Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.
Exodus 16:4 ESV
True to character, the people of God began to complain once they were safely away from the Egyptians that they were now going to starve. They even claimed that they would rather be slaves with food in Egypt than free and without food in the wilderness. It is difficult to imagine their circumstances from simply reading the narrative of Exodus. How could they watch God pour out His wrath through plagues upon Egypt and split the Red Sea, but still question whether God loves them or whether He will provide for them?
Nevertheless, God is merciful and gracious to them, and He shows them His grace by giving them food directly from heaven. The bread, called manna, rained down from heaven everyday upon the Israelites, yet God also used this moment for testing. He made the bread so that it would spoil after just one day. They would be in complete and total reliance upon God for food every day.
Jesus makes a direct reference to this account in John 6. The people surrounding Jesus continue asking for more miraculous providing of food, bringing up this story. However, Jesus responds by declaring that He is the bread of life which came from heaven. We must understand that Jesus fulfills a deeper need than the manna from heaven ever did. The direct provision of God in Exodus 16 only provided for the people’s physical needs while they were in the wilderness, but Jesus satisfies the deepest longing of our hungry souls. Jesus is the better bread, the better manna, the better provision of God.
So long as we live, we are within a wilderness of the soul. How will your soul last if you do not daily have Jesus? The answer is that we simply cannot survive without Jesus. Not even the greatest Christian will pass safely through the wilderness of this world without coming to Jesus daily for the sustenance that only He can provide.