Why The Manna?

Q. God provided manna to the Israelites until they entered the promised land through-out their 40 years journey in the desert but there are a few questions that cross my mind: First, the Israelites received the ceremonial law at Mt. Sinai for their worship and were instructed to use lambs, cows, pigeons, wheat, etc. for offerings. If they were in the desert and constantly on the move, how could they find those items for offerings? Second, sea cows are aquatic animals. how did they find sea cows for the Tabernacle covering from the desert? And third, since they had animals, olive oil, and wheat, why did they need manna?

A. According to Exodus 16:4 God said that He was going to give the Israelites manna to eat to test them. The animals they had came with them when they left Egypt, and the sea cows (porpoises) came from the Red Sea which was near by. Although we’re not specifically told this, they probably traded with neighboring people as well, and from tracking their route, it appears that they didn’t move as often as you might think.

Between the manna and the fact that neither their shoes nor their clothing ever wore out, God was showing them that He could provide all of their needs. When they complained of having no meat, He sent them quail. This made it possible for them to reserve the animals they didn’t use as sacrifices for breeding so they would always have an adequate supply.

I think the wilderness experience can serve as a model for the Church. In Matt. 6:25-34 the Lord promised those who seek His Kingdom and His righteousness that He will provide for all our needs.

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