To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna…
— Revelation 2:17
In yesterday’s Sparkling Gem, we saw that Jesus expects us to overcome. And this “overcoming” is not just a one-time event. He has given us the power and the authority to consistently maintain victory in the areas where we have experienced victory through His grace.
To those of us who are currently in the process of overcoming and who need sustenance to keep us strong in battle, Christ promised “manna” as nourishment to continually strengthen us. In Revelation 2:17, He said, “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna…” Let’s look at this “manna” to understand exactly what Christ promised us and how much of that divine supply He is willing to provide to keep us strong along the way as a reward for our obedience.
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To understand manna, we must return to the Old Testament book of Exodus, where it is recorded that manna first appeared. Approximately two months after the Israelites left Egypt, their food stores began to run low and supplies were rationed. God told Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you…” (Exodus 16:4). The word “bread” in the Old Testament Greek Septuagint is the word man hu, or manna, an unusual word that had never been used before. It is a Greek word that describes a heavenly provision of supernatural sustenance like bread.
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When that “manna” first appeared on the ground, no one knew what it was, how it originated, or how God provided it. Every time the Israelites took it in their hands and lifted it to their mouths, they were partaking of a divine phenomenon with no natural explanation. God graciously provided supernatural sustenance to sustain them in their time of need. Certainly they had other forms of food, but there was something so supernatural in this manna that it supplied what no natural food could provide. It was a supernatural substance that had the ability to meet whatever need was present.
These qualities also describe the supernatural sustenance God provides for us today. We don’t always know how He imparts His divine supply to us, but we are thankful when He does. With each touch of His hand on our spirits, bodies, and minds, we are strengthened, refilled, and replenished. It is supernatural provision! And God superabundantly supplies whatever we need. Our part is to draw near to His table, pull up a chair, and open our hearts to Him. As we do, God serves us a veritable feast of His power!
Let’s look again at the manna God so amply supplied to His people under the Old Covenant. Psalm 78:23-25 records that God “…opened the doors of heaven, And had rained down manna upon them to eat and…Man did eat angels’ food…” The psalmist told us several important truths about this supernatural provision:
- The doors of Heaven were opened (v. 23).
- When the doors were opened, manna rained upon them (v. 24).
- Manna was the food of angels (v. 25).
First, the psalmist wrote that when the manna fell, the “doors of heaven” were opened. This phrase “doors of heaven” refers to a heavenly portal that opens at God’s command. The first mention of it in Scripture is in Genesis 7:11, where the Bible says that “…the windows of heaven were opened” and rain started falling. That phrase “windows of heaven” is a reference to the same portal referred to as the “doors of heaven” in Psalm 78:23. In fact, so much rain fell through this portal over the course of 40 days and nights that Genesis 7:19 records, “And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.”
Second, the psalmist recorded in Psalm 78:24 that when this manna began falling, it “rained down.” This shows that when Heaven’s portal opens, whatever comes through does so in superabundant measures.
Let me refer to rabbinical literature for a moment. That literature asserts that manna fell in the wilderness each day in such abundance that one day’s supply of manna would have been enough to feed the children of Israel for 2,000 years!
However, despite this overabundance, God forbade the Israelites to take more than one day’s supply per person except in the case of the Sabbath, in which case they were allowed to collect two days at once in order to avoid breaking the Sabbath laws. Each person was limited to an omer, or approximately six to seven pints, which was gathered each morning. If anyone gathered more than what God prescribed, the extra became filled with maggots.
This was doubtlessly a great test of obedience for many people since the human tendency would have been to hoard manna just in case it didn’t fall again. However, hoarding manna would have caused the Israelites to trust in their supply rather than trust in the God who supplies. By gathering only a single day’s ration, it meant that they had to trust God anew for His faithful provision each day.
It is impossible to know exactly how much manna came pouring through that portal during those 40 years, but one can make a rough estimate. If the Israelites numbered approximately 3,000,000 people, as many Bible scholars believe, it is estimated that they needed 4,500 tons of manna every day. If they gathered 4,500 tons a day every day for 40 years, that means an estimated 65,700,000 tons of manna supernaturally appeared on the ground over that period of time.
However, for the children of Israel, this miracle was an everyday event that occurred for 40 years. In fact, an entire generation of young children was born during that time period who grew up thinking it was normal for 4,500 tons of manna to appear each morning out of thin air (see Exodus 16:35)!
God instructed the children of Israel not to hoard manna, but rather to trust Him to provide them with the sustenance they needed each day. The manna that rained daily in the desert was an ever-present reminder that God was faithful and would not lead them on a path that lacked His provision.
Likewise, we need to trust that God will touch us every day with the power and substance we need to be strong overcomers! He simply needs our availability. He is willing to give, but He needs hungry takers!
We read from Psalm 78 that, first, the “doors of heaven” were opened when all that manna fell. Then, second, the psalmist says the manna “rained down.” When Heaven’s portal opens, whatever falls through it does so superabundantly.
Third, the psalmist recorded that manna was “angels’ food” (see v. 25), which explains the extraordinary effect it had upon those who ate it. Theologian Albert Barnes noted that manna was “…food so directly and manifestly from heaven that it might be supposed to be the same kind that was eaten there, and that had now been sent down by a special miracle for man; food so delicate and so free from the ordinary coarse properties of food, that it might be supposed to be such as angels feed on.”1
In order for us to do what God asks us to do, we must regularly eat of His table and receive of His grace. He provided manna to sustain His people in the wilderness. In the same way, Jesus promises divine sustenance to believers who overcome. Jesus’ offer of “manna” in Revelation 2:17 to those who overcome was a declaration to believers throughout the ages that He provides nourishment in times of need and that at His table, the food never runs out.
There is a divine supply of provision for us — a supernatural, heavenly touch — that will replenish and strengthen us, enabling us to overcome the most difficult circumstances. But we must continually draw near to His table and eat the heavenly “bread” He has set before us.
Jesus promises to provide spiritual provision and replenishment to every one of us who will come to His table with faith to receive. He is sufficient to provide the spiritual refreshment and nutrients needed to strengthen us through tough times to accomplish our assignment. God’s grace is available to us, just as daily manna had been available to the children of Israel during their trek across the desert. If they will but come to His table, Christ will provide everything they need.
When Christ offered “manna” to these believers, He was not referring to a mere one-time taste of heavenly power. Rather, He was offering them a consistent supply of spiritual nourishment that would enable them to forge ahead, regardless of the opposition. And no matter what they faced, that supernatural sustenance would empower them to outlast the challenges that surrounded them.
Just as manna was provided to sustain God’s people in the wilderness, He has divine provision for you today and every day! If you will draw near to His table and eat the heavenly bread He has set before you, Christ will personally provide the manna you need — a divine touch — to strengthen and replenish your spirit so you can finish your race and complete your divine assignment. He will provide the manna you need to stay strong for the journey!
Are you ready to pull up your chair to God’s table and let Him set a feast of heavenly bread before you that will fill you with a fresh supply of His awesome power? God is willing to give you this divine sustenance every single day, but you must be willing to proactively come to His table to take in this strengthening supply!
1 Albert Barnes, Notes on the Bible (Blackie & Son, London, 1884-85; Reprinted by Baker Books, 1996), Psalm 78:25.|
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Heavenly Father, I am thrilled to know that You are so concerned about my well-being. How can I do anything but praise and thank You? You have demonstrated that You care so much for me that You would provide me with the daily bread I need to keep my life strong. Today I make the decision to draw near to Your table and to eat of the heavenly bread that You have set before me — bread that never runs out! Your supernatural strength is my sustenance. I partake of Your presence as my necessary food. You have called me to overcome, and Your sustaining touch keeps me strong in the battle. I know that as You strengthen me with Your might, I will be continually replenished, sustained in times of difficulty, and enabled to move obstacles out of my way.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that God provides the spiritual nourishment that I need to overcome the obstacles and difficulties that try to hinder me in life. Each day as I consciously walk with an awareness of God’s presence within me, I am replenished, strengthened, and enabled to conquer any foe that shows up along the way. God’s power touches me physically, spiritually, and emotionally and fills up those areas that have been depleted due to a long struggle. God’s grace is available to me every day just as daily manna was available to the children of Israel during their trek across the desert. The Lord spreads a table before me even in the presence of my enemies. When I come to His table, Christ provides everything I need. With God’s daily touch on my life, I am revived, refreshed, and ready to continue the fight until I can shout, “Amen! The victory has manifested because the battle was already won!”
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- How does God regularly refill and replenish you to keep you strong for whatever fight you are engaging? Can you explain that replenishing process?
- How often do you come to God’s table? Are you taking in this Bread of Heaven every day? How often do you read your Bible? If you ate natural food in the same quantities that you are eating spiritual food, what kind of physical condition would you be in? Would you be spiritually fit or malnourished? If you’re going to eat, you need to pull up a chair and get in a position to receive that heavenly food. The Word of God will give you the strength you need.
- Do you have a daily Bible-reading plan to help you stay on track in your reading of God’s Word? If not, plans are widely available on the Internet, free of charge, or perhaps at your church bookstore. I encourage you to find a daily Bible-reading plan and let it help guide you in your consumption of God’s Word on a daily basis.