Monday, January 27, 2014

In Remembrance of God’s Delivery -- Exodus 16:31-36:


The house of Israel named it manna, and it was like coriander seed, white, and its taste was like wafers with honey. Then Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded, ‘Let an omerful of it be kept throughout your generations, that they may see the bread that I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.’” Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar and put an omerful of manna in it, and place it before the Lord to be kept throughout your generations.” As the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the Testimony, to be kept. The sons of Israel ate the manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate the manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan. (Now an omer is a tenth of an ephah.)
 
The Israelites named their daily provision sent by God from heaven for their physical nurturing “manna”.  The writer tells us it was white in color, like coriander seed in appearance, and tasted like wafers dabbed in honey.  Wikipedia gives us this picture of coriander fruits:
Only of course it was all white in color.
And God also made arrangements for the Israelites to remember His provision to them.  He told Moses that they were to keep an ‘omer’ of this manna forever.  He wanted it as an exhibit to those that came afterwards, so that this part of history – and especially the fact that it was God who delivered them from slavery in Egypt and fed them daily in the wilderness -- is always remembered.
To accomplish this, Moses told Aaron, his brother, to take a jar, and fill it with manna.  (In Hebrews 9:4 of the New Testament we are told it was a jar of gold.)  As Christians today we have the opportunity to have the “Bread of Heaven” of which this manna was only typical (John 6:32).  I pray we treasure this Bread of Life in the same way.
Aaron was to put one omerful of manna in the jar.  Strong’s Lexicon tells us an omer is a dry measure of 1/10 of an ephah (about 2 litres).  Strong also defines an ephah as a dry measure of quantity about 9 imperial gallons (which is 40 litres).  There seems to be some contradiction between the first definition of an omer (2 litres or 1/10 of an ephah) and this definition of an ephah (40, rather than 20 litres).  Rabbinical writings give sizes of one-half this amount to comply with the definition of an omer.  In any case, Aaron did just that and he placed the jar, the text says, before the Testimony.
Matthew Henry translates the word “Testimony” here as simply the ark.  And this seems indeed to support the meaning given to this account in Hebrews 9:4.
We note that this manna was provided for forty years right up until the Israelites came to the land of Canaan.  While God is outside time, and can do anything by just uttering the appropriate command, we as His children need to be mindful neither to be in a hurry nor to think He is being tardy.  Remember when Jesus’ friend Lazarus died, people felt Jesus was four days late going to see his body.  But our Lord was right on time for what He wanted to accomplish through that event.  Both He and us are in a relationship that takes time, as we know it, so that His full plan for us to become more like Him will be fulfilled.
One of the greatest downfalls of many a leader is haste, often manifested with just plain impatience.  God made the children of Israel wander in the desert for forty years.  But the good news is He was there and He fed them daily.
Are you in the desert today because God wants you to learn something or to develop a characteristic that will be useful for His glory in the rest of your life?  If so, make sure you get your daily dose of Manna.  Make sure you are aware that God is there with you and He is providing for you.  And then make sure to remember it years later when you have reached your Canaan.
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