Tons of Grace in Ounces of Bread (Exodus 16)

Think of all that God gives you when you put a piece of bread in your mouth. He’s given you wheat. He’s given you a farmer, his health, and hours and hours of a season of sowing, growing, and harvest. He’s given you rain and sun. He’s given you a tractor with a plow and seed drill. He’s given you a combine to harvest it and trailers to transport it. He’s given you diesel, oil, grease and the refineries that produce them. He’s given you rubber, tires, and sleepy truck drivers. He’s given you factories with hundreds of laborers: factories to produce the farm equipment, factories to make the bread. He’s given you thousands of years of history, for, behind all of this are centuries of sweat and labor to invent, innovate, and refine. He’s given you a grocery store and stockers. He’s given you a job, life, and health to purchase and eat the bread. And we’ve only dealt with the wheat. We haven’t considered the salt, the water, the butter, the sugar, or the yeast. When you eat one bite, just one bite of bread, you are immeasurably wealthy and incomprehensibly blessed. There are tons of grace in ounces of bread. The only proper response to such lavish generosity is gratitude. Even when we are grateful, our gratitude never matches up to His generosity. Sadly, were often presumptuous. Worse yet, we grumble. And yet, the bread is still there.

God saves. Then, Israel grumbles. Yet, God is gracious. Still, Israel grumbles. Still, God is gracious.

When Israel eats this manna, think of all that God is giving them. This manna is epic. This lengthy account doesn’t begin to match their lengthy experience. “The people of Israel ate the manna forty years, till they came to a habitable land. They ate the manna till they came to the border of the land of Canaan (Exodus 16:35 ESV).”

Yet, the true magnitude of the mann isn’t found in it’s duration, nor it’s delicacy, but it’s meaning. Like the Supper, the true feast can only be had by faith. Manna was spiritually enriched and nutrient loaded.

Jesus feeds the five thousand in the wilderness. Later he tells the crowds that the bread and the manna both testify of Him, the true bread from heaven (John 6). How do they respond? With grumbling. The crowds leave. Many of His disciples leave. Jesus turns to the twelve and asks if they will leave also. Peter responds, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God (John 6:68–69 ESV).”

This was the test of the manna.

“And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” —Deuteronomy 8:2–3 (ESV)

Jesus is the Word of God. Jesus is the Bread of Life. The manna was epic. There were tons of grace in every ounce.

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