THE BREAD OF HEAVEN MUST BE GATHERED IN ACCORDANCE WITH GOD’S INSTRUCTIONS AND CONSUMED THAT DAY
The bread of heaven which God freely provided every day as a gracious gift for all the Israelites in the wilderness had to be gathered and consumed in accordance with His specific instructions. This bread represents the Word of God, and even more specifically, the person of Jesus Christ who identified Himself as the bread of heaven. It is provided for our sustenance and must be consumed on a daily basis. It is sufficient to fully satisfy our needs as we fully depend upon God on a daily basis.
I. (:16-18) INSTRUCTIONS REARDING SUFFICIENCY AND QUANTITY
A. (:16a) Sufficiency
“This is what the LORD has commanded,
‘Gather of it every man as much as he should eat;’”
Wiersbe: The manna only sustained their physical life in the wilderness, but God’s Son gives eternal life to the whole world. Just as the Jews had to stoop and pick up the manna, and then eat it, so sinners must humble themselves and receive Jesus Christ within.
B. (:16b) Quantity
1. On an Individual Basis
“you shall take an omer apiece”
Douglas Stuart: The omer was equal to about two quarts, just enough of relatively light, flaky food for a person per day, especially since sharing would occur in a household, allowing small children permission to eat less and larger adults to eat more as long as the average was an omer per person.
2. On a Household Basis
“according to the number of persons each of you has in his tent.”
David Guzik: The bread from heaven was to be gathered on an individual or a family basis. God did not command the creation of a tribal manna gathering and distribution center. Every household had to provide for itself, and a rich family could not hire a poor family to do their work for them.
C. (:17) Quantity
“And the sons of Israel did so, and some gathered much and some little.”
D. (:18) Sufficiency
“When they measured it with an omer, he who had gathered much had no excess and he who had gathered little had no lack;
every man gathered as much as he should eat.”
II. (:19-20) INSTRUCTIONS REGARDING LEFTOVERS
A. (:19) No Leftovers
“And Moses said to them, ‘Let no man leave any of it until morning.’”
B. (:20) No Exceptions
“But they did not listen to Moses,”
“and some left part of it until morning,”
“and it bred worms and became foul;”
“and Moses was angry with them.”
Douglas Stuart: With the incentive to keep manna overnight obviated by the putrid results, the people who had tried it may well have apologized and expressed contrition, enough so to convince Moses that they were repentant.
III. (:21) INSTRUCTIONS REGARDING TIMING AND SPOILAGE
“And they gathered it morning by morning,
every man as much as he should eat;”
Tim Chester: God doesn’t give grace today for tomorrow. Don’t worry how you would cope if .. . Don’t play scenarios. You are not given grace for ifs and maybes. You will be given grace for today. You will have the grace for the next day when it comes – and it will not come till tomorrow. Look not to your version of the jar of manna when you go to bed each night and tell yourself you have gained what you need – look instead to the providing God and tell him that you trust him to give you what you need.
“but when the sun grew hot, it would melt.”