/ manna / Sharon Sampson

What’s for Dinner?

Perhaps this question is asked regularly in your home. It’s likely been asked for centuries. But imagine peering into an Israelite tent during the forty years in the desert and hearing a husband asking his wife that question. She responds with a look, and says, “What do you think is for dinner?”

Exodus 16 introduces us to manna as the staple of the wilderness wandering diet, although the grumbling started even before the manna arrived.

Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger (v. 3).

The Lord provides, and the people reply, “What is it?” (v. 15). Moses explains that it’s the Lord’s provision in response to their grumbling (a word that shows up eight times in this chapter!). The people then quickly move from complaining about the lack of food to hoarding the manna, against God’s clear instructions.

In Numbers 11 we’re given another picture of their discontent:

We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at (vv. 5-6).

So, what’s for dinner in your home during these days of social distancing and stay-at-home orders? For some families, their food has regularly come from food pantries, and their children receive breakfast and/or lunch at school. For those in senior facilities, dining halls are closed and meals are brought to apartments now. For many of us, perhaps we’re not going to the stores as often. Or maybe your family regularly ate at restaurants. Perhaps there is even some grumbling in your home.

My husband and I have decided that even though our local grocery stores have food, we’re going to make do for a while. Why not? It’s been interesting to look around the house and say, “What can we put together for this week’s meals?” In thinking through my meal planning, I’ve remembered I have powdered milk in the pantry, and flax seed and water can be used in recipes in place of eggs. I found an amazing recipe for cucumber and tomato salad with Dijon dressing (I’m out of lettuce!). Perhaps if you are in a home with children or teens, you could challenge them to see what kinds of menus they can create from what you have on hand. It’s math; it’s home economics; it’s problem solving; it’s school!

I’m not saying everyone should take this approach, and I’d go to the store in a second to help someone in need. We are simply taking the opportunity to be thankful for what the Lord has already provided, for what is already in our home. And we are thankful.

Despite what we may or may not be eating these days, Scripture gives us valuable reminders:

  • We don’t live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord (Deut. 8:3).
  • We should not worry about what we’re going to eat (Matt. 6:25).
  • Jesus is the bread of life (John 6:35).

Bon Appetit!

Sharon Sampson

Sharon Sampson

Loves the Lord; married to Mark; has a married daughter (Kirby); enjoys teaching, biblical counseling, writing RP parodies, and working at RPTS.

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