Why Pray When You Can Grumble!

Alec Motyer

READ : Exodus 16:1-36

They ate manna until they reached Canaan. (v. 35 NIV)

“Daily on the manna feeding, which he gives them when they pray,” wrote John Newton. But actually the people of Israel didn’t pray, they grumbled; the manna was an act of pure grace (v. 4). The Lord looked on their needs and overlooked their unworthiness. That’s grace.

Learn these lessons from the gracious gift of manna:

  • God’s grace is a summons to obedience. If God’s people are to enjoy his grace, they must obey his word (vv. 4-5). Obedience does not prompt grace, but by obeying God’s Word we enjoy his gracious blessings. Adam and Eve enjoyed God’s garden as long as they lived under God’s Word. When Israel abandoned obedience, they lost the blessings grace would have bestowed (vv. 20, 27).
  • Grace makes the life of obedience possible (vv. 5, 26-30). There was a miraculous preservation of the gift of manna specially designed so that the people could keep the Lord’s Day without having to work (vv. 23-26).
  • The provisions of grace continue faithfully, day after day, for just as long as the Lord’s people remain in need (v. 35).

Finally, notice again how remembrance is a central part of the life of the people of grace (vv. 33-34).


Lord, help us to receive your grace, be thankful for your grace, and be obedient under your grace.