Exodus 16

* The Israelites come to the wilderness of Sin. They murmur for

food, God promises bread from heaven. (1-12) God sends quails

and manna. (13-21) Particulars respecting the manna. (22-31) An

omer of manna to be preserved. (32-36)

1-12 The provisions of Israel, brought from Egypt, were spent

by the middle of the second month, and they murmured. It is no

new thing for the greatest kindness to be basely represented as

the greatest injuries. They so far undervalue their deliverance,

that they wished they had died in Egypt; and by the hand of the

Lord, that is, by the plagues which cut off the Egyptians. We

cannot suppose they had plenty in Egypt, nor could they fear

dying for want in the wilderness, while they had flocks and

herds: none talk more absurdly than murmurers. When we begin to

fret, we ought to consider, that God hears all our murmurings.

God promises a speedy and constant supply. He tried whether they

would trust him, and rest satisfied with the bread of the day in

its day. Thus he tried if they would serve him, and it appeared

how ungrateful they were. When God plagued the Egyptians, it was

to make them know he was their Lord; when he provided for the

Israelites, it was to make them know he was their God.
13-21 At evening the quails came up, and the people caught with

ease as many as they needed. The manna came down in dew. They

called it "Manna, Manhu," which means, "What is this?" "It is a

portion; it is that which our God has allotted us, and we will

take it, and be thankful." It was pleasant food; it was

wholesome food. The manna was rained from heaven; it appeared,

when the dew was gone, as a small round thing, as small as the

hoar frost, like coriander seed, in colour like pearls. The

manna fell only six days in the week, and in double quantity on

the sixth day; it bred worms and became offensive if kept more

than one day, excepting on the sabbath. The people had never

seen it before. It could be ground in a mill, or beaten in a

mortar, and was then made into cakes and baked. It continued the

forty years the Israelites were in the wilderness, wherever they

went, and ceased when they arrived in Canaan. All this shows how

different it was from any thing found before, or found now. They

were to gather the manna every morning. We are hereby taught, 1.

To be prudent and diligent in providing food for ourselves and

our households; with quietness working, and eating our own

bread, not the bread of idleness or deceit. God's bounty leaves

room for man's duty; it did so even when manna was rained; they

must not eat till they have gathered. 2. To be content with

enough. Those that have most, have for themselves but food and

raiment; those that have least, generally have these; so that he

who gathers much has nothing over, and he who gathers little has

no lack. There is not such a disproportion between one and

another in the enjoyment of the things of this life, as in the

mere possession of them. 3. To depend upon Providence: let them

sleep quietly, though they have no bread in their tents, nor in

all their camp, trusting that God, with the following day, would

bring them in their daily bread. It was surer and safer in God's

storehouse than their own, and would come thence sweeter and

fresher. See here the folly of hoarding. The manna laid up by

some, who thought themselves wiser, and better managers, than

their neighbours, and who would provide lest it should fail next

day, bred worms, and became good for nothing. That will prove to

be 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 the

Israelites in the wilderness, brings food yearly out of the

earth in the constant course of nature, and gives us all things

richly 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, but

before the bringing of Israel out of Egypt, even from the

beginning, #Ge 2:3|. The setting apart one day in seven for holy

work, and, in order to that, for holy rest, was ever since God

created man upon the earth, and is the most ancient of the

Divine laws. Appointing them to rest on the seventh day, he took

care that they should be no losers by it; and none ever will be

losers by serving God. On that day they were to fetch in enough

for two days, and to make it ready. This directs us to contrive

family affairs, so that they may hinder us as little as possible

in the work of the sabbath. Works of necessity are to be done on

that 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 the

life that is to come. When they kept manna against a command, it

stank; when they kept it by a command, it was sweet and good;

every thing is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. On the

seventh day God did not send the manna, therefore they must not

expect it, nor go out to gather. This showed that it was

produced by miracle.
32-36 God having provided manna to be his people's food in the

wilderness, the remembrance of it was to be preserved. Eaten

bread must not be forgotten. God's miracles and mercies are to

be had in remembrance. The word of God is the manna by which our

souls are nourished, #Mt 4:4|. The comforts of the Spirit are

hidden manna, #Re 2:17|. These come from heaven, as the manna

did, and are the support and comfort of the Divine life in the

soul, while we are in the wilderness of this world. Christ in

the word is to be applied to the soul, and the means of grace

are to be used. We must every one of us gather for ourselves,

and gather in the morning of our days, the morning of our

opportunities; which if we let slip, it may be too late to

gather. The manna must not be hoarded up, but eaten; those who

have received Christ, must by faith live upon him, and not

receive his grace in vain. There was manna enough for all,

enough for each, and none had too much; so in Christ there is

enough, but not more than we need. But those who ate manna,

hungered again, died at last, and with many of them God was not

well pleased; whereas they that feed on Christ by faith, shall

never hunger, and shall die no more, and with them God will be

for ever well pleased. Let us seek earnestly for the grace of

the Holy Spirit, to turn all our knowledge of the doctrine of

Christ crucified, into the spiritual nourishment of our souls by

faith and love.
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