Manna is the true “daily bread” in the Lord’s prayer. Christ was not speaking of wheat-bread, but of the “daily” gift of manna. It comes out day-by-day.
The Midrash also mentions the variety of flavour, saying:
“the manna descended with a taste varying according to the needs of individual Israelites. The young men, eating it as bread… the old, as wafers made with honey… to the babes, it tasted like the milk from their mothers’ breasts… to the sick, it was like fine flour mingled with honey.”
When we spend time in God’s word, the Bible, any given passage will speak something unique to each individual who is reading. It is a living book, written to speak to all humans in all ages of history. There is no “one” interpretation or meaning of any given passage, there can be numerous hidden patterns. Besides this, oftentimes God will speak through the part you are reading to a situation in your daily life, personalizing the manna experience of his word to each individual, just as the taste of manna varied to each Israelite depending on their individual need.
The fresh or soapy taste and white color of manna symbolizes the cleansing power of spending time with God’s word daily. Ephesians 5:26, “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,” The taste takes many people out of their comfort zone. We can see how some of the Israelites could get tired of eating a soapy-tasting wafer day after day every day of their life. There is an entire website and facebook group dedicated to people’s negative experiences with coriander. Sometimes we can think we are too busy for daily devotions, or might “catch up” later on. Manna has to be eaten day-by-day though, constancy in devotions is what matters, there is no “catching up” that replaces time spent with God each day.
What color is Bdellium? It is semi-transparent and golden - A hint of what is to come. The book of Revelation states that in heaven, the streets are made of glassy-transparent gold. Revelation 21:21, “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.”
Bdellium is often added to Myrrh, one of the gifts the wise men presented to Christ at his birth.
Coturnism is a disease caused by a person eating quail after the quail have feasted on poisonous plants such as Hemlock during their migration. The quail itself is not hurt by the poison, but it will be deadly to a human who eats the bird’s meat (Interestingly, the biblical word for “wormwood” is often translated as “hemlock.”)
Plenty of quail-hunters still acquire Coturnism today if they are not careful. This disease causes a breakdown of muscle tissue, known as Rhabdomyolysis. This will soon cause kidney failure, as the kidneys cannot keep up with filtering all of the broken-down muscle tissue in the bloodstream. This would explain the “leanness” as the muscle tissue is broken down.
Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?
Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people?”
27-31, “He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowls like as the sand of the sea: And he let it fall in the midst of their camp, round about their habitations. So they did eat, and were well filled: for he gave them their own desire; They were not estranged from their lust. But while their meat was yet in their mouths, The wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel.”
The Israelites most likely encountered the spring migration of quail near the Mediterranean, one of the bird’s major migration paths. The people were so lustful to wolf down the quails, the Bible says they did not even bother to chew. This is actually possible, as quail have very soft bones which are usually not removed before eating.
The Psalmist says the wrath of God “slew the 'fattest' of them.” This shows God was not trying to wipe everyone out, but rather, fit the degree of punishment to the degree of offense. The greediest gatherer would fare the worst by dining on the diseased fowl. Even in punishment God shows his nature of balance and justice.
The story of the provision of manna can be interpreted to our modern-day situation related to financial provision. The manna had a ‘wafer’ shape and its is described in two colors, Bdellium (gold) and Hoarfrost (silver-white). What else is gold and silver and wafer shaped? Coins. God promises to provide daily provision when we pray. We have the line from the Lord’s prayer: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Luke 6:11). Notice, the Lord’s prayer does not ask for the biggest house on the block, or “your best life now.” It is a prayer to be sustained day-by-day.
17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
Sometimes we want to be like the man who tore down his barns to build bigger to show off that we “have it made.” The money breeds worms though, when we take on the mindset of hoarding and greed, wanting an easy life where we have our own provision, and never have to depend on God.
Prayer for more money and finances is common. Yet, it can backfire.
The truth is, we have no right to pray lazy prayers for provision beyond food and shelter. What happens past this point? I heard the direct voice of God speak on this, saying “When a person asks me for money, I give them credit.”
It made sense, but blew my mind. Why would God do this? Well, God does not respect the lazy who just want to use him to get handouts. God does not respect this kind of lazy prayers for some kind of mysterious cheque to come in the mail or dollar bills to float down from the sky. Like the Israelites demanded the poisonous quail, sometimes we ask God for something without realizing it will harm us. It is easy to take provision for granted. According to one Midrash, some of the Israelites were becoming so lazy and indolent that they would lie asleep all day with their arms outstretched, only collecting whichever manna flakes happened to fall into their hands. It does not honor God when we take this path of laziness, surrendering the mandate to take authority and subdue the earth.
What if God made everyone a millionaire?
What would happen if God decided to have 1 million fall from the sky and appear in everyone's homes? It would definitely not help anyone. The prices of everything would skyrocket due to increased demand and cashflow creating price inflation. It would suddenly cost $5,000 to fill up your gas tank due to all the extra demand from so many people spending and competing for the limited petroleum resources. The same with all other prices. Store shelves would be empty due to all the shoppers, and prices would be astronomical. Your 1 million would suddenly be worthless in terms how much it could buy. Having money simply means having a demand on others resources. Wanting money alone means wanting to be a taker of the hard work of others without providing value of your own. The government can print its own money, but wisely limits itself to a very small amount each year. We have historic examples of hyperinflation, where a government wanted to supply “free money” into the economy. Prayer for God to give you money is actually only prayer for to cause currency inflation at others expense. As one person put it “God is not a counterfeiter.”
The writer in proverbs realized it would be foolish to pray for more money. He understood that this would only cause a lukewarmness and spiritual apathy. Today we live in the most wealthy society that has ever existed, with more access to resources than a prince in former times, yet we still complain about needing more. Why is this? The answer is: comparison to those around us. We feel ‘lacking’ if others have more or greater possessions. We think money is the answer, when it only causes us temporary happiness, which quickly returns to discontentment.
Praying for more money, God may answer your prayer, but as “credit to the full” which may turn out as more of a punishment than blessing. sometime. With short-sighted lust for the present, we miss the fiery serpent in the fine print. And no matter how good the interest rate, the debt will have to be paid back sometime. Instead of praying for money, pray for the capacity to benefit others and improve so you are capable of providing useful things to others. Pray for a strategy to create value which will result in sustainable wealth. As Christ taught: "It is more blessed to give than to receive." Speak positive and constructive, make a plan, make specific, detailed prayers God can respect, acknowledging you intend to put in the diligence and hard work for prosperity. Put your own effort and initiative into success. The Israelites did not want to war to enter the promised land after so many years in the wilderness. They were used to getting the manna handed out for free. It caused them to become lazy and complacent rather than fight for their inheritance. We should learn from this example and not make the same mistake.