Written on December 12, 2014. By Shari Norvell
Day 11 – December 11
Today, within our story, we find the Israelites in a turbulent land between emancipation and the fulfillment of a promise. Truly, the turbulence in not in the land, but those who are journeying through it. In their wilderness, we find them restless, resistant and on the edge of rebellion.
When we enter the story, the people have a big problem. They are hungry. But their quandary is not really that they hunger, but that they don’t know what they truly hunger for.
They mumble and grumble and yet, Pappa comes. He sees their need and answers their questions even though they don’t know what those are. He opens a window of Heaven. Exodus 16 tells us that what comes forth is a flake like substance. Numbers tells of a dew that fell during the night.
Every day of the journey, this matter falls. God’s only request is that they gather only what they need, for He wants them to experience the truth that He is enough. His invitation is that they explore the many ways to utilize what falls, that they might see there is more to Him than what they have known thus far. His desire is that they would rest and so he gives them a double portion on Shabbat so they don’t even have to collect lightly laid provision and can experience the satisfaction of Him.
Manna is the most common word for this dew from heaven. It is often defined as “What is it?” In this context it expresses utter surprise. Oh, that it had been awe. But the Israelites were still fleeing for their lives, escaping over and over from the One who longed to be their safe place, their home.
Day by day, He provided. Daily revealing the more of who He was and wanted them to be. Daily he defined what manna was. The meaning of manna was, “necessary provision, special and a treasure.” Every morning, the Israelites woke up to a glorious treasure hunt. In the cool of the day, they gathered what was most precious to His heart. For within every fleck and flake, something was hidden for them. The root word for manna found in Strong’s #2928 is defined as ‘concealed.’ The manna wasn’t just meant to be collected but revealed as it dwelt inside them throughout each day. They were not partaking of something He gave, but of who He was.
Another root word for this daily delicacy is ‘manan’ and it means, “To allot or gift.” How desperately the One who freed them wanted them to be bound to His love.
The culture we are in the midst of uses the same roots (lamed, het, mem) for both bread and war. Woven together, this means “joined together”. The bread that fell from within Him was meant to join them to their purpose. The essence of warfare is not “to go into battle” It means to be joined together for the same purpose and gain passage to the place one is meant for.“ Daily He was releasing to them the provision to get to the place He promised. He really doesn’t leave anything out.
For the wilderness is not a place of war. But is where a war within us, is ignited. A war that love creates. The wilderness is a place of invitation that leads to a dance or a wrestling match. Either way, someone must lead. It is the place where we begin to tell the difference between the whip that tears the flesh and the voice that pierces our heart. It is a place to choose and become unrecognizable or to decide to let a stony heart become a memorial to "our way.” The wilderness teaches in a wild and wooly way, rest, though we may war to find it. Wilderness is unrelenting, unceasing and unnerving. It is love unbridled.
Matthew 6:11 (Give us this day our daily bread) invites us to gather manna daily, consume it and then rumble inside us until it reveals more of the One who gives it. And Revelation 2:17, wildy whispers a promise to come.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.