Exodus 16:1-18 People complain, God provides manna.
Manna requires faith in what God gives.
This passage starts with words from us, from the people of God, in the middle of being delivered from slavery and death, in the wilderness, on their way to land of promise. Their words are not words of praise or worship or thanksgiving. They aren’t even words of hopeful prayer about the next day, or week.
God hears those words, and responds by speaking to Moses. God responds with another promise. A short term, easy to prove promise – meat and bread. The people’s words and God’s words move this story. They move the story from a place where people have no trust in God, but would rather be back in Egypt, back in the old days, back in slavery, than free in the wilderness.
The people don’t trust God. They may not trust Moses and Aaron, but as Moses points out that’s really because they don’t trust God. So God responds, both to their immediate issue (food) and to the larger issue of their mistrust. God’s answer is manna and quail. And the way that God answers their words is a way that helps them build trust. It isn’t a one time gift, it is a day by day gift and blessing, that they cannot hoard, cannot take too much of, and cannot exhaust. It is an important learning for the people of God then and now to learn about God’s daily bread and God’s faithfulness, which cannot be hoarded, which is always the right amount, and which repeats day by day, even in the wilderness.