And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by everything that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live (Deuteronomy 8:3).
Welcome to Spiritual Manna. It is my hope and prayer that this devotional will encourage you in your faith, and be of value in your life.
Why “spiritual manna”? While Israel lived in the Wilderness, God fed them with manna (cf. Exodus 16). It fell like dew from the heavens, and it could be gathered up, cooked, and eaten as bread. Israel had no idea what it was, and thus called it “manna” (“what is it?”). Without it, Israel could not have survived the Wilderness.
As Moses reveals to Israel in Deuteronomy 8:5, God so fed them to teach them to rely upon Him. God provided the manna so that Israel would learn that man does not live by the bread that he gains by his toil alone (cf. Genesis 3:17-19): they can only survive by trusting in the LORD and His blessings.
So it was with the physical manna with which God fed Israel. Yet, as Jesus indicates in John 6:49, all of those who ate that manna died. He came to provide a better bread, as He explains in John 6:47-51:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth hath eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which cometh down out of heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down out of heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: yea and the bread which I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world.”
The manna that Israel ate is the physical copy of the spiritual reality in Jesus Christ. It came down from Heaven, as did Jesus. Israel ate of it and lived; we must spiritually partake of Jesus to live. God intended the physical manna to direct Israel to the mouth of God; we must subsist upon the Word of God, the Bread of Life, if we desire to live eternally.
Therefore, as recipients of the promise and inheritors of the Kingdom, we must partake of the “spiritual manna.” We must “digest” the Word of God, who became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:1, 14), that is, Jesus and His instruction. We must learn of Him and trust in Him as Israel was to trust God in the Wilderness.
This is the reason for “spiritual manna.” We hope, in this devotional, to help you better understand God’s will, especially the instructions of Jesus, and how to apply them to our lives. We hope to encourage you to greater trust and faithfulness to God, wholly leaning on Him.
As we persevere in the wilderness of our lives on earth, heading toward the Promised Land of rest that is set before us (cf. Hebrews 4:1-11; 12:1-2, 1 Peter 1:3-9), let us take strength by feasting on the Word of God, that we may never lose hold of life indeed!
Ethan R. Longhenry