So, what does your bible mean to you? Do you find it relevant or tedious? Do you actually look forward to reading it daily or is it just one of the things on your religious to-do list? Is it appealing to you or are you intimidated by the thin paper and weird instructions in Leviticus?
Just relax. Hang in there and you might feel different by the end of this post.
If you’ve read the other blogs in the bible study section of P & T, you’ve probably figured out that “manna” in the bible represents Jesus and the Word of God. Hopefully you’ve also realised that Jesus is the Word of God and that your bible is the Word in written, handleable, chewable form. (See my blog “WHAT’S YOUR SOUL EATING?”)
FYI “manna” was the literal bread that God rained down from heaven on the Israelites to feed them in the desert (see Exodus 16) to give them sustenance and strength for the wilderness journey - and basically keep them alive! It was a foreshadow of Jesus, the “Bread of Life” aka our daily strength and eternal life (John 6).
So the way the Israelites went about getting their daily bread is a good way for us to look at how we gather what we need from the Word of God (and yes, you do need the Word of God).
To put it in question form: how do we go about reading the scriptures?
/// Exodus 16:5 ///
“When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “what is it? For they did not know what it was.”
Funnily enough, the word “manna” in Hebrew does not translate to “heavenly bread” or “bread from heaven” or “sky bread” or anything predictable like that. It translates to “what is it?” Touché God.
When God’s people encountered it, they had no idea what it was. It was completely unfamiliar to them. They weren’t overly enthusiastic about it either. How is that? This incredible, miraculous, supernatural provision rains down from heaven and they’re not even pumped about it. But here’s why:
they had no idea what it was
It was bizarre and unidentifiable to look at. Thin, white, flakey, as if made of coriander seeds...not an overly inviting breakfast if we're judging by appearance. I'm sure if God rained manna down in donut-form they would've been more excited. But to know manna was to love manna - it would be their saving grace for the journey ahead. If they realised how much they needed it, I bet they would’ve leapt out of their tents as soon as they saw the weird little flakey miracles on the ground.
You know what? You and I don't read our bibles for the same reason. We get saved and become Christians (hello, just as the Israelites get saved from Egypt) and at first the bible is a totally unfamiliar entity to us. We don’t know what to do with it. It doesn’t look appealing - what’s with the boring genealogies and how in the heck does Leviticus relate to my life? Is the author of Revelation tripping on acid? Is King David hormonally unstable? We might be saved and we might be hungry for the word - but our devotional life never lifts off the ground because we have no idea how to handle the scriptures.
It’s like we’re given a mighty sword and have no idea how to hold it
And if you can't even hold it, you certainly can't wield it.
But check it out: The Israelites were instructed to gather and eat the manna every day. And as they began to use it on a daily basis, they got familiar with it. Eventually they learnt how to grind it up, cook it into loaves, flavour it with olive oil and, you know, get creative with it. The more familiar they became with manna, the easier it was.
/// Numbers 11 : 18 ///
"The people would go out and gather it from the ground. They made flour by grinding it with hand mills or pounding it in mortars. Then they boiled it in a pot and made it into flat cakes. These cakes tasted like pastries baked with olive oil."
I promise you - as you begin to deal with the scriptures on a daily basis and they become more familiar to you, you’re going to figure out how to use it, what to do with it, and how to feed yourself on it. You'll handle the scripture, break it down with devotional tools and methods, and cook it up in such a way that it tastes good.
/// Psalm 119 : 103 ///
"How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey."
Never let the word of God be an unfamiliar entity in your life. Never let the name of your bible be “what is it?”
Don’t let the scriptures be restricted to something a person with a microphone has to explain to you on Sundays
To know Jesus is to love him - as we grow in the knowledge of Christ through the study of his Word, we cannot help but grow more in love with Him. The more we feed on it, the more we recognise that we need it.
So be brave, pick up that Book, and get cooking.
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