“Thank you, Lord, for our food we are about to eat. Please bless us with a good return from our little garden. Bless the hands that worked hard in the garden and prepared this wonderful meal. Jehovah-Jireh, we give you praise for providing for our needs. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” Dad prayed, then smiled at his family.
“Oh, this looks good, dear. Here boys, have some freshly baked garlic bread with your spaghetti. Mom made her famous sauce with tomatoes from our garden again.”
“Thank you,” the boys replied as they took their plates full of food from their mother.
“You’re welcome,” smiled Mom.
“Hey Dad. Can you tell a story tonight?” inquired Caleb, the oldest son.
“Sure son. Which one would you like to hear tonight?”
“The one about manna,” replied Eli excitedly.
“Yeah, we love that story with spaghetti,” giggled Caleb as he elbowed Eli, who did not appreciate spilling his fork full of spaghetti back on his plate.
“Ok, boys,” Dad paused, giving a stern look. “The children of Israel wandered in the desert for 40 years after God brought them out of Egypt. Much like children, they loved to whine and complain. But God was always a good Father who listened to their complaints and met their needs. They moved around often, so they were not able to plant gardens to have fresh food to eat. There were not many animals there in the desert either, so they complained a lot about what they would eat. God wanted them to love and trust Him, so when they needed food He provided.”
“Do the voice, Daddy,” pleaded Caleb. “What did God say?”
“Ah yes.” Dad cleared his throat and took a drink of water. “The voice of God came to Moses in a cloud. He said that He heard their complaining and told Moses to tell the people this:
‘At twilight you shall eat meat and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’
The meat came from quails that happened to migrate through their region. The bread, called manna, was a great miracle also.”
“Why did they call it manna?” asked Caleb, reaching for his glass of milk.
“When the people saw this stuff, they asked each other what it was. And so ‘manna’ means ‘What is it?’. This mysterious bread was special. God also told them to take only enough for the day, except on the Sabbath when they took enough for two days. They had to trust God to provide for them day by day.”
“What happened if they took more than they needed?” Eli asked, grinning, as if he knew the answer already.
“Yes, they did try that. Even though God said no to, they had to test it. So when they kept too much it would spoil overnight and be filled with worms.”
“Eww!” the boys giggled and wrinkled up their noses as they looked at their spaghetti.
Mom frowned and shook her head.
“Um, yeah,” paused Dad, holding in his own laughter. “So anyway, you see that God wanted them to trust Him and obey Him. As your Father, I want the same from you boys. Sometimes you don’t understand why, but you have to trust me, and Mom too.” He looked over at Mom and smiled.
“It’s important to remember that God wants us to trust Him daily for spiritual food.”
“Will He give us manna too?” asked Eli as he finished his last bite of bread.
Mom wiped the sauce from his face with her napkin.
“No, not the same kind of manna. When He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for us, that was His way of providing spiritual food for us. Manna was a source of life for the children of Israel. Jesus is the Bread of Life that gives us life forever, so we can be in heaven and not just have a piece of heaven on earth. God always takes care of His children. We are thankful for that.” Dad finished and relaxed back in his chair.
“Now, take your dishes to the kitchen and go upstairs You guys can play for awhile.”
“OK, Dad. Thanks for the story.” said Caleb as he ran off after Eli.
Note: The story of manna is told in Exodus 16. God's words are taken directly from Exodus 16:12 (NKJV).
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