The first 49 days after leaving Egypt were days spent by the Children of Israel in getting to know God and learning to depend on Him. While the Children of Israel were getting to know God, God was working on something else.
You see, the Children of Israel had been living in Egypt for 430 years to the day God delivered them. God used the first Passover, which occurred on the 14th Day of the month called Nisan, to get His Children out of Egypt. However, God knew it would take a bit longer and a lot more work to get Egypt out of them.
So, those first 49 days after Passover are still called the Days of Omer. Omer is a unit of dry measurement. A few days after the Children of Israel left Egypt and crossed the Red Sea they found themselves in a wilderness desert where there was no food or water. They began complaining and God proved Himself by providing an abundant fresh sweet water source and quails that covered the whole camp.
Then, God told the Children of Israel through Moses that each morning He would send manna from heaven sufficient for each day’s need. The manna was light and fresh and tasted like a honey wafer. I have imagined it appeared much like some of the honey flavored cereals we see in the grocery stores today. At any rate, every family was to gather a specific amount for each person in the family. That amount is called an omer and is equal to a little more than a big heaping double handful.
They were instructed by Moses to gather only that amount and not try to gather more thinking they could save it for the next day. Any extra gathered would only become wormy and rank. Of course, every person who obeyed had just enough for the family and those who gathered too much found it began to stink and bred worms.
As well, the Children of Israel were told that they were to gather an omer per person each morning for six days and on the sixth day they should gather twice that amount because there would be no provision and no gathering on the seventh day, the Sabbath, which was a holy day unto the Lord and to His Children. This special provision allowed that a blessing was on the sixth day as a double portion day both in provision and protection. The extra gathered on the sixth day and left to eat on the seventh day did not breed worms and was found to be as fresh as if it had been gathered that very morning.
The Children of Israel ate the manna fresh, they ground it and baked it into bread and cakes and toasted it and dried it to eat throughout the day. It was very good to the taste and no doubt very healthy however it was the same thing day after day … and would be for 40 years. Of course, God never intended the Children of Israel be in that wilderness for such a long time but that was their fault, a result of their own bad decisions and another story all together.
Every year since the first Passover the Lord has instructed His Children to commemorate this event with a Feast of Unleavened Bread and the counting of the 49 Days of Omer. The counting leads up to the next Feast which we have come to recognize as the Feast of Pentecost. Today at sundown in Israel began the 17th Day of Omer. This simply means that today marks the 17th day after the Children of Israel left Egypt and began their Exodus journey with God.
1. Remembers God delivering His Children from Egypt.
2. Points to a day when God would deliver His Children from sin.
The Days of Omer are days of discipleship, if you will. Even though God got His Children out of Egypt at Passover, He knew it would take a longer process to get Egypt out of them. Historically these are the days when the Children of Israel were experiencing all the new things which come with deliverance. All along they were walking towards Mount Sinai where God was going to reveal Himself in a mighty way through thundering, lightening, smoke and loud trumpets. From Mount Sinai God gave the Ten Commandments and caused the people to understand His will.
When we catch up with the Children of Israel in the Book of Exodus chapter 16 and find them only a few days into their wilderness experience they aren’t going to the Promise Land yet … oh no … in fact they are headed on a course that is taking them farther from the Promise Land … they are still in the process of leaving Egypt behind. They may have physically left Egypt but emotionally and mentally they are wishing they were still there. The world and bondage and slavery to pharaoh was so familiar that it was hard to leave all that familiarity behind.
It’s no different for people today. God gets people out of bondage to this world through the salvation which comes when they receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. But just because Believers are out of the world does not mean that the world is out of them. Let’s read from the book of Exodus and observe the parallels and find the principles God was attempting to reveal to His Children on their journey leaving Egypt. Remember, it can take time and work and a change of attitude to leave this world behind after you have been saved.
Exodus 16 NKJV
1 ¶ And they journeyed from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came to the Wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they departed from the land of Egypt.
2 Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.
3 And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.
5 “And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.”
6 Then Moses and Aaron said to all the children of Israel, “At evening you shall know that the LORD has brought you out of the land of Egypt.
7 “And in the morning you shall see the glory of the LORD; for He hears your complaints against the LORD. But what are we, that you complain against us?”
8 Also Moses said, “This shall be seen when the LORD gives you meat to eat in the evening, and in the morning bread to the full; for the LORD hears your complaints which you make against Him. And what are we? Your complaints are not against us but against the LORD.”
9 Then Moses spoke to Aaron, “Say to all the congregation of the children of Israel, ‘Come near before the LORD, for He has heard your complaints.’ ”
10 Now it came to pass, as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud.
11 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
12 “I have heard the complaints of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the LORD your God.’ ”
13 ¶ So it was that quails came up at evening and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay all around the camp.
14 And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground.
15 So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat.
16 “This is the thing which the LORD has commanded: ‘Let every man gather it according to each one’s need, one omer for each person, according to the number of persons; let every man take for those who are in his tent.’ ”
17 Then the children of Israel did so and gathered, some more, some less.
18 So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one’s need.
The Manna teaches us:
1. We must work with God to provide for ourselves and our household each day.
a. God demands we participate in our miracles.
b. Idle lives make no provision for the day …
2. We should be content with enough.
a. Joy and contentment should be the result of enjoying what we need and not in possessing more than we need.
b. Give us this day our daily bread …
3. We can depend on God.
a. Our future is safer and more secure in God’s storehouse than in ours.
b. We should not expect that we are wiser or better managers than God and His providence.
It is evident from this passage that God had gotten the Children of Israel out of Egypt but it was also evident that He had not yet succeeded in getting Egypt out of them.
Remember, there is a difference between leaving the world and leaving the world behind.
Our trust in God and His leadership is an indication of our Christian maturity. Before God takes us to our greatest day He will search our hearts and try our reigns so that He may know if we will obey Him in the abundant and blessed days ahead. God’s desire is that we know Him and trust Him for a future that is out of this world!