‘what is it?’ is “man” or “manna”.  And thus this “flake-like thing” became known as ‘manna from heaven’.
Commentator Robert Jamieson indicates there is a “gum of the same name distilled in this desert region from the tamarisk, which is much prized by the natives, and preserved carefully by those who gather it. It is collected early in the morning, melts under the heat of the sun, and is congealed by the cold of night. In taste it is as sweet as honey, and has been supposed by distinguished travellers, from its whitish color, time, and place of its appearance, to be the manna on which the Israelites were fed: so that, according to the views of some, it was a production indigenous to the desert; according to others, there was a miracle, which consisted, however, only in the preternatural arrangements regarding its supply. But more recent and accurate examination has proved this gum of the tarfa-tree to be wanting in all the principal characteristics of the Scripture manna. It exudes only in small quantities, and not every year; it does not admit of being baked (Numbers 11:8) or boiled (Exodus 16:23).  Though it may be exhaled by the heat and afterwards fall with the dew, it is a medicine, not food--it is well known to the natives of the desert, while the Israelites were strangers to theirs; and in taste as well as in the appearance of double quantity on Friday, none on Sabbath, and in not breeding worms, it is essentially different from the manna furnished to the Israelites.”
On a recent trip the mountains of North Carolina while out on walk, we noticed some hoar-like structures on the ground – on the dirt road we were on and on the leaves by the side.  As soon as you touched it, it melted away but in its untouched state it looked beautiful.  Here is a picture of it.

So the Israelites asked, “What is it?”.   Often we do not believe that what God told us, He would do and that it actually came about.  Or, we do not recognize it for what it is.
So many times we seek our own way to feed our hunger and desires.  Yet God is willing to provide for us in miraculous ways – even in the desert.
So the Israelites asked, “What is it?”.   Often we do not believe that what God told us, He would do and that it actually came about.  Or, we do not recognize it for what it is.
So many times we seek our own way to feed our hunger and desires.  Yet God is willing to provide for us in miraculous ways – even in the desert.


_____________________________________________________________________

[Are you looking for a speaker at your church, your club, school, or organization? Ken is available to preach, teach, challenge, and/or motivate. Please contact us.]

Thanks for dropping by. Sign up to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends. Ken Godevenos, Church and Management Consultant, Accord Consulting.  And while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.  Ken.
________________________________________________________________________
 

Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Finally, if you like what you read here, you may want to donate to my favourite charity, SCA International, by clicking on the logo below. Ken.

No comments:

Post a Comment