WHEN THE MANNA CEASED -- Monday:
"Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year."
In faithfulness to His own word and nature, the Lord had brought Israel to the borders of the promised land. Twelve spies were sent into the land to see its manner and fruit, and had returned with a report. The land was everything God said it would be, flowing with "milk and honey." They even brought back a sample of the remarkable fruit growing there. But, alas, because of their unbelief, their eyes were drawn from the land itself, and its fruit, to the present inhabitants of the land. Ten of the twelve spies reported, "Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there." They also said the Amelakites were in the South, the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites in the mountains, and the Canaanites by the sea. To them, everything was hopeless.
Caleb, who believed God, quieted the people, challenging them with words of faith. "Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it" (Num 13:30). Caleb and Joshua made an effort to persuade the people God would give them the land, but they failed. The people grew so angry, they threatened to stone these two faithful men. At that point, the glory of the Lord appeared over the tabernacle, and God told Moses the people had so provoked Him, they would not be allowed to enter the promised land. According to Moses' request, the Lord did not slay the people then and there, but determined not a single one of those provoking Him would enter the land. It was at that time God cursed them to wander for forty years in the wilderness–one year for each of the forty days the spies searched out the promised land (Num 14:1-33). It was a tragic day in history.
From the day they left Egypt, and during their wilderness wanderings, the Lord provided miraculous bread from heaven. The people called it "manna," meaning "what is it?", for they "did not know what it was" (Ex 16:15). It was the provision of the Lord for the time when the people could neither sow nor reap. It was not intended to be a permanent arrangement, but a temporary provision.
In our Joshua text, the people finally arrived in the land of Canaan. All of those who did not believe God, "from twenty years old and upward" had died in the wilderness, according to the word of the Lord (Num 14:29; Josh 5:6). As the people camped in Gilgal, they kept the Passover "on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight on the plains of Jericho" (Josh 5:10). Then, for the first time in forty years, they did not eat manna, but "the produce of the land"–a crop they had not planted or cultivated. The KJV says they ate "the old corn of the land," referring to the stored grain that was deserted by the frightened inhabitants of the land. This was the fruit from the prior year, harvested and gathered into storage by others. It was a grand occasion, indeed.
The very next day, "the manna ceased," and the children of Israel did not have "manna any more." It says "the next day" because the manna actually fell at night, and was gathered in the morning (Ex 16:14). From that point on, they would eat the fruit of the land, earning it by the sweat of their face, as determined in the original curse (Gen 3:19). The miraculous supply of food continued as long as they needed it, but abruptly stopped when they did not.
Among other things, the cessation of the manna proved it was a supernatural gift. It started and ended at the decree of the almighty. The Israelites could not make it come, nor could they make it go. For forty years, every day but the Sabbath, the manna came at a precise time, and ceased at a precise time. But the very day the Israelites had food available to them, the miraculous supply stopped. To this day, manna has never again come from heaven as it did to Israel.
There is a great lesson to be learned here concerning the manner of the Kingdom. There are times when, of ourselves, we are utterly helpless, in every sense. They are the wildernesses, furnaces of fire, and lions' dens of life. During those times we are unable to gather food for our soul, but must receive something from heaven apart from human production. The Lord sustains us during such times in ways that cannot be explained. Such times, however, do not last forever. There does come a time when the children of God are brought to the storehouse. Then, they must gather for themselves, working out their own salvation with fear and trembling.
PRAYER POINT: Father, In the name of Jesus, I thank You for the freshness of the life-sustaining nourishment You give for the soul.
-- Monday:HE HAS INHERITED A MORE EXCELLENT NAME --