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Advent 2015: Born Is The King: Day 13

Jesus Is The True & Better Manna

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Today's Text: Exodus 16:1-36, Matthew 4:1-4, John 6:22-40, John 6:57-58

Text: Exodus 16:1-36, Matthew 4:1-4, John 6:22-40, 57-58

They did not remember His power shown on the day He redeemed them from the foe, when He performed His miraculous signs in Egypt and His wonders in the region of Zoan…
-Psalm 78:42-43

They didn’t remember. All the plagues and the signs and the miracles, the pushing back of the Red Sea and the crushing of their Egyptian enemies—here in the desert and in the face of great physical hunger, they’d forgotten it all.

The Israelites had grown hungry and weary after two months of desert living. So much so, they questioned their freedom altogether. Were we brought out here just to die? Maybe that whole slavery thing wasn’t as bad as we remember it? (Exodus 16:3, my paraphrase).

But God didn’t intend for their time in the desert to be a death march. He’d rescued the Israelites from captivity to restore them to Himself. He drew them out from under the yoke of oppression to draw them back into relationship with Him, knowing that only in His presence would they ever experience true freedom.

Not that they had any idea what to do with that freedom. They were now free to know and worship the one true God, but that didn’t mean they knew how (Ezekiel 20:7-8). In the meantime, did I mention they were hungry?

And God was ready to provide! He said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you” (v. 4). But He was going to provide His way:

“The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. This way I will test them to see whether or not they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on the other days” (v. 4-5).

The Israelites had a need, and their desire to have it met wasn’t a bad thing. The problem was they were still living like slaves. With heads down and eyes trained to the ground, they set out to scavenge for food, hoarding it like orphans who had no idea when they would eat again.

God the Father wanted to provide for His children, but He also wanted them to know their Provider. He desired to commune with them, to have a meal with them, every day, and to teach them to trust Him. All the Israelites really wanted was the food.

There’s a similar scene in John 6, the day after Jesus feeds the 5,000. The crowd comes to find Him and, of course, He knows exactly why. “You are seeking me,” He says to them, “not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves” (John 6:26-27).

This crowd had just witnessed and experienced miracles. They had a need and Jesus had met it. Who wouldn’t want more of that? But now they wanted to make that manna rain again and on their own terms. They were so busy looking for the miracle, they forgot to stop and take notice of the One who’d performed it.

I can almost hear the longing in Jesus’ voice when He asks them to consider ALL of what He came to give us:

“I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in Me will ever be thirsty again.”
- John 6:35

Jesus is the bread of life, the true and better manna, rained down from heaven and in the flesh. He is God’s provision for a hungry and thirsty world. But we still forget all He’s done for us.

I wonder if Jesus thought of the Israelites and that crowd of 5000 when He chose these words at His last meal with the disciples: “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me” (Luke 22:19, NLT). I wonder if He thought of you and me, and how we would indeed struggle to remember, even when His faithfulness has never failed us.

Friends, we lack nothing in Christ Jesus. So let’s take and eat, taste and see. May we partake today, and know that Jesus will always be more than enough for all our tomorrows.

Thank you, Jesus, for Your perfect provision on the Cross. Please forgive us when we forget and please help us to remember. Teach us what it means to long for Your presence above all else and what it means to feast with You. Amen.

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Kara Gause is an editor for She Reads Truth and a freelance writer happily residing in the Deep South. She’s married to one swell fella and mother to a set of delightfully spirited twin girls. Sunsets and snow cones are near and dear to her heart, as is anything or anyone who reminds her of God’s goodness.

  • Marilyn

    Thank you, Kara.

  • Today’s word made my decision for me. I’m going to study John next. I’ve been wanting to study a Gospel deeply but couldn’t figure out which one.

  • Lindsey V

    I am SO thankful for this app! It makes bible study so easy and convenient! ESPECIALLY when I’m nursing my little one and i can’t open my actual bible. This app has given me the ability to be in the Word, instead of watching a show or reading an ebook. Awesome awesome awesome.

  • Haileyblackmer

    Thank you Lord for reminding me to be in your word ❤️

  • Samantha

    Beautifully written!
    It truly made me think about how often I do this very thing ….”looking for the miracle, they forgot to stop and take notice of the One who’d performed it”

  • Becca Bailey

    The term “bread of life” never really meant anything to me personally until now. Jesus is my sustenance. He provides much more than a one-time fix (like the people sought after he fed the thousands) – Jesus is the provider of life and grace every day. His work, though done at one time, provides continual sustaining power.

  • Gema Muniz

    Wow! So many teachings this morning, how great would it be if we sat down to feast with God every day. Remember that God is enough and will always be. We are so quick to focuse on our circumstances that we forget that we have an allmighty God that will always provide and will always see us through no matter how difficult our circumstances are. Sisters today I pray for me and for all of us to not forget the miracles God has done in our lifes. May we not be like the Israelites which easily forget the miracles God did for them, may we not seek God only for our physical needs but most importantly seek him for our spirutual needs. May we seek for that spiritual bread that only he can fill. God bless you all in this beautiful day.

  • I love how so many of us are connecting with being guilty of looking to Jesus for his provisions versus who He is and what He’s done. I’ve been there and have gone back a few times. Right now I feel like the Israelites,
    Jesus it taking me to a place of freedom and as I am following Him, I am holding onto my faith in Him for what is to come. But He’s showing me my focus should just be on Him. That in order to be fulfilled I just need to abide in Him. I am so thankful for this study, because it is pushing me to look to Him each and every day as my bread of life and to remember and not forget all He has done and why He is so worthy. Please keep me in your prayers! I am praying for each and everyone of you that you receive what God has for you during this time, and have a deeper fellowship with Him!

    • Amy Gaines

      Jena, I love this: “in order to be fulfilled I just need to abide in Him.” Such truth!

  • Jenni Moondust

    What a strong Word! Thank u Christ! For reminding us to not follow you because of the physical things we need n want but because of the joy in the love of YOU… Thank u Jesus

  • Lauren M.

    Such a sweet reminder :-)
    Especially when we think of the provisions we’d like to see and completely forget the provision He’s given us in Himself.

  • Grateful for this. Jesus is my bread! And will be tomorrow. And the tomorrow after that. And the tomorrow after that. Praise be to God.

  • Jesus, please forgive my selfishness, my worldlines, my tendency to worry and doubt, for you are more than enough for me. You alone are my provision. Amen

  • Wow. What a good reminder for us…that in those desert seasons: in the waiting, the wandering, the floundering…that we are not just waiting for God to show up and do something. Perhaps He has us there for something as simple and beautiful as wanting to spend time with us. Perhaps he is carving out a space to draw us back in. Father, forgive me for how often I am focused on the work of your hands rather than seeking your face.

    • Diane

      Beautifully spoken- to focus on His face rather than the work of His hands. Amen!

    • Ahlaischa

      This is so good sister! It ministers to my heart and convicts me! I’m in a desert season right now, can’t seem to find a job, and I’m guilty of focusing on the next thing God will do, instead of Him wanting to meet with me right where I am

      • Amy Gaines

        Ahlaischa, prayers for you in this dessert season. While reading through the scripture for today, I noted how God literally showed up for the Israelites in the wilderness (Gen 16:10). I pray that He show himself to you in a very tangible way as you walk through these days.

    • Monica

      Seeking God’s face and all he has done for us. Amen.

  • I’m really surprised that with today’s post and the “true and better Passover lamb” post nobody has mentioned anything about the Eucharist? Just as the Israelites were commanded to keep the Passover feast, so we too are commanded to keep the Eucharistic feast. Just a curious observation!

    • Kimberly

      Absolutely! We are sensory beings, and I have always considered the Eucharist a tangible way to experience and understand the Awesomeness of Christ and the Holy Spirit.

  • This speaks to me so directly. I am guilty of being an Israelite, always wanting more of a good thing and never being satisfied. I always forget what brought that good thing to me in the first place. I rarely appreciate or even recognize how well fed I am just by knowing Jesus. Lord, please let this be a constant reminder for me that You are always plenty!

    • She Reads Truth

      Jessie, so grateful for your thoughts! Thanks for sharing your heart with us today.

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • “For my Fathers’ will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (John 6:40) Sisters, my prayer today is that we fix our eyes on “Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:2-3) For I am feeling lately how easy it is to look at something besides Jesus. I look at my schedule, abilities, friends, appearance, and so many other things, but I need to train my spiritual eyes to zoom in on Jesus, and I must keep my heart leaning towards His sufficiency that I may not tire from the troubles of life and start to forget that God gave me such a beautiful life to live.

    Join with my in putting our eyes on Christ!

  • “Teach us what it means to long for Your presence above all else…”

    God has recently revealed to me that He is the Lover of my soul. What a powerful, life altering realization it has been! He is simply so amazing. He has brought me into the wilderness and is speaking tenderly to me (Hosea 2). He is showing me how He loves me. But I find myself struggling. How do I show Him that I love Him too? It’s a new concept for me to ask Jesus to show me Himself and how to pursue Him. I love that part of the prayer above “teach us what it means to long for Your presence above all else…”.

    Thank you for ministering to my heart today, sisters.

  • dulciMer

    Lord, I desire to know You, my Provider even more than I desire Your provision. Please help me to crave you more and more than the things of the flesh. Thank you for giving us ALL in your Son Jesus! Fill me with him and may I never ever forget your faithfulness…

  • Caroline @ In Due Time

    Thank you Lord that you fill every hungry and thirsty need we have. Thank you that you bring fruit to every barren area. Thank you that you desire for us to have an ABUNDANT life! Thank you that you are the true and better Manna! http://www.in-due-time.com

  • “Man shall not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” <3

  • Caroline @ In Due Time

    Thank you Lord that you fill every hungry and thirsty need we have. Thank you that you bring fruit to every barren area. Thank you that you desire for us to have an ABUNDANT life! Thank you that you are the true and better Manna!

  • Chevaleresse

    I have loved this series. I grew up in the church, drew away from the word and lost my way these past few years although I have never forgotten my Lord and all He has done, but in the past month He has seen to bless me, to give me a new start, and in so doing draw me back and closer to Him. In reading this series, I rejoice and excite in all the new revelations and correlations – indeed it seems I am starting anew in my faith and what a wonderful way to start – the old foreshadowing the new. Everyday I find new reasons to Praise Jesus and Thank Him for all He has sacrificed and all He continues to do today. I am truly grateful and want to thank SRT for providing us with this daily Spiritual feeding.

    • DesirestoFollow

      We truly lack nothing and we truly are satisfied when we are walking with our eyes and our hearts focused on Jesus.

    • Amy Gaines

      Chevaleresse (what a pretty name!), I am so glad you posted this. I’ve walked a similar path and am finding similar revelations – just glad to know I am not the only one becoming reacquainted with the Lord. Merry Christmas!

  • SarahMay

    I’ve often found myself longing for “the good old days” this past year (I moved thousands of miles for a new job/opportunity that has been GOOD but an incredible challenge and very hard some days). The Lord has provided amazingly here–but I still long for what used to be. This was a huge lesson to me to walk with Jesus in this moment, with the manna He’s provided for this day, this season. May my heart find contentment in Him alone, not in what I miss or think would satisfy. His ways are higher.
    Isaiah 55:9: “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

    • Hannah

      Thank you for his verse. I too want to be content in his provision for this season. We moved across the country recently as well.

  • “Teach us what it means to long for Your presence above all else” — and not to just crave the outcome of that presence, but to fully long for BEING with You father! I need to pray this every single day, as I do not long like I used to and I feel my heart pulling away. “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it — prone to leave the God I love…” God. May we long for your presence above all else, each and every day.

  • Some times I am in the dessert murmuring and complaining…think about my physical and earthly needs instead of partaking and enjoying what the Lord has given. Thank you for reminding me of the Greatest Gift!

  • Churchmouse

    The Bible study group I lead on Thursdays is a group of 20-somethings who are interested in God but not quite ready to commit. We talked yesterday about being thankful in all things. Using a page from SRT Psalms of Gratitude, I asked them to finish the sentence : ” I’m am thankful in the certainty of…. ” Most were stumped because they are unsure of so many things. What an opportunity to share the certainty of the Truth found in Jesus. They’re hungry. He’s the only satisfying Bread.

    • Kylee

      Wow Churchmouse that’s amazing! But true, so many people can’t list a single certainty in their lives, in an unstable economy and with broken families and hardships that come our way it’s difficult to know WHAT is for sure — but we know. We know the truth about who God is and we can share that with an uncertain world. How blessed that group of girls is to have you!

    • She Reads Truth

      Churchmouse, I love that you’re leading your girls in truth! What a joy and a great reminder of the surety of Christ. Grateful for you!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • I am thankful for this reminder. He is enough, always.

  • Reese34

    Amazing devotional! I am so blessed to be reminded of these truths. 25 years of ministry and how I have forgotten. I had become a momma bird bringing food to my young never digesting the food for my own nourishment. During this season of rest, I am feeling well feed. I walk with joy and confidence because of “who’s ” I am. I am praising God. Thank you for investing.

    • She Reads Truth

      Friend, thank you so much for sharing with us today. It IS easy to forget, isn’t it? Grateful for His steady provision. So glad you are here!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • Sarah_Joy

    “Friends, we lack nothing in Christ Jesus. So let’s take and eat, taste and see. May we partake today, and know that Jesus will always be more than enough for all our tomorrows.” -SRT

    In the past year I have had a whisper in my heart, “give your unneeded things away.” So many around me sell their extras, to friends and strangers. “Give your things away.” We have attempted to be faithful to that whisper, but I still sometimes hesitate. Just like the Israelites in the desert I wonder, “will He provide next time? If I give this away, will the worth it represents be replaced?” Oh, foolish child I am! The faithfulness of the Lord never ceases! We have not known a day of want for food, shelter or clothing. And as my dear husband reminds me, “it’s just stuff; you can’t take it with you.” So I release our babies’ things (and my hope for more kids) into the hands of my Provider. He sees me. He desires relationship with me – a relationship of trust and love. The generosity He calls us to pales in comparison with the extravagance of His outpouring of love.

    “Consider the kind of extravagant love the Father has lavished on us—He calls us children of God! It’s true; we are His beloved children.” I John 3:1 (VOICE)

    • Alyssa

      You’re so right! This world makes us want so much, to hold onto things. For several reasons over the last year I’ve been purging all these things and when I see beautiful clothes, decor, etc, need to remind myself that these things are oh so temporary. Bless you for giving to those in need ❤️

  • The feeding of the wandering Israelites and the 5,000 and the insatiable appetite unless the food is combined with communing with God… This is a FABULOUS lesson! Thank you.

  • Beverly

    27 Don’t work for the food that perishes but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal of approval on Him.” (John 6)

    For a few years I’ve been saying to my husband that I want to ‘come to the end of myself.’ That place where there is less of me and more of God working through me. And after these 3 years, moving 6000+ miles, and this current year of complete emptying out in so many areas of my life – I think I’m in that place.
    All that I have chased in the past and the things that I have used to define myself have finally proved to be hallow, empty, unworthy of my time & energy. My heart has changed. These old things and old ways are meaningless. I no longer desire them. My heart now longs for *true* value, meaning, purpose.
    This journey to the end of myself has been nothing like what I would have imagined. Rather than being moments of great clarity or a constant washing of perfect peace over my soul, it has been a time that is instead mostly hard & humbling. Yet I’m learning that the best things come after a refining time of challenge that produces a humbled heart.
    All this to say, that at the end of myself I am finding real life. I am finding Jesus. I’m seeing so clearly that the things of this world are nothing compared to knowing Him. He is becoming my bread of life in a more intimate way than ever before. In Him, I lack nothing as suddenly all that I have is more than enough. I am finding true contentment. A lasting contentment that can only be found in Him, in the life and sustenance that He graciously gives.
    It is through the hard and humbling that the Lord has perfectly sustained me. And as this journey continues, I want to remember each day that He gives me exactly what I need for each day – not too much or too little, but just the right amount. He is my bread of life.

    35 “I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in Me will ever be thirsty again. (John 6)

    • Heather (MNmomma)

      Amen! What a powerful journey!!!! It is a journey that I am on as well….love to you sister!

    • Amy Riker

      I can relate. The contentment I find through relationship with Him has been life changing. <3

    • Kylee

      “He must increase, I must decrease” came with no guarantee that we would love the process — but on your journey it sounds like you are exactly where God wants you to be! Praying to find peace on the journey myself, though letting go of all this “stuff” in my heart has been hard. Thank you for sharing, Beverly — what an encouragement!

    • Caryn516

      This is encouraging. My husband and I have recently stepped in to a new life of simplicity – purging unnecessary “stuff”, selling the house, moving to a slower-paced community…I am finding it challenging and a bit lonely. I spend a lot of time in prayer and thought – excited for what is ahead, knowing God has mapped it out – but like the Israelites, sometimes I forget His faithfulness and care.

    • Josie

      Hallelujah!

    • Alexis

      I can so relate to this; thank you for sharing!

  • “Jesus will always be enough for all of our tomorrows.” What a comfort. But how often do I not believe this truly in my heart, trying desperately to make preparations and not relying on His faithful love. I’m a senior in high school, and the whole college decision is starting to really press. I want to study in preparation to be a missionary, and so to do that, I want to go to a Bible college. But the one that I’ve fallen in love with is so, so expensive. I have a backup school that I don’t like as much, but is much cheaper because it offers much more scholarship. I know that God is teaching me to trust Him during this process, but so often I forget His faithfulness, just like the Israelites. If CIU is where God wants me, He will provide the funds. Now I just have to believe that.

    • Sarah_Joy

      Bri,
      Also you can trust that if God leads you to your “back up college” that He will give you plenty of training ground for mission work. I attended my “back up college,” and truthfully they were challenging years. However, it altered the trajectory of my life, and I met people I would not have met had I gone to my first choice. That one choice changed the lives of many people, and as hard as those years were I would not change what God did through them.

      “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your path straight.” Proverbs 3:5,6

    • Ansley Little

      I am kind of in the same season! I graduated high school last May and I am taking one college course right now. I’m trying to decide which college to go to next fall but it’s hard to find the right one. I’ve been praying for what to do. I think when you pray about a big decision, it is like the Israelites gathering the manna. God only gives you enough for that day, so we will learn to trust Him better. I get worried also about when He’s going to let me in on His plan! But then I have to realize, He’ll tell me when I need to know. I’ll be praying for you as you decide on a college and learn how to be a missionary!

    • Amanda Wilson

      completely agree with Sarah-Joy. After the heartbreak of not being able to attend my christian college of choice due to expense (also for missionary training) I am currently going to a community college which has been completely free to me. It is awesome to see how God is blessing and working in this path and the people He has brought into it. And you know what-after my trips to Haiti, I’ve learned that it doesnt matter if you even completely study the wrong thing in college. God will get you where you need to be and He is training you in your everyday life whether you see it or not. One of the missionaries I spent time with went to school for social work and is now saving children from malnutrition in Haiti. A completely different career, but God has supplied the knowledge and wisdom for her. So instead of relying on “the right school or education” , rely on God. He will lead you even if you can’t see the path clearly. I’m trusting him daily to lead me while never fully seeing ahead of me.

    • SarahMay

      I understand your struggle from a few years down the road with also a calling to full time overseas mission work. Stay surrendered to Jesus–this is His calling on your life. He will provide & He will guide–it may very well be incredibly different than you have in mind now. All He wants is your willing heart–He’ll take care of the details. Be strong and stay focused on Him! It’s a long journey but worth it!

    • Megan

      I’m a few days late, so you may not even see this, but I want to add my voice to the others. At your age, I asked God to remove the other options and press me into going where he wanted me, because I felt like I had too much pride wrapped up in the decision to discern anything clearly. I didn’t really expect God to do what I asked; that’s not his typical m.o. But he did! and I was so upset. (haha!) I remember being grumpy and rude all through my college orientation, because I did NOT want to be there. It was where God wanted me, though. It’s where I met my husband, and had many significant, life-shaping experiences. If you are seeking his will, you will wind up in the place you need to be, no matter how different it *may* look from what you imagined. :-) Praying for you today, friend.

  • Praying for all of you she’s this morning!

  • Heather Clement

    I love that the Bread of Life was born in Bethlehem – the “House of Bread”. God is so cool.

  • Missy CM

    My brother and sister-in law and their kids live in Switzerland. With new threats in Europe the topic of their safety came up in conversation with our family here yesterday. As tough as it may be to swallow, I brought up the fact that we know they´re ready to die if it really came to that. They have the Bread of Life, and while physical bread would keep them alive another day, the True and Better Manna will keep them alive forevermore.

    Reminds me of what Jim Elliot and his fellow missionaries to Ecuador in the 1950´s responded when asked why they didn´t take guns into the jungle with them for protection against the hostile tribes (that eventually killed them). They replied that they had Christ and were ready to die– those they were going to minister to simply weren´t ready– they didn´t have Christ.

    Maybe while I munch an extra cookie at holiday parties or with the kiddos I´ll reflect on how much better the Bread is than these bursts of calories that keep us on the move here in the world.

  • Nicole Zasowski

    Thank you for this thought-provoking commentary this morning Kara! I love thinking about the fact that being drawn into God’s presence is the only way to experience true freedom. Bless you for your words this morning!

  • I have never made the comparison between Jesus and manna before. We have a loving, patient, wonderful provider in our Father!

  • Linda J

    Jesus will always be more than enough for all my tomorrows. Wow! . The greatest gift – how can I ever forget? Like the Israelites I am more focused on today’s “needs” than the eternal picture. I accept the gifts and often forget to praise the giver. My prayer for today and 2016 will be to identify and thank God for at least one gift each day. I know I’ll never exhaust the list! Thank you for today’s lesson.

    • Megan

      “I accept the gifts but often forget to praise the giver” – yes! That is me. I think I need to place a note where I will always see it that reads, “Don’t accept the gifts but forget to praise the giver.” Thank you for articulating such an important thought.

  • I wonder what I am missing, what blessing and provisions, because I am to busy looking on the ground for “manna”. I am aware of the blessings that come from looking to Jesus. I am grateful for all he has done . Praying we all have our spiritual eyes opened to see what the Lord has for us today.

  • Today I saw myself in the children of Israel. It can be so easy to judge others and point fingers, but God showed me that I was just like them at heart. May God give me the grace to trust and seek him above all else. Thank you for this

    • Sarah York

      I saw something similar in regards to me and how I live sometimes too. I want to desire only God, but I get so distracted by my earthly needs.

      • Sarah York

        so distracted by my earthly needs that it takes away from my need for God, who provides for me everything I have.

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