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Monday, October 24, 2016

Daily Devotion for March 22, 2013

<i>Miracle of the Manna</i>, by Jean-Baptiste de Champaigne, c. 1656
Miracle of the Manna, by Jean-Baptiste de Champaigne, c. 1656



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lessons and scripture

Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.


My Jesus I Love Thee by the Charity Homeschool Chorus in Ephrata, Pennsylvania. Pure sweetness.

Prayer for the Morning

You are ushering in another day, untouched and freshly new, So here I come to ask You God if You'll renew me too?

Forgive the many errors, that I made yesterday, And let me try again dear God, to walk closer in Thy way.

But Father, I am well aware, I can't make it on my own. So take my hand and hold it tight, for I can't walk alone.


Prayer of Thanks for This Life

O  God in heaven, I was born a weak, defenseless child, but your angel spread his wings over my cradle to defend me. From birth until now your love has illumined my path and has wondrously guided me towards the light of eternity; from birth until now the generous gifts of your providence have been marvelously showered upon me. I give you thanks for every step of my life's journey, together with all who have come to know you, who call upon your name. All glory be to you, O God, from age to age,



Finally, let me go forth in thanks for the victory I have been given through our Lord Jesus Christ. May I be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, and always remembering that in the Lord our labor is not in vain.


(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.

This is an Italian imitation of a substance, called "manna", found in the roots of mountain oaks in rare spots in the middle east. (The Italians take it from the sap of a type of ash tree.) It is a sweet gum resin that fits the description of manna in the Bible. The name is not an indication, since "mann" is Arabic for "gift" and probably is taken from the Book of Exodus, rather than vice versa; nobody knows the actual origin of the word.

Proverbs 21:2 (NKJV)

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs the hearts.

Blue Latin Cross

Exodus 16:31-36 (ESV)

Bread from Heaven [4]

Now the house of Israel called its name manna. It was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.

Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Let an omer [half a gallon] of it be kept throughout your generations, so that they may see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.’” And Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar, and put an omer of manna in it, and place it before the Lord to be kept throughout your generations.” As the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the testimony to be kept.

The people of Israel ate the manna forty years, till they came to a habitable land. They ate the manna till they came to the border of the land of Canaan.

Notes on the Scripture

Refining sugar had not yet been invented, nor was sugar cane known outside of India at this time, so the only way to sweeten food known to the Egyptians/Hebrews was either to cut up dried fruit or to use honey. Honey, which is much sweeter than dried fruit, was fairly rare and a bit of a luxury.

coriander seeds, manna
Coriander seeds

The manna itself was akin to unleavened bread. Coriander seed is a light beige to yellowish beige; there is nothing to indicate that the manna resembled it except in color. So the Hebrews were eating flat sweetened wafers — they were, in short, living on cookies!

Later (in the Book of Numbers) we are told that manna was sometimes "ground, pounded like meal, boiled and made into cakes". Other references state that it looked like a gum resin and, when cooked, tasted like sweet cake baked with oil. (There is still a sweet-tasting gum collected from trees along the Iran-Iraq border — which Arabs call "mann" — that exactly fits the descriptions of manna in the Bible. See a photo at the bottom of the left column.)

At the end of today's Scripture, the timeline becomes jumbled. Unless there was something called a "testimony" that had been described in an earlier, now lost record of the exodus, the Testimony almost certainly refers to the two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, which do not yet exist. So adding some inferential details, Aaron gathered up a days' ration of manna in a stone vessel holding about two quarts and kept it until the Hebrews reached Mount Sinai, at which time the Ark of the Covenant would be built. He then placed it in the Ark, to be kept for all time.

The "flash forward" is bolstered by the following verses, which seem in the nature of a footnote. Exodus 16:35-36 looks forty years into the future. Moses might still have been alive and inserted this text himself, or it might have been done later to finish up the story of the manna.

endless knot

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