The Israelites have just left Egypt, in route to Mount Sinai. And in a fashion that would become all too familiar, Israel began to complain. “It was better back in Egypt.” “I sure wish God would have just killed us back there.” “We at least had the meat pots and fresh bread.” And even as the people grumble for their old daily bread, God sets the stage, or better yet, sets the table for the display of His glory.
Moses and Aaron hear from the LORD, who had heard Israel’s grumbling — which was against Him, not Moses and Aaron. And God makes provision: His glory. God tells Moses and Aaron that "in the morning, you shall see the glory of the LORD" (Exodus 16:7). And what does the glory of the LORD look like? "Like a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground” (Exodus 16:14). It looked "like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey” (Exodus 16:31). The glory of the LORD appears in manna to fill the bellies of the grumbling Israelites.
With this Ancient Near Eastern Wonder Bread come some instructions. It will show up every day on the ground, but the people of God are only to collect enough for their family for one day. Then, when tomorrow comes, they were to do the same. Sufficient for the day is its own manna. This becomes a lesson to Israel in God’s provision. It’s not as if the seraphim bakery is having a hard time meeting quota, just barely churning out enough manna for 24 hour blocks. There’s no shortage of manna in heaven. There’s no need for seven years of frugality to prepare for seven years of famine. There are boundless resources, yet just enough provided for the day.
Now we jump ahead in the story, to this next Lord’s Day, when the glory of the LORD appears to us in the form of bread and a cup. It may be a small piece of bread. And it may be a small cup. But the loaf from which it comes is thick – infinitely thick. And the source from which the cup is filled is ever-brimming. So as we take and eat each week of this little piece of bread and little cup, we know that what we are being reminded of is sufficient grace. Grace that is sufficient for the week, for the day, and for the hour. Grace that gushes from a fountain that is ever full and ever flows.
Each week, when we move from the text of the Bible to the table of the Lord, we remember our Israelite heritage and the way in which God has yet again set the table for us. And just like Israel, when we gather together to worship the risen Christ, reminding ourselves of the gospel by taking the Lord’s Supper, we shall see the glory of the LORD – the glory that reminds us that a bunch of grumbling, selfish sinners have been lavishly provided for in the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. Surely this grace — this glory — over-abundant and entirely-sufficient, is better than those old meat pots.