“He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you.”Deuteronomy 8:16
Have you watched a baby try a new food? She pushes the first bite out because her tongue doesn’t yet know what to do with it. On the second bite she gags. But after that she manages to swallow a spoonful with a look of surprise and probably delight. Eating is learned.
Eating was a learned behavior for Israel in the wilderness, too. “What is it?” is the name they gave manna, the flaky stuff from the sky. The very strangeness of it was an object lesson, pointing to the other strange food God wanted to give them: His Word. Then as now, God brings His children into the wilderness to increase our hunger for His strange food. And then we will learn to eat it.
Have you experienced this truth? It’s in the wilderness that the Bible suddenly becomes a living Word to us. No longer optional, we can’t make it through another day without hearing God’s voice in its pages. We draw courage from His character, take comfort from His promises, find our way in His commands. And, ultimately, we find hope through His Word of the gospel.
The One who gave them manna gives us Christ, so that in the end it will go well with us.