Fast food. What a great idea! At the time the Israelites left fertile Goshen along the Nile River in Egypt, they thought that’s what they were getting. None knew that they were leaving fish, onions and garlic behind for generations to come.
God had predicted they would be entering a land of milk and honey. They might have imagined toasted flatbread spread with honey, much like Native American fry bread. Add to that, simmering stews rich with vegetables and meat that could later be made into pita bread wraps. Wow!
But God had in mind a greater lesson. Freedom from centuries of slavery brought the Israelites on a long trek through the desert. They had to depend on him day by day. For even with a magnifying glass, finding edible plants in the Desert of Sin was challenging. It was known for stone, sand, sky and beautiful sunsets. Today, with a good irrigation system, the barren landscape might have potential as a luxurious winter golf resort. But not in those days!
No more baked tilapia with butter and garlic! No thick soups full of meat, onions and seasonings. With the annual rainfall at less than an inch and a half, and no rain between June and October, even drinking water was hard to find.
The camp cooks were totally frustrated.
“Feeding this demanding mob is impossible!” complained one. At about a million, the evacuees from Egypt might have populated a medium-sized metro area these days. Just like today, there seemed to be about as many dietary demands as people. It was hard on the cooks.
“Whoever thought the doctors and people could come up with such ridiculous diets?” another cook complained.
Meanwhile, the crowd’s comments might have been notable, but apparently didn’t make it into the book of Exodus.
“But I can’t have white flour! Everything has to be gluten free!”
“No pita bread for me – or almonds, either!”
“The doctor says I can’t have dairy products.”
“No citrus fruit for me!” another might cry.
“Everything has to be sugar free for me. No sugar or dates!”
“I have to be on a low-salt diet.”
“Cucumbers give me gas!”
“Pomegranates have too many seeds!”
Not that anyone would find a pomegranate or a cucumber for three or four hundred miles. No worries.
God then provided manna. “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. “[Exodus 16:4 NIV]
He explained that it was a test to see if the people were ready to follow his instructions and lean on him completely. No baked tilapia. No onions. No dairy products.
They ground it up and made it into pancakes.
Even with all the dietary needs of the crowd, God’s food from heaven met their physical and dietary needs of the crowd–just as it does today.
And even in the light of dietary restrictions, God offers his bounty in these words from Jesus, God’s son, “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
[Matthew 6:25-26 NIV]
If you worry about food allergies and restrictions as you peruse the grocery shelves, think about how God provides so many choices through every challenge. Value yourself and his bounty, as each day is a gift. He is still raining down food from Heaven for you.
[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and her recent Give Us This Day Our Daily Grin – A Fun-Lovers Guide to Spiritual Living and Growing now in print and e-book on Amazon Kindle and other e-formats Smashwords. She is author of several other books, including award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website, www.button-to-god.com.]