The Hearing of Faith
Chapter sixteen of the book of Exodus is a marvelous revelation of the food (manna) that God gave the children of Israel in the wilderness. They were to live on this manna. The Lord Jesus referred to manna in John 6, where He unveiled Himself as the true bread, the bread of God, the bread that came down out of heaven, the bread of life, and the living bread. In this chapter He charged us to labor not for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures unto eternal life.
Exodus 16 and John 6 point to a crucial matter in the Scriptures, that of feeding on God Himself as our food, taking the Lord in, or we may say, eating God as food. From beginning to end, the Bible is a book of eating. In Genesis chapter two, positively, and in chapter three, negatively, God was very concerned about man’s eating. God told the man that he may eat of every tree in the garden. Every tree was good for food. But there was one tree, the tree of knowledge of good and evil, that he must not eat of. If he did, he would die. Man fell by eating wrongly, but man is saved by eating rightly.
This claim is fully supported by the Scriptures. Consider the testimony in the Old Testament. In Exodus 12 the children of Israel ate the Passover lamb with the unleavened bread and the bitter herbs. In the wilderness they fed on manna. Eventually, in the good land of Canaan, they fed on the produce of the land. This indicates that we progress in the Christian life by eating. When we are redeemed, we eat Christ as the Lamb. As we follow the Lord, we eat Christ as the manna. As we grow to maturity, we enjoy Christ as all the riches of the good land. We see the same principle of eating in the tabernacle with the offerings. The offerings that were offered in the outer court were food for the priests. Then in the Holy Place there was the showbread as food. In the Holy of Holies, as Revelation 2 indicates, there is the hidden manna as our food. Eating is crucial because, according to the Bible, eating is closely related to our relationship with the Lord. It determines what we are in our Christian life. To use the common proverb, we are what we eat.
The New Testament, as a continuation of the Old, speaks of eating. We saw this in John 6. In 1 Corinthians 10 Paul said that they, the children or Israel as a type of the New Testament believers, all ate the same spiritual food, and they drank the same spiritual drink. Earlier in chapter three, Paul told the Corinthian believers that he fed them with milk, not with solid food. Again and again, the thought is one of eating. In the book of Revelation the Lord Himself speaks to the churches concerning eating: to Ephesus, concerning eating of the tree of life; to Pergamos, concerning eating the hidden manna; to Laodicea, concerning dining with the Lord. The Bible ends with a promise of the tree of life and the water of life.
As we survey the Bible in this light, we see a marvelous revelation. God is food. God wants to be our unique food. God wants us to come to Him through the Word and take Him as our food that He may nourish us, fill us, and reconstitute us with Himself to make us His corporate expression. This is the revelation of the Scriptures, and this is our testimony. God in Christ is food to us, and we need to take Him in as food that we may express Him for the fulfillment of His heart’s desire.
For further reading on this subject, please see The Crucial Revelation of Life in the Scriptures, chapters 3 and 8; The Living and Practical Way to Enjoy Christ, chapter 6; and footnote 5 of Rev. 2:7 in the New Testament Recovery Version published by Living Stream Ministry.
From Issue No. 12, April 1999