Manna No More

A new meal, down payment on the promises.

Joshua 5 (5)

Now the children of Israel camped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight on the plains of Jericho. And they ate of the produce of the land on the day after the Passover, unleavened bread and parched grain, on the very same day. Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year. 
Joshua 5.10-12

1.  The Passover bookends the deliverance of Israel: they kept it before crossing the Red Sea, and they kept it aftercrossing the Jordan. Why is this important?

2.  No announcement was made concerning the discontinuation of the manna. How do you suppose the people felt when they went out that first morning and it wasn’t there?

Think about it.
Here is perhaps the earliest example of Paul’s maxim in 2 Thessalonians 3.10: “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” If the people of Israel wanted to eat, they would need to take up the work of subduing the promised land, because the manna they had eaten for forty years had ceased. 

The Passover, we recall, reminded Israel of God’s deliverance from Egypt, and was a token of His choosing and redeeming them as His people. They ate the Passover before being delivered out of Egypt, and now they ate it again, after being delivered into the land of promise. Our salvation in Jesus is both a deliverance out of and a deliverance into: out of sin, darkness, and the dominion of the devil and into forgiveness, eternal life, and the Kingdom of God’s Son. Jesus accomplished our deliverance by His death and resurrection, and He gave us His Supper to commemorate what He has done, and to be renewed in His work. 

God granted His people a sampling of His promises as they ate the food of the land (cf. Deut. 28.1-14). They had not worked for this; God prepared it for them as a token of His faithfulness and of greater promises yet to come. This is how He leads us in seeking the Kingdom. He prepares blessings for us, which we daily reach out in faith to receive and enjoy, understanding as we do that greater blessings are to be realized as we press toward the promises and seek the Kingdom as our first priority in all things.

Meditate and discuss.
1.  How do you prepare for taking the Lord’s Supper? Paul says the Supper is a participation (literally, fellowship) in the body and blood of our Lord (1 Cor. 10.16). What does this mean? In some ways, our feeding on Christ’s body and blood are like the unleavened bread and parched grain the Israelites ate on the plains of Jericho. Explain.

2.  The ceasing of the manna could have been an unsettling occasion for the people of God. Manna was the food of their wandering; the “produce of the land” was the fruit of their obedience. Is there an analogy here for us who believe (cf. 1 Cor. 3.1, 2; Heb. 5.12-14)? Is it significant that the manna stopped the day after the people ate the produce of the land?

3.  Review all that had transpired during the two weeks prior to this Passover (cf. Josh. 4.19, which refers to all of chapter 4). How do you think the people would have been feeling at this time? Do you think they would be talking about what had happened? Should we be more eager to talk about the Lord’s work on our behalf?

“After they observed the Passover in Egypt, they began the exodus. In the book of Joshua, however, after the crossing of the Jordan, on the tenth day of the first month they encamped in Gilgal…Then the sons of Israel observed the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month much more cheerfully than the one in Egypt, seeing that they also ‘ate unleavened bread and fresh from the grain of the holy land,’ a food better than the manna. For God does not feed them on lesser foods when they have received the land according to promise, nor do they obtain inferior bread through Jesus [Joshua] who is so great.” Origen of Alexandria (185-254AD)

Thank You, Lord, for Your precious and very great promises, which all come together in Jesus. Today, help me to press on toward those promises so that…

Pray Psalm 124.

Thank the Lord for His deliverance out of and His deliverance into as you pray these verses.

Psalm 124 (Neumark: If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee)
If You had not been with us, Jesus – 
Let all who love You say with pride – 
When foes rose up to fright and seize us, 
They would have swallowed us alive!
Refrain v. 8
Our help is in Your Name, O Lord, 
Who made creation by Your Word.

When all their anger flared against us, 
The flood would us have swept away; 
Torrents and waters sore had drenched us, 
Were not You all our hope and stay!

Blessed be the Lord who has not given 
Us to our foes to be devoured.
We shall escape and rise to heaven
By His eternal grace and power.

T. M. Moore

Where does the book of Joshua fit in the ongoing story of God’s covenant? Our workbook, God’s Covenant, can help you discover the place in God’s work of redemption not only of Joshua but of all the books of the Bible. God’s Covenant is a valuable resource to guide you in all your studies in God’s Word. To order your copy, click here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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