Part 9: Bread of Presence
When I see dried out dinner rolls, I think to myself, "Yum, these would be perfect to make a bread pudding." And when I'm eating bread pudding I think, "Yum, we dry these slices out and we could fry them up to make the most glorious french toast." And that, my friends, is ultimate bread repurpose. You might as well call me green.
After re-reading most of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, I felt like my hanger for more of God that kickstarted a study on the 300+ times "bread" is used in the Bible, led me to the most interesting bread repurpose.
After Adam & Eve fail to resist temptation, God's description of the curse upon us involved working hard to cultivate what we need to make and eat bread. So I started referring to that first use of bread in the Bible as bread of the curse. Later we learn that bread becomes a significant part of the story of God breaking his people out of slavery through the exodus as unleavened bread becomes a sign of their freedom. Interestingly enough, this unleavened bread (the sign of God's freedom to His people) is something God called "bread of hardship" in Deuteronomy 16. The imagery lessons of the bread of the curse are repurposed into a lesson on the bread of hardship and now we see that bread is repurposed into manna, the bread of presence.
This is what Moses has to say about preserving manna...
Exodus 16:32-35 Moses said, "This is what the Lord has commanded: 'Two quarts of it are to be preserved throughout your generations, so that they may see the bread I fed you in the wilderness when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.'" Moses told Aaron, "Take a container and put two quarts of manna in it. Then place it before the Lord to be preserved throughout your generations." As the Lord commanded Moses, Aaron placed it before the testimony to be preserved. The Israelites ate manna for 40 years, until they came to an inhabited land. They ate manna until they reached the border of the land of Canaan.
God has always and will always be near to people. He was present during creation hovering over the waters as he created the heavens and the earth. He was present in the garden so that Adam and Eve could hear His footsteps. He was present with the wandering Israelites through a cloud by day and a fire by night, and He met them at the Tent of Meeting. And then He is present with His people through the Tabernacle which would eventually morph to the Temple which would ultimately be fulfilled in Jesus and eventually passed on to us as our bodies are the temple of God. God has always and will always be near to us, and today I want you to zoom in on how God repurposed the bread of the curse into the bread of hardship into the bread of his presence.
The bread was gathered every day to sustain the Israelites wandering through the wilderness. Manna is first referred to as the bread of presence in Exodus 25 as instructions for the Tabernacle are given.
Exodus 25:30 "Put the bread of the Presence on the table before Me at all times."
God asked His people to build a Tabernacle so that He could be near to them, commune with them, and make His presence known. And part of the sacred blueprint included instructions to put some of the manna on top of the Ark of the Covenant. The bread of presence was so holy that none but the Levites could even LOOK at the stuff let alone touch it (Numbers 4).
Exodus 40:16-22 "Moses did everything just as the Lord had commanded him. The tabernacle was set up in the first month of the second year, on the first day of the month. Moses set up the tabernacle: he laid its bases, positioned its planks, inserted its crossbars, and set up its posts. Then he spread the tent over the tabernacle and put the covering of the tent on top of it, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. Moses took the testimony and placed it in the ark, and attached the poles to the ark. He set the mercy seat on top of the ark. He brought the ark into the tabernacle, put up the veil for the screen, and screened off the ark of the testimony, just as the Lord had commanded him. Moses placed the table in the tent of meeting on the north side of the tabernacle, outside the veil. He arranged the bread on it before the Lord, just as the Lord had commanded him."
Moses was obedient and detail conscious because what is more important than setting ourselves up to commune with the one true living God? After Moses finished the work of setting up the Tabernacle...
Exodus 40:34-38 "The cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses was unable to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud rested on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. The Israelites set out whenever the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle throughout all the stages of their journey. If the cloud was not taken up, they did not set out until the day it was taken up. For the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and there was a fire inside the cloud by night, visible to the entire house of Israel throughout all the stages of their journey."
Yeah He did. Yeah it was. Because God Almighty is the God who graciously provides the bread of the curse so that we can survive our rebellions. Because God Almighty is the God who releases us from the bread of hardship when our society tries to enslave us. Because God Almighty is the God who provides our daily manna when we wander in the wilderness of sin, reject His gracious provisions, and disobey His commandments that are for our good. Because God Almighty will use the bread of the presence to be visible through all the stages of our spiritual journey.
Our ever-present God is always near to us. And when we feel far away from Him, lost in our spiritual wanderings, depressed by our cycle of sin, He will set up a table for us in the wilderness.
Hebrews 4:14-16 "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens—Jesus the Son of God—let us hold fast to the confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time."
In a season of great spiritual hunger, I started to follow the breadcrumb trail through the sacred scriptures to find the most satisfying bread for our soul: Jesus.
This led to an obsession with the 300+ times “bread” is mentioned in the holy scriptures, and you’re reading the results, a 16 part bible study: I.Love.Carbs.
Let's break bread together. You could start from the beginning here & be sure to sign up to get the latest blog post delivered right to your inbox >>>>>