Joshua knew whenever the manna storm started. There was the whoosh of wind. The whole camp froze with that breath of God’s power. They had gotten used to the pillar of fire at night and the cloud that hovered over them in the day. But this whoosh had so much force, it registered. It did not melt into the environment like the cloud and pillar.

Then came the soft pitter patter. Such an environment of love and warmth embraced the camp, men looked for women to cuddle. And children lay their heads on the laps of parents. Dawn time for families. That is how Joshua thought about the time for the manna storm. When it ended, the ground was ankle deep in soft sweet flakes. Grind it. Bake it. Cook it. Every which way worked. The only thing that didn’t work was if you failed to measure what you took of it, or failed to keep it stored properly and neatly.

God’s instruction was for every person to collect an Omer. As lightweight as it was, it was enough to fill up the belly of each person, young or old. Very odd.

Manna. What is this? This was the question evoked by this magical food for weeks after it started. And that is what its name became. Manna. Food that had to be carefully measured. Diligently weighed. Consistently gathered. Meticulously guarded and doubly gathered on the day before the Sabbath. It did not allow for carelessness. It compelled attention. Food that taught discipline. Manna?

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