Israel provides complaining from their HEART
After their miraculous salvation at the Red Sea, Moses leads Israel into the desert toward Mt. Sinai (Ex. 3:18). When Israel departed Egypt they left behind their homes, gardens, and almost all other food and food preparation. As their journey started to the Promised Land, they realized they are totally dependent on God. As people can die of exposure quickly in the desert, God provided a massive cloud during the day for shade and a pillar of fire at night for light and warmth (Num. 14:14). After changing undrinkable water to sweet water for the people when they complained, they cry out for food next. It has only been one month since they left Egypt as slaves and despite the miracles they have seen, they provoke God with their lack of faith wondering why the He hadn’t killed them in Egypt rather than starving them. Instead of trusting God and thanking Moses, they grumble and slander (1 Cor. 10:10). Belief is a function of faith that catalyzes trust. Doubt is a function of disbelief that destroys confidence. Complaining is a heart issue and the litmus test of faith in God when challenged with difficulty.
God provides food from HEAVEN
Despite Israel’s miraculous freedom and blessings from God, they blame Moses and God for His inability to provide food. So, in the middle of the desert, God graciously gives them ‘manna’ (sounds like Heb. man hu meaning ‘What is it?’) as bread every morning with the dew and quail for meat at night. Manna was a small, round, thin, white substance that tasted like wafers with honey and described as the ‘bread of angels’ (Ps. 78:25). They were to gather enough for one day (2 quarts a person) and eat their fill, trusting God by not storing any. Instead, they disobeyed and horded the manna. Whatever they stored grew worms and whatever was left outside melted. Then, on day six (Friday) they were told to gather enough for two days because there would be no manna on the seventh—the Sabbath day of rest (Saturday). The manna they gathered to store then didn’t rot as an example of trusting in the word of God over physical food and His provision of daily bread (Deut. 8:3; Matt. 4:3, 4; John 6:31-35). However, many people tried to gather more and God’s anger burned against their pride and rebellion. The people of God should trust the character of God!