The Manna and Quail (16:4-18)
Special Instructions Concerning the Manna (16:19-30)
Characteristics of the Manna (16:31)
31 And the house of Israel called its name Manna; and it was like coriander-seed, white; and the taste of it was like cake with honey. v.31 Characteristics of the Manna. The foods of Egypt were that which grew from or in the ground, while the manna was from heaven. The manna was small like coriander-seed, representing the humility of Christ. Seeds have life in them! We feed on what is alive, while the world feeds on death. It was white, representing the purity of Christ. It was sweet, representing the attractiveness of the Person of Christ to the divine nature. Compare the taste of the manna as God gave it with the taste when Israel tried to process or change it; “And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil” (Num. 11:8). If we try to change the manna so as to make Christ in His humiliation for palatable to the flesh, it will lose its blessed character. If we have been feeding on “the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic” of Egypt we will have no appetite for the sweet and refined taste of the manna (Num. 11:5). Some examples of the manna might be:
- His perfection as an obedient and dependent Man. The very fact that He became a man; “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” He came in lowliness, born in a manger. He, the Eternal Son of God, was subject to His earthly parents (Luke 2). His every thought and action was to satisfy the will of His God and Father. He came for the purpose of doing the will of God: He alone could say, “A body hast thou prepared me”, and “In the volume of the book it is written of me, Lo I come to do they will O God”, and “My meat it is to do the will of Him that sent me”, and “He wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as one who is taught.”
- His perfect lowliness and grace. He was the Creator of the universe, yet He had no place to lay His head. He had to say “Show me a penny”. He never looked for an exalted place. He took up the children in His arms. He sought the publicans and sinners, who were the outcast of the people. He reached out to Gentiles, as the “branch that reached over the wall”. “He bare our griefs and carried our sorrows”. He touched a leprous man. “They wondered at the gracious words that proceeded out of His mouth”.
- His quiet dignity. He went before the crowd in Pilate’s hall and carried Himself with the dignity of a King. The officers who were sent to take Him returned saying, “Never man spake like this man”.