“So it was that quails came up at evening and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay all around the camp. And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground. So when the children 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, “This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat.” Exodus 16:13-15
I’ve never really been hungry; at least not in the sense that I thought that I might die. There’s never been any danger of that. There’s always been some kind of food in the house or the ability to get it.
Israel, as they follow the cloud into the wilderness has run out of food. As they look around they see that there’s no food available, at least not enough to provide for the whole camp. Anticipating death by starvation they cry out their complaint to Moses.
Their complaint communicates two messages: the first is obvious, we’ve run out of food; the second is more subtle, Moses is the one leading us and not God.
In his answer to their food problem God endeavors to impress upon the people the reality that He is the one leading them. He answers them, through Moses and Aaron, “In the evening when I give you meat to eat you’ll know that I, the Lord, am leading you and when I give you bread in the morning you will know that I hear your complaint.”
Our focus text tells us that at evening the Lord blew an enormous flock of quail into camp and the people had as much as they could eat. In the morning, when they came out of their tents, they discovered a small round substance covering the ground. Bewildered they came to Moses and asked him, “What is it?” Which in Hebrew is the word, manna. And Moses answered them, “This is the bread from heaven that God promised he would give.
Through the quail and the manna God was trying to impress upon the people that he was leading them, that he heard their complaints, and that they could trust him to provide for their needs.
Trusting and relying on God is perhaps the most difficult thing that God has to teach us.
When it comes to our needs and wants we tend to forget all the ways that God has provided for us in the past and rush strait toward a critical complaining that is in fact the anticipatory blaming of God for the disaster we believe is about to destroy us.
I’m not sure Israel ever really got to the place where they responded to problems by remembering all the ways that God had already provided for them and thanking him for being able to trust him to see them through this need as well.
However, you and I can learn from their experience, and our own, and begin cultivating the habit of trusting God when difficulties and trials come.