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May 13, 2012 in Chapters

Bread

As we read earlier in Psalm 104:15, bread “strengtheneth man’s heart.”  The first instruction God gave in regards to bread, besides the declaration that man would eat bread by the sweat of his brow, was pertaining to the feast of unleavened bread established right before the Israelites left Egypt.

Exodus 12:14-16, 17-20:
And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.  Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.  And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever.  In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even.  Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.  Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread.

After the first Passover, the people gathered their things and the items given to them by their Egyptian neighbors and set off to follow Moses through the wilderness.

Exodus 12:34, 39:
And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading troughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders.  And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual.

In chapter 13, they were reminded again to “keep this ordinance (feast of unleavened bread with the Passover) in his season from year to year” as a memorial for all their generations to come. (Exodus 13:10)   He told them three times to make sure they understood.  Then, after the great escape from the Egyptian Army through the Red Sea, God told them:

Exodus 15:26:
And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.

Up to this point, the only commandments and statutes that God gave to Israel in addition to the command to leave Egypt were a few dietary ordinances.  The law had not yet come to Moses, yet adherence to these few seemingly insignificant commands guaranteed the health of His people.  Shortly afterward the people began to grumble to Moses and Aaron because they were hungry and thirsty.

Exodus 16:3:
And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

The memory of plentiful stew and bread in the land of their oppressors fueled their discontent.  It was at this point that God brought the people food.  He gave them the two types of food that they had desired: bread (manna) and meat (quail).

Exodus 16:4, 8a:
Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.  And Moses said, This shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him:

During their wilderness journey, God fed His people with “bread from heaven” called manna.

Exodus 16:15, 31
And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was.  And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.  And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.

Numbers 11:8:
And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil.

They ate this type of bread the entire time of their journey through the wilderness until it ceased when they entered the Promised Land.

Exodus 16:35:
And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.

Joshua 5:12:
And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.

Unlike flour, the manna could not be left till morning to be stored for future use.  This became a lesson for the Children of Israel to trust God to provide for their need every day, rather than hoard their own provision out of fear or greed.  If they kept any manna overnight it became putrid and inedible.

Exodus 16:19-20:
And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning.  Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them.

Because the manna could not be left until morning, it could not sit long enough to be leavened and made into the type of bread loaves they ate in Egypt.  They were told to “bake that which ye will bake today” (Exodus 16:23).  Later, after being in the wilderness some time, the people complained about “this light bread.”

Numbers 21:5:
And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.

The people did indeed have bread, they just didn’t have the type of bread they wanted, the bread they remembered from Egypt.  The bread that they desired was leavened.  This was the type of bread referred to in Deuteronomy 29:6 when God said, “Ye have not eaten bread…that ye might know that I am the LORD your God.”  Leavened bread is bread that uses the introduction of yeast and bacteria through leaven to make it rise into a fluffy loaf.  The leaven breaks down the bread and actually starts the process of corruption or decay.  The gases produced are what make the bread rise.  This process makes the bread more appealing to the senses, superior in taste, smell and texture.

This is just an excerpt from "Food in the Bible."  For the full chapter, including information regarding potential reasons for gluten sensitivity problems and solutions, you may download the book here.