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Manna for future generations

August 16, 2023

Daily Scripture

Exodus 16:11-15, 31-33, Hebrews 9:3-5

Exodus 16

11 The LORD spoke to Moses, 12 “I’ve heard the complaints of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat. And in the morning you will have your fill of bread. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.’”
13 In the evening a flock of quail flew down and covered the camp. And in the morning there was a layer of dew all around the camp. 14 When the layer of dew lifted, there on the desert surface were thin flakes, as thin as frost on the ground. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What [Hebrew man (= What?); cf. Exodus 16:31] is it?” They didn’t know what it was. Moses said to them, “This is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat” ….

31 The Israelite people called it manna (“What is it?,” as in verse 15). It was like coriander seed, white, and tasted like honey wafers. 32 Moses said, “This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Let an omer of it be kept safe for future generations so that they can see the food that I used to feed you in the desert when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.’”
33 Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar, and put one full omer of manna in it. Then set it in the LORD’s presence, where it should be kept safe for future generations.”

Hebrews 9

3 There was a tent behind the second curtain called the holy of holies. 4 It had the gold altar for incense and the chest containing the covenant, which was covered with gold on all sides. In the chest there was a gold jar containing manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. 5 Above the chest there were magnificent winged creatures [Hebrew cherubim] casting their shadow over the seat of the chest, where sin is taken care of.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

If you’d been there when Indiana Jones found the Ark of the Covenant (not really—that was just a movie. No one has ever found that sacred gold-covered chest.), you’d likely have known it would hold the Ten Commandments (“stone tablets of the covenant”). You might not have expected a “gold jar containing manna” (miraculously preserved or all dried out?). Yet God showed a deep interest in “future generations” by telling Israel to keep that jar in their most sacred work of art.

  • We still sometimes call an unexpected positive development “manna from heaven,” alluding to how Israelite history said this food just appeared in the desert after God promised it. The name was a Hebrew pun. “Manna” echoed the phrase “man hu,” which meant “What is it?” (or even “What is this stuff?”). When has God sent you something you needed in a way that surprised, or even puzzled, you?
  • Surely no one would ever forget food appearing every day. Yet God told Moses to keep some manna as a reminder “for future generations.” Israel needed that reminder. In Numbers 11:4-15 we read that the Israelites whined so much about the manna that Moses asked God to take his life. How can you help “future generations” recall the good things God has done? (Spoiler: “things were better back in my day” rarely helps.) How can your church nurture future generations?

Lord God, thank you for the ways (often through your caring people) you have sent “manna” into my life. Help me effectively share those stories with future generations. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Jaime Kernaghan

Jaime Kernaghan

Jaime Kernaghan is the Small Group Specialist at Resurrection Leawood. She previously worked as Praise & Worship Coordinator with Resurrection Kids. Jaime has an undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas in Sociology, with a minor in Psychology, and an M.S. Degree from Friends University; she is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Jaime is passionate about her work in connecting people. Outside work she enjoys time with family, friends and her foster son, as well as her two dogs, and her cat-dog. Jaime loves yoga, reading, writing, hammocking and time at the lake. 

When I think of “manna” as referring to the things God has given to our lives, I think of His grace, mercy, love, sustenance and care. As we consider how we receive these things, it is primarily through others. This idea that the things we need most are provided by those around us, can encourage us to consider those who show up for us. Those who demonstrate God’s love, grace, and mercy in my life are often people who have a strong faith. As Megan DelGrosso shared in her sermon on Sunday, they are people who see us when they didn’t have to. They are those who pour into our lives by listening, teaching, and modeling their faith for us in ways we can receive and understand. 

When I consider how this has been displayed in my life, I think of my best friend since college. She has such a strong faith, a true ability to discern what God wants for her life, and what might be the best decision not only for herself, but for her family as well. She shows up fiercely for her people and as those who know her often say, she “loves big.” To be loved by her is to feel God’s presence in your life in a way that changes you for the better, that allows you to be vulnerable and trust that you are safe in her care. This, I believe, is the love God intends for each of us to experience. I am grateful it has been present in mine.

The legacy she will leave is one I hope to demonstrate myself through the way I show up, share my faith and allow future generations to experience. I think of my nieces and nephews, and the way I attempt to show up for them. I try to express and model my faith and be someone who is a constant in their lives. I pray this helps them to do the same for others. How do you show up for those in your life? How do you provide manna? May you move forward today in a way that inspires others, that stretches your faith and helps to engage our future generations and inspire them to show God’s love that spreads beyond our own community and out into the world. 

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.