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“In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, ‘If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.’
Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them to see whether they will follow my instructions..’
The LORD said to Moses, ‘I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites…in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.’
…in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread the LORD has given you to eat. This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Each one is to gather as much as he needs.’…The people of Israel called the bread manna [meaning, ‘What is it?’]” (From Exodus 16)
God daily provided manna, the bread from heaven, for the Israelites during the forty years of their desert wanderings (Exodus 16). This was a lesson the Lord taught his people about depending on him for their sustenance, both physically and spiritually.
“Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD…Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.” (Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 5)
About 1500 years later, Jesus proclaimed himself to be the true bread from heaven (John 6). Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:48-51)
As we trust in Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins, we symbolically partake of his flesh, the bread of heaven. If we eat of it (trust in his sacrifice to pay the punishment for our sins), then we will live forever. (See “Message“).
The Lord alone is our spiritual sustenance. No matter where we are in life (in a desert, an oasis, a mountaintop or a valley) and no matter what we are going through, the Lord is always our portion. “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:25-26).
The Lord’s presence is our portion that sustains us. If we have Jesus and nothing else, we have all that we need. He completely satisfies our deepest longings and satisfies all our needs. This is the secret to being content in any and every situation.
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13).