Friday, March 18, 2022

2022.03.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 16:31–36

Read Exodus 16:31–36

Questions from the Scripture text: Who came up with the name in Exodus 16:31? What did they call the bread? What did it look like? What did it taste like? Who speaks in Exodus 16:32? Who gave the command? What were they to do with some of the Manna? How long would they keep it? To do what with it? To whom does Moses speak in Exodus 16:33? What does he tell him to do with a pot? And where to put it? Did they obey the command (Exodus 16:34)? Where did they put it, in order to “lay it up before Yahweh”? What would the people actually see, when they “saw” it? Who ate the manna for how long (Exodus 16:35)? Until what event? Where did this happen? How much was in the pot (Exodus 16:36)?

In the language of the passage, the word (phrase in English) “to be kept” and the word “omer” serve as the core and refrain. 

“to be kept” is at the heart of each verse in the middle section: Exodus 16:32Exodus 16:33Exodus 16:34. Yahweh wanted a display of His generosity and grace to be quite literally at the heart of His presence among them (Exodus 16:33-34). 

He didn’t want them to forget, but rather to keep in memory, what kind of forgiving, gracious, loving, generous God He had made Himself unto and among His people. Even the description of the name and appearance and taste in Exodus 16:31 “keep alive” the sound and sight and flavor of that generosity, even after the Manna would cease (Exodus 16:35).  

The other word that shapes this passage is, perhaps surprisingly, “omer.” This word features prominently in Exodus 16:32Exodus 16:33, and Exodus 16:36. In fact, the Hebrew of the command in Exodus 16:32 literally begins with the noun phrase, “the fullness of an omer” rather than the verb “fill.” 

But that “fullness of an omer” hearkens back to the “eating to the full” (different word, same idea) that they claimed to have had in Egypt in Exodus 16:3 but that the Lord had actually promised them in Exodus 16:8, and then proceeded to give them every single day throughout the wilderness years (Exodus 16:35)—including double on “Sabbath eve” since Sabbath was a better gift even than food from heaven. 

So there is generosity here, but there is also individual/personal mercy here. The amount that God chose to have kept was the personal, individual allotment for an Israelite per day. They would have been more familiar with the ephah (4.84 gallons), but Yahweh directs them to keep the amount that reminds them that He was individually merciful and generous to every single one of them, every single day.

He wants us to do the same. He teaches us to pray, “give us this day our daily bread,” reminding us that He measures out to us daily, generously exactly what we need—just like He had done for Israel in the wilderness. And when He brings us to that apostolic breaking of the bread at the Lord’s table, He emphasizes to us our individual portions… commanding us to wait for one another to eat together the portions that were broken out for us, and to drink together the portions that were poured out for us. 

Bless God that His individually generous mercy extends to giving us Christ as the true bread from heaven Whose body is true food and Whose blood is true drink!

What sorts of individual mercy has the Lord shown you? When/how do you remember that (in addition to and including what’s mentioned above)?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we praise You, Who have given us exactly what we needed, every single day of our lives. And most of all we praise You for giving us what we needed the most—Your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Forgive us for moments and seasons of ingratitude against this great generosity of Yours, and keep giving us of Jesus by Your Spirit until You have formed in us perfectly grateful hearts, we ask in Jesus’s Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP23B “The LORD’s My Shepherd” or TPH551 “We Plow the Fields”

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