Exodus 16* The Israelites come to the wilderness of Sin. They murmur forfood, God promises bread from heaven. (1-12) God sends quailsand manna. (13-21) Particulars respecting the manna. (22-31) Anomer of manna to be preserved. (32-36)1-12 The provisions of Israel, brought from Egypt, were spentby the middle of the second month, and they murmured. It is nonew thing for the greatest kindness to be basely represented asthe greatest injuries. They so far undervalue their deliverance,that they wished they had died in Egypt; and by the hand of theLord, that is, by the plagues which cut off the Egyptians. Wecannot suppose they had plenty in Egypt, nor could they feardying for want in the wilderness, while they had flocks andherds: none talk more absurdly than murmurers. When we begin tofret, we ought to consider, that God hears all our murmurings.God promises a speedy and constant supply. He tried whether theywould trust him, and rest satisfied with the bread of the day inits day. Thus he tried if they would serve him, and it appearedhow ungrateful they were. When God plagued the Egyptians, it wasto make them know he was their Lord; when he provided for theIsraelites, it was to make them know he was their God. 13-21 At evening the quails came up, and the people caught withease as many as they needed. The manna came down in dew. Theycalled it "Manna, Manhu," which means, "What is this?" "It is aportion; it is that which our God has allotted us, and we willtake it, and be thankful." It was pleasant food; it waswholesome food. The manna was rained from heaven; it appeared,when the dew was gone, as a small round thing, as small as thehoar frost, like coriander seed, in colour like pearls. Themanna fell only six days in the week, and in double quantity onthe sixth day; it bred worms and became offensive if kept morethan one day, excepting on the sabbath. The people had neverseen it before. It could be ground in a mill, or beaten in amortar, and was then made into cakes and baked. It continued theforty years the Israelites were in the wilderness, wherever theywent, and ceased when they arrived in Canaan. All this shows howdifferent it was from any thing found before, or found now. Theywere to gather the manna every morning. We are hereby taught, 1.To be prudent and diligent in providing food for ourselves andour households; with quietness working, and eating our ownbread, not the bread of idleness or deceit. God's bounty leavesroom for man's duty; it did so even when manna was rained; theymust not eat till they have gathered. 2. To be content withenough. Those that have most, have for themselves but food andraiment; those that have least, generally have these; so that hewho gathers much has nothing over, and he who gathers little hasno lack. There is not such a disproportion between one andanother in the enjoyment of the things of this life, as in themere possession of them. 3. To depend upon Providence: let themsleep quietly, though they have no bread in their tents, nor inall their camp, trusting that God, with the following day, wouldbring them in their daily bread. It was surer and safer in God'sstorehouse than their own, and would come thence sweeter andfresher. See here the folly of hoarding. The manna laid up bysome, who thought themselves wiser, and better managers, thantheir neighbours, and who would provide lest it should fail nextday, bred worms, and became good for nothing. That will prove tobe most wasted, which is covetously and distrustfully spared.Such riches are corrupted, #Jas 5:2,3|. The same wisdom, power,and goodness that brought food daily from above for theIsraelites in the wilderness, brings food yearly out of theearth in the constant course of nature, and gives us all thingsrichly to enjoy. 22-31 Here is mention of a seventh-day sabbath. It was known,not only before the giving of the law upon mount Sinai, butbefore the bringing of Israel out of Egypt, even from thebeginning, #Ge 2:3|. The setting apart one day in seven for holywork, and, in order to that, for holy rest, was ever since Godcreated man upon the earth, and is the most ancient of theDivine laws. Appointing them to rest on the seventh day, he tookcare that they should be no losers by it; and none ever will belosers by serving God. On that day they were to fetch in enoughfor two days, and to make it ready. This directs us to contrivefamily affairs, so that they may hinder us as little as possiblein the work of the sabbath. Works of necessity are to be done onthat day; but it is desirable to have as little as may be to do,that we may apply ourselves the more closely to prepare for thelife that is to come. When they kept manna against a command, itstank; when they kept it by a command, it was sweet and good;every thing is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. On theseventh day God did not send the manna, therefore they must notexpect it, nor go out to gather. This showed that it wasproduced by miracle. 32-36 God having provided manna to be his people's food in thewilderness, the remembrance of it was to be preserved. Eatenbread must not be forgotten. God's miracles and mercies are tobe had in remembrance. The word of God is the manna by which oursouls are nourished, #Mt 4:4|. The comforts of the Spirit arehidden manna, #Re 2:17|. These come from heaven, as the mannadid, and are the support and comfort of the Divine life in thesoul, while we are in the wilderness of this world. Christ inthe word is to be applied to the soul, and the means of graceare to be used. We must every one of us gather for ourselves,and gather in the morning of our days, the morning of ouropportunities; which if we let slip, it may be too late togather. The manna must not be hoarded up, but eaten; those whohave received Christ, must by faith live upon him, and notreceive his grace in vain. There was manna enough for all,enough for each, and none had too much; so in Christ there isenough, but not more than we need. But those who ate manna,hungered again, died at last, and with many of them God was notwell pleased; whereas they that feed on Christ by faith, shallnever hunger, and shall die no more, and with them God will befor ever well pleased. Let us seek earnestly for the grace ofthe Holy Spirit, to turn all our knowledge of the doctrine ofChrist crucified, into the spiritual nourishment of our souls byfaith and love.
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