Map source: JesusWalkBibleStudySeries
There is no Christianity without the miraculous – without the intervention of the divine in unexplainable ways in our lives and human society. There are countless such narratives of the miraculous in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. One such narrative of the miraculous is in Exodus Chapter 16 about the manna.
As you can see from the map accompanying this message, when Israel left Egypt, they traveled East from Goshen and crossed the Red Sea. To get to Canaan, they would have continued East then turn Northwards in the direction of Beersheba and Hebron (where Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, and all their other ancestors were buried). Instead of going in that northern direction to Canaan, God asked them to turn South and go to the Wilderness (desert) of Sin (Sinai).
God brought them to this desert, to be with them away from other nations; this was a camp for rest, learning, organization, and preparation for the promised land. However, the place had no food and the people complained bitterly in Exodus 16:3 (NLT) saying – ‘“If only the Lord had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.”’
God heard them and responded with manna in Exodus 16:4-5 (NLT): ‘Then the Lord said… I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they will gather food, and when they prepare it, there will be twice as much as usual.”
Each person was to gather about 1.5 kg (3.3 pounds) of manna everyday, and there were about 2 million of them, giving 3 million kg of manna; where 1000 kg makes 1 ton, they gathered at least 3000 tons of manna daily, 365 days a year for 40 years non-stop (see Exodus 16:35). The most powerful food trains today can carry 125 tons of food in each coach (or car), you will need 24 coaches each day to carry 3000 tons of manna.
Where did this quantity of food come from everyday for 40 years? Psalm 78:24-25 (NLT) says – “He [God] rained down manna for them to eat; he gave them bread from heaven. They ate the food of angels! God gave them all they could hold.” Manna does not fall for us today, but the God who provided that miracle food for Israel in a desert, still answers the prayers of the needy who earnestly seek him day after day.
Lord, we need miracles too, answer us in Jesus name, Amen!