Did you know brown rice can help protect you from high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries? Researchers in Japan found that a component in brown rice (but not white rice) works against a protein that contributes to these medical conditions. Brown rice is recommended as part of a healthy, nutritious diet.
We can only wonder about the nutrient qualities of manna, but they must have been positive, given that this heavenly bread sustained the Israelites for 40 years in the wilderness (v. 35)! God provided food and water for the Israelites, under Moses’ leadership and often in response to his prayers. As it often did, today’s episode began with their complaining. Their memories of slavery seem rather dramatic and inaccurate—it’s hard to believe they “sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted” (v. 3).
God’s provision was plentiful. He promised to “rain down bread from heaven” for the entire nation (v. 4). The manna would arrive daily. The people were to gather enough for just one day and double before the Sabbath. This was a test, which they initially failed.
God’s provision was therefore intended not only to meet their needs but to strengthen their faith, for His glory (vv. 7–8). He would show the people “that I am the LORD your God” (v. 11). In the Gospels, whenever Jesus talked about “bread” the Jews would automatically have thought of their history. When He said it was not Moses but God who provided “true bread from heaven,” they squirmed (John 6:32–33). When He said, “I am the bread of life,” they perked up their ears (John 6:35). When He claimed to be “the living bread that came down from heaven,” their jaws dropped in amazement (John 6:48–51).
>> How quickly we turn from thankfulness to complaining! Just one chapter after the Red Sea deliverance, the Israelites were grumbling again. Are we any better? How often do we come to God asking, “What have you done for me lately?”
Today we pause to remember the ways You have provided for us, often beyond our need. We know You will fulfill Your promises because You did it for Israel, and You have done it for us, time and time again.