Tag Archives: manna

A Rabbi’s Taste of Manna

One of the joys of writing for Resurrection Lutheran and others is that I learn from other blogs. Recently I discovered a blog from a Jewish rabbi in Pennsylvania who has great perspective on the story of manna in the wilderness.

One of the recurring themes of the Exodus is complaining. The people whine about being thirsty, hungry, tired, scared, or because they want to go back to Egypt. No matter how much Moses reassures them, or how often they see God’s power displayed, they remain discouraged and depressed. This week, we see them rebel against the manna.

The manna, however, is really just the symptom. The Israelites aren’t dealing with the real issue and the underlying problem that permeates every other situation: They don’t want to be there! They would prefer slavery to independence, because it means they don’t have to move, they don’t have to change, and they don’t have to try. How often don’t we see this happening today? People put up with an awful lot if it means they can avoid change.

Only once the Israelites take ownership of the Exodus, and feel a desire to conquer Canaan and become a nation, are they able to enter the Land. As long as we keep avoiding the real problem, we’re really just going around in circles. We have to face our fears and take on challenges head-on, otherwise we’ll keep chewing on the same bland manna for 40 long years.

How is God challenging you to change?  In what ways are you resisting?

Lord God, teach me again to trust in your grace and mercy to lead me into the changes you desire.

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Grumbles and Grains

Shortly after I turned 50 a friend sent me an article written by Garrison Keillor. It was titled:

Stop Complaining.

When you hit 50, you have to stop complaining about getting old, the strangeness of it, the fascination, the horror, etc., etc. That was okay in your 30s and 40s, but now that you’re old, it’s time to shut up on the subject. You shouldn’t complain about aging for the simple reason that nobody gives a hoot. If you were to pay people to care, they might care a little bit for an hour or two, but you didn’t and they don’t. So learn to be cheerful about it. When people ask you how you are, tell them, “Absolutely great. Never better.” (from 50 Things to Do When You Turn 50) 

I thought about Garrison’s advice as I read parts of Exodus. The Israelites are set free from Egypt but they immediately start to complain and grumble. First they don’t have sufficient water to drink (Exodus 15:24). Then they don’t have enough food.

The whole company of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron there in the wilderness. The Israelites said, “Why didn’t God let us die in comfort in Egypt where we had lamb stew and all the bread we could eat? You’ve brought us out into this wilderness to starve us to death, the whole company of Israel!” (Exodus 16:2-3).

We humans seem to have this wonderful ability to compare our present situation to some “idealized past” and think we have some right to complain about it. The Israelites practiced selective memory, remembering the sufficient food of Egypt, while forgetting the suffering and hard labor they experience as slaves. So they grumbled to Moses.

Does a grumbling spirit ever take hold in your mind?

The Lord God was quick to answer. The Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you.” (Exodus 16:4). God provided manna for the Israelites throughout their 40 year journey in the wilderness. Manna was a temporary solution until they arrived in the promised land which flowed with milk and honey. It was also a test by which to see if they could give up their complaining and trust in God’s provision.

Have you learned to stop complaining and to trust in God’s blessing?

Lord Jesus, give us this day our daily bread.