A People Formed by Manna
I published a piece for Where Peter Is. Here’s an excerpt:
The Bible Project shared a podcast last year that focused on the story of the manna in the book of Exodus.
In chapter 16 of Exodus, God’s people are in the desert, just a few days out from crossing the Red Sea and witnessing the destruction of Pharaoh’s entire army. Yet, even after experiencing God’s power and care for them, they lost trust in God and complained that they didn’t have enough food. So God sent them manna, miracle bread. But this gift also came with a test.
God told his people to gather the amount that they needed for their family for just that day. Whether a family gathered a large amount or a small amount, miraculously, “when they measured it…those who gathered much had nothing over, and those who gathered little had no shortage” (vs. 18). As a part of this test, the people were instructed not to save any manna for the next day. However, “they did not listen to Moses; some left part of it until morning, and it became wormy and rotten” (vs. 20).
I heard someone say once that it was easier for God to take his people out of Egypt than it was for him to take Egypt out of his people. God was forming a kingdom of priests, a people who would be his intercessors to the rest of the world and through whom he would save all the nations. But these people had spent generations being formed by the world.
The Catechism teaches that humanity’s first sin had a particular form. The first man “let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God’s command.” Then it goes on to say that every sin since then has that same from, that is, “disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness” (CCC 397). In other words, not trusting in God’s goodness and power in my life is at the very core of sin itself.
So in this story, God is reshaping his people’s hearts. God’s test was supposed to teach his people to trust him, that no matter how much or how little a family gathered, they would have enough. God was trying to show his people that he would always provide for them. He put them into a situation where they had to trust in his goodness and providence on a daily basis. He put them in a situation where they could not grasp at control for themselves.
As Catholics, this story should remind us of a couple important things.
Read the rest here: