on Exodus 16:2ff:
Your grumbling is not against us but against the Lord. Goes for you too. Every time you open your mouth to complain to others about others, make no mistake about it: the one you’re really complaining about is the Lord. Because the buck stops at His desk. The Lord doesn’t take kindly to grumbling.
The implication is that Lord doesn’t have a clue what he’s up to. What ever was he thinking? Bringing this whole assembly out into the middle of a howling wasteland. Where’s the food gonna come from? Are we supposed to wait around for it to just drop out of the sky? Fat chance, that!
Grumbling against God ultimately is simply unbelief talking. It’s the conviction that God is inept, or God doesn’t care. And what really runs unbelief is that God is irking us because He’s not doing things OUR way – the way that seems best and most logical to US.
The real God, the living God, the God of Israel, He is forever doing things that appear foolish to us, but that in fact are anything but. So Israel discovered as they looked at it and asked: Manhu? What is it! And the answer? Manna. The bread that the Lord has given you to eat. Made no sense, but there it was.
And as such it pointed beyond itself to another bread that makes just about as much sense. The Bread that came down from heaven to give life to the world. He who was born in Beth-lehem, the house of bread, and put with the grain into a cow’s feeding trough. Grain that was roasted over the fire of divine love on the Cross to supply you with miracle food – food that can sustain you for the journey through the wilderness of this life as surely as the manna would supply the Israelites for their journey to Canaan.
It appears foolish to the world that a tiny piece of bread and a sip of wine could do anything for you – certainly not nourish you much. But when you even think of it, you smile. You know that His ways appear foolish, but you’ve learned that rather than grumble at them, you do well instead to open your mouth wide and let God fill it. For fill it He does. He puts into you the very body that was in the feeding trough and on the tree for you; the very blood that ran down the cross and stained the earth, blotting out your sins with the world's. He reaches it to you as food for your pilgrimage – to get you through the wilderness and into His promised land.
It is called Eucharist. Thanksgiving. For it is food that frees you from grumbling against God and each other. It drives out griping because it replaces it with thanksgiving: “Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His mercy endureth forever.” “We thank you, almighty God that You have refreshed us through this salutary (wholesome!) gift…” An amazing gift – a gift for which thanks are due always and everywhere. A gift that lifts you from being people of the gripe to people of praise. “Take and eat…” Amen!