I’ve tried moving on from the theme of the Bread of Life, but each time I look to something else, I keep getting something about the Bread of Life!
Today, I began thinking about the Israelites in the wilderness again. It was probably a prompt from hearing someone mention the bread and the quail in the wilderness, how God provided the people of Israel with both meat and bread.
And in my mind is this little niggling thought about the quail. It’s a thought which says, “there’s more to it than that.” So I start reading Numbers 11.
“Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat! 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.”
Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its appearance like that of bdellium. The people went about and gathered it and ground it in handmills or beat it in mortars and boiled it in pots and made cakes of it. And the taste of it was like the taste of cakes baked with oil. When the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell with it. Moses heard the people weeping throughout their clans, everyone at the door of his tent. And the anger of the Lord blazed hotly, and Moses was displeased.
Then a wind from the Lord sprang up, and it brought quail from the sea and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and a day’s journey on the other side, around the camp, and about two cubits above the ground. And the people rose all that day and all night and all the next day, and gathered the quail. Those who gathered least gathered ten homers. And they spread them out for themselves all around the camp. While the meat was yet between their teeth, before it was consumed, the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord struck down the people with a very great plague.”
There is clearly a strong link between these accounts of the people of Israel and Jesus demonstrating that he is the Bread of Life to the people as we read in John 6. These words stand out to me while reading,
“Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving.”
There were people in the camp who had a strong craving. This word craving is defined in the dictionary as “a powerful desire for something.”
In their grumbling, they also demonstrate that they’re not eating of the bread of heaven, by saying “there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.” They are observing but not eating.
How far are they willing to go to satisfy their craving? They are willing to travel a days journey to satisfy it. But the bread falls on the camp. They are willing to travel a days journey for their want, when their need is provided for directly in the camp!
These people have been rescued. They’ve complained and grumbled. Food has been provided, bread from heaven. And they still complain. Their craving is for something other than what God has provided. Their craving is answered, and they go ahead and eat. It doesn’t end well.
And so for us, God has provided the Bread of Heaven. It’s the only “food” that he has to give. There is no alternative. And we must ask the question of ourselves. What are we craving? Do we have a strong craving for anything other than the Bread of Life?
Are we willing to go out of our way to get what we want? Or are we satisfied to receive the Bread of Life where we are, here and now, today, knowing that all our needs are meet in him?
The Bread of Life has no alternative, no substitute. It is Jesus or nothing. He’s the only Source of Life. He says to us,
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”
Let us continue to eat of the Bread of Life, craving nothing else but Jesus himself and his Life only.
For an audio version of this post, follow the instructions below.