Life Messages, vol. 1 (#1-41)by Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
After the Israelites left Egypt, they were sustained in the wilderness for forty years. As the Jews many years later told the Lord, “Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, as it is written, ‘He gave them bread out of heaven to eat’” (John 6:31; cf. Exo. 16:4, 15).
Manna was their only food day after day. Not surprisingly, they soon wearied of such a monotonous diet. Their thoughts went back to Egypt, and they complained to Moses: “We remember the fish which we used to eat in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic; but now our appetite has gone; there is nothing at all but this manna to look at” (Num. 11:5-6).
These varied foods that came out of the water or out of the soil of Egypt were enjoyed not only by the Israelites and the Egyptians. Even you may have wearied of a constant diet of messages week after week and turned to the foods that Egypt had to offer. Rather than hearing about Christ and the church in message after message, some have promoted more entertaining meetings. Guitar playing, special singing, joking, and emotional stirrings are like leeks, onions, and garlic from Egypt’s soil. You may have enjoyed those meetings, but you must admit that there was no manna.
Now we have come back to the manna. Do not think that Christ is boring! We must learn how to cook Him in appetizing ways.
“When the layer of dew lifted, there upon the surface of the wilderness were fine round flakes, fine as the frost on the earth” (Exo. 16:14). With Christ there is the freshness of the dew. He is also as refreshing as the frost. In warm climates we miss the refreshing air that comes with frost. Such is Christ to us.
Verse 31 says that the manna was “like coriander seed, white; and its taste was like wafers made with honey.” Numbers 11:7 adds, “Its appearance like the appearance of bdellium.” Appearance literally means “eye.” By eating Christ as the manna, you have eyes to see clearly. Consider how much light you have received since you came into the church and began receiving Christ as the manna. The eyes on the manna have given you a clear view. The bdellium mentioned here is a pearl of wood resin. It is transparent. If you have kept enjoying this manna, you have had a clear sky, with no opaqueness or blindness. But if you have found in the meetings a lack of direction, the aimlessness may have come from eating the onions, leeks, and garlic of Egypt; the effect of that diet is to blind you.
“The people went about and gathered it and ground it between two millstones or beat it in a mortar; then they boiled it in pots and made cakes of it; and its taste was like the taste of cakes baked in oil” (v. 8). There were different ways of preparing the manna. We all have to experience Christ and then learn to serve the saints delicious courses of Him. In this way we eat the rich supply of manna.
“The children of Israel ate the manna forty years, until they came to inhabitable land; they ate the manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan” (Exo. 16:35). Manna was the food with which God supplied His people throughout their wilderness wanderings.
You probably remember the occasion when, because of their complaining, God sent quails for them to eat. In response to their cry, “Who shall give us meat to eat?” (Num. 11:4), “a wind went forth from Jehovah and brought quails from the sea and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp, and about two cubits above the surface of the earth” (v. 31). The quails were eaten in rebellion and provoked God’s judgment: “While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the anger of Jehovah was kindled against the people, and Jehovah struck the people with a very severe plague” (v. 33).
This incident has reminded me of these recent years in the recovery. After hearing so much about the need to have Christ wrought into us, some turned away from that, claiming that it was too hard to listen to, and encouraged the young people to be themselves rather than be transformed. To replace the manna with quails from the sea is rebellion. God’s ordination is that we eat manna day after day.
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