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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Byers

Baked or Boiled?

In Exodus 14 and 15 we read of the parting of the Red Sea, the Israelites passing over to dry ground, and the death of Pharoah’s army. After, there came the songs of Miriam and Moses exalting the Lord, confidently declaring his might and reign. Then this happened—three days into the desert without finding water until Marah. At Marah, the Lord both bolstered them and tested them by declaring that if they kept his words none of the diseases of Egypt would be theirs.

But within a few weeks post-Egypt they began to complain about missing Egyptian food. God’s response was to send quail in super-abundance and an entirely new kind of food that tasted like wafers made with honey, “thin flakes like frost on the ground,” which they called manna (Ex. 16:14). This was to be the food they ate for the next 40 years, until they reached the border of the promised land.

God even indicated how much they should gather, an omer, about 6 pounds per person each morning. They were to only keep it for that day except the day before the Sabbath they were to gather double. As to this double portion, they were told: “So, bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning” (Ex. 16:23). In Numbers 11:1-9 we see them baking it into cakes.

What a story! One of the many interesting points to extract is this…when God offers heavenly provision for us he doesn’t always direct every particular. He was providing for their Sabbath rest, but he tells them they can prepare manna as they like – baked or boiled. They had to learn to handle this interesting new food, perhaps by sifting or grinding, perhaps by mixing with oil, and then cook it as they liked. So it is with us.

God delights to bring us our needs and our hearts’ desires, then we partner with him in the expression and fullness of them. He grants us freedom and creativity as we live out our lives with him, receiving his provision and collaborating with his grace and purposes. As we stay connected with the One who is our source, we can choose to “bake or boil” according to our desire, but either way, we display his glory.

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