Manna. We know what it is – bread from heaven. The symbol of Jesus. But was it quite as clear to those who partook of it in Moses’ day? Doesn’t seem so. In fact, in accordance to their actions, it appears they just didn’t get it.
“Manna” means, “What is it?” A single word explodes into a thousand questions, all of them worth pondering. Every question beckons an answer, an attempt to delve deeper into its make up. Most often it requires a conversation with other person(s), those with the power to communicate verbally. Science in itself ought eventually lead us into encounter with the Self Who created it.
We know the story. God gives the Israelites manna to eat in the desert. Eventually, they get sick of eating the same thing day after day after day. Spoiled brats! I mean, c’mon, God saves you from the hand of Pharaoh, from the bonds of Egypt, and you cry out for something other than what He’s given you? Say it isn’t so!
But what if that was His plan all along? What if the very element of manna was meant to provoke the question? What if God purposely gave them the same old food, day in and day out, for the sole, express purpose of provoking them to ask? Seriously. God created the human heart, the taste buds and how they are directly related to one another. So what was it all about?
Exactly! The whole point was to find out “What is it?” “What’s it for?” What does it mean?” “Why are we doing this?” I imagine God’s desire to answer them as such: “I’m glad you finally asked! Well, let Me tell you!” Ah! An opportunity to speak face to face with His beloved! Yet, at the very moment when they could have traded their dissatisfaction of a sign, of a symbol, in exchange for the True and Living Manna Himself; they grumbled instead. For what? …more food. And despite foreknowing what their heart’s cry would be, God’s shoulders sink, His heart the same; disheveled, as His chosen people, His beloved Bride, once again exchanges Her affections for earthly pleasures.
As God’s children, with certain exceptions, we have often not fared well in terms of desiring a direct encounter with God. Like the Israelites of ole, a great many have preferred to hear the voice of God through His servant Moses, Elijah List, the man or woman behind the pulpit. That’s not to say that these are all bad or that no good can come of them. They can give us direction – encouragement and so forth. They can indeed be helpful. However, they are not meant to be our sole source of supply. They are not meant to take the place of a direct communication with God Himself. Speak and listen. Listen and speak. Hear what God has to say from God Himself. Do so often.
When the Father spoke to Jesus in the midst of the those present to His baptism, “Some said it thundered”. I’ve heard saints remark upon that statement as if it were an acclamation. Certainly, it was not. The fact that they heard thunder instead of the very words God spoke, was the very pudding that revealed their heart’s posture – being as cold and hard as their forefathers who preferred to hear God’s voice from a source indirect. So, rather than hearing Him and heeding His words, they blamed mother nature, felt at peace, and left it at that.
Sometime later on, Pharisees approached Jesus, asking Him for a sign that they might believe. Jesus, knowing their hearts; having already done many miracles in their midst, tells them…“No! …Wait…Ok, I’ll give you one. Kill Me and I’ll rise again in three days (paraphrase)”. Time out! The very sign the Pharisees are asking for is actually standing right in front of them, the Bread from Heaven, and they ask for more? What gives? And you gotta love Jesus’ answer. He essentially says “You’ll know after you kill Me.”
“Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs…” Remember that song? “Blockin’ up the scenery, breakin’ my mind”? If 2012 didn’t give us a wake up call to interpretation gone bad, then we’d better brace ourselves, because 2013 is sure to. As the old saying goes, “If we didn’t learn the lessons from history, we are then sure to repeat them.” Again, it is true that God does give us signs. But again, they were meant to lead us into a conversation with Him for ourselves, not relying solely on the voice of others.
If I happen to see 5 birds sitting on a wire, do you know what that means to me? Absolutely nothing. It means that feathered, flighting mammals; of a number greater than four, and less than six, decided to take a break on a wire where they could not hampered with by cats. Now, my spiritual senses may awaken, and God may either prod me, or I may take the time and begin to talk to Him about it. He may say the same thing I was thinking when I had nothing, or He MAY say something about the number 5 POSSIBLY meaning “Grace”. However, the number 5 does not mean “grace” until God says it does, at the very moment He speaks. He may say that in this particular instance it means “5 YEARS”. He may even say something that surpasses the limited language that we as intercessors tend to box ourselves in with. It’s not a one time fits all scenario, where every time we see or hear the number 5, or of whichever symbol, that grace is to be applied. 5 does not mean grace unless God speaks a fresh word over it. Everything else is yesterday’s manna.
We could go on and on about how poorly we’ve done things in the past. That’s not the point. The point is that God is looking for us to desire Him far above any sign or symbol. That in a heart beat we would be the ones who bypass all indirect forms of communication with Him in order to receive a face to face encounter – to receive a now and living word, rather than a rotting formula for meaning. So how about a fresh word from the Bread of Life Himself? He’s already ready. All we need to do is ask…