“That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. 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.'” — Exodus 16:13-15 (NIV84)
Just as the Lord promised, the Israelites were blessed with quail every evening and a thin layer of bread that they called manna, every morning. The word “manna” means “What is it?” The Israelites did not have the words to properly describe the blessed provision they received from the Lord every day for 40 years, so it is forever remembered in the form of the question, “what is it?” I believe that the flaky bread substance they received every morning was called manna mainly because they could not explain it. Look, they could explain quail. It might be miraculous that they would come every evening like clockwork, but in the end, quail is quail. But the manna was something completely different. There was nothing like it on earth.
The manna was not only miraculous, it was unnatural. Unlike quail, manna appeared nowhere else in nature. Manna was a unique provision from God that could not be explained or understood in any other way. Bread just doesn’t appear on the ground every morning like dew. God performed the inexplicable every day for 40 years so that the people He loved could be nourished and fed. WOW! He is truly a God who provides.
In a very similar way, The Lord feeds His church today through the word and sacraments. He provides spiritual nourishment and provision through printed words on paper, water, bread and wine. Who can explain how He does it? No one can. But we all can testify that we have, and do, experience it every time we are in His presence to worship. Even today, He is the God who miraculously provides for us in ways that we cannot describe.
It’s manna (“What is it?”).