What Is It?

“And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground.  When the people of Israel saw it, the said to one another, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was.  And Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.'”  Exodus 16:13-15

Did you know that the actual translation of the word manna is “what is it?”  After escaping from slavery the Israelites needed food, which God provided. However,  they weren’t too excited with what they got.  They longed for the familiar food of Egypt —

“Oh that we had meat to eat!  We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic.  But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”  Numbers 11:4-6

Aren’t we often the same?  God was not only providing for his children, He was teaching them to depend upon Him in a new and challenging situation.  Often when this happens in our own lives, we also long for the way things used to be, even if they weren’t so great.  Instead of being thankful for what we have and moving forward into the future God planned for us, we whine and try to backtrack.  I did this after I retired.  I didn’t really intend to retire at 62, but my work environment became increasingly stressful.  My husband encouraged me to go ahead and leave;  we would manage.  So I did and then set about finding another job!  After many applications and interviews, I got the job of my dreams — working in a library,  Guess what, almost right away I sensed this wasn’t what God had in mind for the rest of my life.  He wanted me to go off in a new direction, not be satisfied with a different version of the old.

So here I am, a blogger.  Who could have imagined it!  Like the Israelites, I could say, “What is this?”  Really, God?  This is so completely different from anything I ever tried before.  Yet it fills and nourishes me, day after day.  God knows best — we just have to try the food He’s given us, even when we’re not sure what it is.



Remembering the Wilderness

“And you shall remember all the way which 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 that mans lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”  Deuteronomy 8:2-3

Believe it or not, I wrote this post before the last ones from Beth Ann and Sarah.  God must be at work, be at work, because we’re all thinking along the same lines.  Here goes:

If you’re my age, and you look back over your life, you are bound to remember some wilderness days.  Times when nothing seemed to go right, times when you felt lost and alone;  times when that decision you made with such high hopes has led you to a place of despair;  times when your spouse, your children, your friends disappoint you.

In wilderness times, there’s always a temptation to turn away from God.  Like the Israelites, we groan and complain and long for “the good old days”  even if in our hearts we know those days weren’t perfect, either.  Still, the security of what we knew seems better than going forward into unknown places.

These verses tell us there is a purpose in those trying days.  God is humbling us in order to teach us to depend upon Him;  He cares for us when we are helpless and cannot fend for ourselves, and when we look back and remember, we see that He did sustain us. His Word and His promises kept us going, when we clung to them.

I think it’s interesting to know that the literal meaning of manna is “what is this?”  Sometimes during those difficult times, we’re “fed” with nourishment we didn’t expect and don’t understand. We may not get what we want, but God makes sure we get just what we need.

How has God fed you in the wilderness?  Ladies and readers, I want to hear your stories.