Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the previous message we pointed out that manna came from heaven (16:4), that it came with the dew (16:13b-14; Num. 11:9), and that it came in the morning (16:13b, 21). In this message we shall consider a number of other characteristics of manna.
Contrary to the human concept, manna was something small (16:14b). People usually appreciate something that is great, and we often praise the Lord for His greatness. However, where can you find hymns of praise for the smallness of Christ? We have looked through many hymnals, but have not found any hymns on Christ’s smallness.
Building materials may be very large, but food must be small enough to fit into our mouth. The food taken in by us must be small enough to eat. If we want to eat a large piece of meat, we need to first cut it into small pieces.
Throughout the centuries, few of those who believe in the Lord have had an adequate appreciation of the preciousness of the Lord’s smallness. Many regard the four Gospels as the record of the life of a great person. Actually the Gospels do not emphasize Christ’s greatness. Yes, the Lord Jesus was a descendant of David, a descendant of a royal family. However, He was born in a manger, and He was raised in the home of a carpenter in a small, despised town. This indicates that the Lord did not make a display of His greatness. On the contrary, He preferred to be small in the eyes of man.
According to John 6, the crowd wanted to enthrone the Lord Jesus as a king, but He fled from such an exaltation of Himself. The next day He returned and presented Himself as the bread of life (John 6:35). He did not want to be a king; He wanted to be food that His people may receive Him as their life and life supply. Instead of being great, the Lord wanted to be small in order to be food for us.
From the time of Christ’s ascension until now, Christian teachers have tended to stress the greatness and exaltation of Christ. Nevertheless, Christ still wants to be small so that we may eat Him. The great revivals in the history of the church have not focused on Christ’s smallness. This is the reason that such revivals usually have not lasted very long. Furthermore, the corruption in Christianity has always come in through the door of greatness. If we would close this door, no element of corruption could enter into the church.
In His smallness the Lord is altogether different from our natural concept of Him. Even we in the Lord’s recovery may desire to see great things. Because of the desire for greatness, many of those in the Pentecostal or charismatic movement are given to boastfulness and exaggeration. For this reason, we should discount a large percentage of the reports of healings and miracles that supposedly take place in today’s Pentecostalism. Some may boast that many healings took place in a particular meeting when there was not even one genuine healing.
Some years ago reports were circulated about a great revival that supposedly was taking place on the island of Timor. According to these reports, miracles were commonplace. Claims were even made that people had been raised from the dead. A former missionary who was there and is now in the Lord’s recovery attended some of these revival meetings to observe what was happening. In one meeting the leader announced that during the course of the meeting water would be changed into wine. At a certain point, this brother saw the leader take out a bottle he had hidden and pour wine from it into a container of water. What falsehood! Falsehoods such as this are allowed to creep in because so many Christians have the desire for greatness.
Miracles are not food. Even a genuine miraculous healing may not be food to us. The Lord Jesus wants to be our food. It is possible to be healed by the Lord without receiving Him as food. Healings may be great and miraculous, but still not have the nature of food. However, it is possible to receive divine healing in the proper way so that through the healing the Lord becomes a supply of life to us. This kind of healing is not outwardly great; rather, it is small in appearance.
Those things in our Christian life which do not supply life to us either are not genuine or are not normal; they are contrary to the nature of food. According to the Gospel of John, people tried to exalt the Lord Jesus, but He always fled from such exaltation. In John 2 the Jews saw miracles performed by the Lord Jesus. However, He would not commit Himself to them. He would not trust in those who were impressed by miracles. In John 3 Nicodemus came to the Lord Jesus by night. Without anything miraculous taking place, the Lord was life to this man in a very ordinary way, in a way that was calm, hidden, small, and silent. This is the divine way.
Even we in the Lord’s recovery may expect to see great things take place. Such a desire has often opened the door to trouble. The desire for greatness invariably results in suffering. However, this suffering may help to terminate the desire for greatness.
Because the Bible does not give us the dimensions of manna, we do not know how small manna was. Both in His greatness and in His smallness, Christ is immeasurable. The detailed description given of manna in the Scriptures simply includes a word about its smallness. Manna is small in order to be taken in as food. As the real manna, Christ is small enough for us to take in, digest, and assimilate.
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