Imagine the entire state of Arkansas being fed by bread falling from heaven and appearing in our front yards every morning for 40 years. All we must do is go outside and gather the bread. This event actually happened over 3,000 years ago to a nation of people with about the same population as Arkansas (Exodus 16). Israel, after 430 years of slavery in Egypt, has been released and crossed the Red Sea in miraculous fashion. The initial two weeks of provisions are now gone in this barren desert and the reality of total daily dependency on the Unseen Hand is now required. About 1.2 million gallons of Manna will fall every day (except on Sabbath) and feed 2.4 million people every day for 40 years. Moses explained why this happened at the end of the longest camping trip in history when he said to the nation of Israel, “God humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna….to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Deut 8.3
Jesus faced a crowd of 5,000 men (Possibly over 10,000 people) in John 6 on a hillside overlooking Galilee. These people of Israel had homes and food to eat but Jesus recognized the need for a meal that day as they left their homes to hear him speak. He asks Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” Philip answers that 8 months wages would not be sufficient to buy one bite for each person. Finding a boy with 5 small barley loaves and 2 fish, Jesus has this giant crowd sit down on the grass and commences to feed all of them a buffet of bread and fish without limit. So much bread was served that twelve baskets were filled with the leftover bread when the meal was over.
Jesus, later in John 6, declares a Parable: “I am the bread of heaven”, “I am the bread that came down from heaven”, “I am the bread of life”, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven”, “Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever”. May we feed on the “Unseen Hand”.