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The State of Mind

by Tim O'Hearn

"And the house of Israel called its name Manna: and it was white like coriander seed; and its taste was like a cake fried in honey." (Ex. 16:31)

"The people went about and gathered, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it; and its taste was the taste of fresh oil." (Num. 11:8)

Over the years scholars have asked why scripture describes the taste of manna in one place as "like a cake fried in honey," and in another like fresh oil. What was it that made the marked difference in taste? Some have concluded that manna took on the flavor of the thoughts of the eater. That is, like the shmoo in the Liíl Abner comic strip, if you think steak it tastes like steak; if chocolate then it tasted like that dietary essential. But then why would some people think it tasted bland and oily? The context of Numbers 11 shows that they were in a complaining mood. Then it describes the oily taste. Itís all a matter of attitude.

Some people can look at a miracle of God and see a miracle. Others look at it and see vegetable oil. Some see the world around us and see nothing; others the wonders of Godís creation. Some see Jesus as a "good man" while others see the Messiah, the savior of the world. Itís all a matter of attitude.

Moses tells us that when Israel first saw the food from heaven they said: "Manna?" This was a Hebrew-Egyptian word meaning "what." Some may have agreed with modern "scholars" that it might have been a natural substance they coincidentally came upon. They didnít fully see the miracle, so they said, "What is it?" Later they realized that when they gathered too much it spoiled, not enough and it increased to the exact measure required, and on the eve of Sabbath the leftovers didnít spoil. Then the scripture says, "They called it Manna." Their expression changed from "What is it?" to "It is what!" It is what God gives. Itís all a matter of attitude.

Yet in spite of the miracle, some complained. They said, "We should have stayed in Egypt," forgetting that in Egypt they had complained about their hardship, too.

Some people had an attitude that wouldnít be happy with a miracle of God. They wanted happiness, but were disappointed with the "things" they thought would bring it. As someone once said: Everyone looks for the City of Happiness, but they fail to realize that the City of Happiness is in the State of Mind.