And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.” (Numbers 21:5)
Earlier in Israel’s journey out of Egypt, the Bible says a mysterious grain-like substance appeared on the ground after the dew lifted that the people called manna. Six days out of seven, they collected the manna one omer at a time in the morning. An עמר omer is a Biblical measurement understood to be equivalent to about just over a half gallon of grain, which is enough to feed an average person for a day. This was the “worthless bread” they were referring to and so we could conclude they loathed their daily bread.
For them to speak so disparagingly of God’s provision indicates that they could not discern what He truly provided — in other words, the manna was much more than what meets the eye. The word omer comes from a root that means “to gather, to heap.” That root word is related to the Hebrew word אמר amar which means “to gather words and speak them.” In short, the manna was God’s way of “speaking” to them one omer at a time. Much later, Moses will stress this point to them when he said:
“So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 8:3).
Unfortunately for them, they failed to perceive that by giving them their daily bread, God was giving them His Word for that day. He was teaching them that, just as we need daily provision to live in temporal means, we need a daily provision of His Word if our spirit is to thrive. Finally, it is also important to understand that Messiah is the personification of this heavenly bread and that He is the source for the life-giving word that comes to us from on High. Therefore, even though it doesn’t appeal to our physical senses, let us always be grateful for the daily bread our Father offers us so that we may “live, multiply and possess the land.”
Blessings and Shalom,