The people had just crossed the Red Sea and were free from the oppression of Egypt. They were FREE! Hallelujah, and pass the…manna? Yes, the manna. Now keep in mind that the Lord God had just pulled off one of the most astounding events in history—he had rescued the Israelites from the hand of Egypt and had ensured that Pharaoh would not pursue them any longer. Their response?
“And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and the people of Israel said to them, “’Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.'” –Exodus 16:2-3.
Their stomaches began to ache and they became nostalgic for the ‘good ole days.’ I’ve heard nostalgia described as the ‘thief of the future.’ They would rather be back in Egypt with full stomaches than free in the wilderness. They would rather be under the oppression of Pharaoh than have the freedom to worship the only true God and to follow Him to the promised land.
So, what does God do? He provides quail in the evening and manna (a sort of bread) in the morning. Each day individuals are to gather only enough manna and quail for that day—a foreshadowing of “give us this day, our daily bread.” Of course some are greedy and gather more—only to find it rotten and full of worms the next day.
The point is this: they were to trust Him daily to meet their needs. Even so, some grumbled about the manna. I believe they wanted the equivalent of Publisher’s Clearing House appearing with a big fat check. They wanted the easy life. God had other plans. They would end up wandering 40 years before they got to the promised land and even when they arrived, they had to take it by force. Not the easy life.
I can relate to this in a very personal way. Being mostly unemployed for almost nine months, we have had to depend on Him to provide for us daily. On days when we want the ‘big fat check’ and the easy life, we have to remind ourselves: we are warm (or cool), have a roof, a bed and food to eat. He is supplying us with our daily needs. Now he has given me a part-time job that may lead to full-time and have a future. My response? Why isn’t the phone ringing with offers from colleges? Going back to what I’ve done for 26 years is the easy life. Starting at the entry level in a new profession is not. But, perhaps, this part-time job is manna from heaven and we’re on our way to the ‘promised land’—just not the route we would have chosen.