Manna and Quail: God’s Perfect Provision

God Provides for His People

Just because you’re lost in the desert doesn’t mean you have to die. Trust God to meet your needs in difficult times.

Deserts can be pretty desperate places. And in the midst of a difficult situation, it’s easy to lose hope. But no matter how desperate the situation, hope remains: God provides for His people. And He promises to sustain you through the most trying of times.
God provides for His people. And He promises to sustain you through the most trying of times. tweet this!Today’s story comes from Exodus 16. After generations of slavery in Egypt, the Israelites have cried out to God, and He came through for them. He rescued them from their Egyptian oppressors. They have escaped to the dessert, where they are free but hungry. So they cry out again, this time for food to eat. He hears them once again and responds. And His response teaches us a lot about how God provides for His people.

A Story of Provision

Let’s examine a passage from verses 11-17. It’s a bit long, but worth the read:

11 The Lord said to Moses, 12 “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’”

13 That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was.

Moses said to them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Everyone is to gather as much as they need. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent.’”

17 The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. 18 And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed.

God used manna and quail to provide for His people’s needs for 40 years, until they took possession of the promise land.

We can learn a lot from this story. God provides for His people today in the same way He did then. To learn more, let’s explore the five W’s of God’s provision: Who, What, Where, When and Why.
No matter where you are or what you're up against, you can count on Him to take care of you, because He is a good, loving father. tweet this!

1) Who provided, and for whom?

This answer is easy enough: God provided, and it was the Israelites that He provided for. The take-away is also simple, yet profoundly comforting. In the end, no matter what you’re facing, God promises to take care of you. He owns everything, and He gives us everything that we need. No matter where you are or what you’re up against, you can count on Him to take care of you, because He is a good, loving father. God provides for His people.

2) What did God provide?

God provided two things: quail (a game bird that they would have been familiar with) and manna (a supernatural bread that they had never seen before). This teaches us that God can meet our needs in a number of ways. Sometimes the things He uses are like the quail — ordinary and familiar. They can become so familiar, in fact, that we forget that they come from God. Other times, He uses manna — provision that is entirely unexpected, supernatural and out-of-the-blue. When God creates a solution to your problem that you never could have imagined for yourself, that’s a manna moment.

This is also a good point to talk about the quantity of what God provides for His people. It is never too little and never too much. Verse 18 says “And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed.” God knows your needs perfectly — even better than you do — and provides exactly the right amount to meet them.

3) Where did God provide?

God didn’t provide food for the Israelites in a farm or a grocery store — He provided for them in the desert. The desert is an unforgiving place. It’s difficult to survive there. But in providing food for His people there, God shows His power: There is no circumstance too desperate for God to come through. No matter what you face in life, or how long your string of bad luck, you are never out of His reach.
Often, God provides by giving us just what we need to get through the day. This teaches us to depend on Him. tweet this!

4) When did God provide?

God didn’t provide the Israelites with massive supplies of food to last them months at a time. Instead, He provided what they needed on a daily and nightly basis.

Sometimes we ask God for one big miracle to help us through a difficult time. Often, though, He provides by giving us just what we need to get through the day. This teaches us to depend on Him for everything, every day. His mercies are new every morning, and so is His provision. Jesus refers to this in the Lord’s prayer, when He teaches us to ask each day for our “daily bread.”

5) Why did God provide?

God provided for the people in order to keep them alive, sure. But He also had a greater purpose: He wanted the people to recognize Him as God.

Consider verse 12: “At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.” By providing for us, God meets our needs, and also reveals Himself to us. It is because of His provision that we know that He exists, and that He loves us.

If you’re struggling with finances — walking through your own desert — take heart. God is faithful and powerful to provide. Trust Him, obey Him, and He will not let you down.

God provides for His people.