I just learned today that the Hebrew meaning of manna is, “What is it?” I was driving as I heard this and it really struck me. Here were all of these people and they were complaining about not having food and then God promises that He will send bread for breakfast. They go to bed in eager anticipation, thinking of the feast they were about to have and what do they wake up to? The bread that God promised. Manna was their word, not His. “What is it?” Not only did God send “bread”, he sent it with conditions on how it was to be gathered and how it was to be eaten. Can you imagine going to bed in anticipation of a feast and walking out to this stuff laying on the ground? I would imagine there was maybe… disappointment? Maybe they felt betrayed? “What IS it?” …and this was their breakfast for the 40 years they were in exile.
I started thinking about that and how often we question God. How many times has He sent us blessings that sustain us and we have the audacity to question Him? Seriously. He has told us no sex outside of marriage. He has sent STDs, Aids, broken hearts, unplanned pregnancies and when we find out there are consequences for our actions, and we question, “What is this? I didn’t want this. I didn’t ask for this. I loved that man. I just wanted someone to hold me for a night. I thought he liked me. I wanted him to love me. He was hot…” The list goes on and on why women sleep with men without that wedding ring on her finger. “What is it?”
Sometimes I try to imagine God as He looks at us, loves us, knows what’s best for us as we look at our circumstances or our consequences in disbelief and then we look up and say, “What IS it?” Is it like a knife through His heart? It has to be. He loved us enough to leave the awesomeness of Heaven and live the life of a carpenter’s son. He loved us enough to die for us. And we still say, “What is it?” “Food” for thought, right?
“And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of The Lord appeared in the cloud. And The Lord said to Moses, “I have heard the murmurings of the people of Israel; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat flesh, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread; then you shall know that I am The Lord your God.'” In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning dew lay round about the camp. And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as hoarfrost on the ground. When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread which The Lord has given you to eat.” (Exodus 16:10-15)