Manna Mania -- By Rhonda Rhea

Have you ever wondered if the Israelites ever tried to get clever with their manna? God provided them with wonderful food every day. But I do remember reading that they got a little whiny about eating the same thing every day. I can picture them moaning, "Oh, the hu-manna-ty"--even though the manna was sweet and tasty. Exodus 16:31 says "it tasted like honey wafers" (NLT). Sounds like dessert to me.

I wonder if they ever tried to get creative. Maybe they tried new recipes. Mannawiches, maybe?

What if they got even more clever and made it into a loaf, then added berries? Wouldn't that make "Berry Manna-loaf"? Would eating too much of it cause them to sing mellow songs and consider music and passion always the fashion? Perhaps they could've kept that Entertainer theme and created a traveling restaurant that specialized in adding other fruit. They could've called it the "Copacabana-banana-manna Cafe."

Or maybe they were just too busy whining to get creative. I would make fun of them for it, but I'm afraid there are too many times I ask God to provide and then take it for granted when he does. Or worse, I complain about the way he does it. How embarrassing to still be so quick to be full of myself instead of being full of him.

I'm so thankful our God is a God of mercy. He demonstrated it again and again with the whining Israelites. Psalm 78: tells us, "They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved. They spoke against God, saying, 'Can God spread a table in the desert?' Yet he gave a command to the skies above and opened the doors of the heavens; he rained down manna for the people to eat, he gave them the grain of heaven. Men ate the bread of angels; he sent them all the food they could eat. They ate till they had more than enough, for he had given them what they craved. In spite of all this, they kept on sinning; in spite of his wonders, they did not believe. Yet he was merciful; he forgave their iniquities." (verses 18-19, 23-25, 30, 32, 38a, NIV).

His mercy still shows up in our every whiny inadequacy today. Even after I've been too shallow and full of self to recognize him and thank him, he graciously shows me mercy. And he's faithful to continue to remind me to recognize him and to thank him and to crave his presence more than anything else. What a mighty, merciful God we serve!

I think my lunchtime prayer might be a little different today. It's very likely to be fuller than usual of thanks and praise to the merciful God who provides. And I want to crave him more than I crave lunch.

Speaking of cravings, I think I might have to find some banana bread for a lunchtime dessert. Sounds extra good for some reason.

Rhonda Rhea 

rrhea@juno.com