What does Exodus 16:20 really mean?

Exodus 16:20 is about the demonstration of a lack of faith and trust in God’s provision among the Israelites, as they hoarded manna despite being instructed to only gather enough for each day.

20 But they did not listen to Moses. Some left part of it till the morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them.


Setting the Scene for Exodus 16:20

In Exodus chapter 16, we find the Israelites wandering in the desert after their escape from Egypt. The scene is set in the early morning, with a blanket of dew covering the ground and the sun just beginning to rise over the horizon. The Israelites, led by Moses and Aaron, are gathered together in the wilderness, their camp set up around the Tabernacle.

As the morning light filters through the desert landscape, the Israelites begin to stir from their tents, their faces weary from the journey but filled with hope for the promised land. The smell of manna, the bread from heaven provided by God, fills the air as the people gather their daily portion. Some are grumbling about the lack of variety in their diet, while others are grateful for God’s provision in the barren wilderness.

Moses stands before the people, his face radiant from his encounters with God on Mount Sinai. He reminds them of God’s faithfulness and instructs them to gather only what they need for the day, trusting that God will provide for them anew each morning. The scene is one of both struggle and faith, as the Israelites learn to depend on God for their daily sustenance in the midst of the harsh desert environment.

What is Exodus 16:20 about?

The provision of manna for the Israelites in the wilderness is seen in Exodus 16:20. This verse highlights God’s faithfulness to His people even in their most desperate times. The manna served as a physical reminder of God’s care and sustenance for the Israelites as they wandered in the desert. It shows us that God is always present and provides for His people’s needs, no matter how challenging the circumstances may be.

Imagine being in the shoes of the Israelites, wandering in a barren wilderness with no food to sustain you. How would you feel when you wake up to find manna, a miraculous provision from God, waiting for you? This verse reminds us of God’s abundant love and mercy, showing that He never forsakes His people, even in the most desolate of places. It teaches us to trust in God’s faithfulness and provision, knowing that He is always with us, guiding and providing for us along our journey. Let the story of the manna in Exodus 16:20 serve as a reassurance that God will meet our needs in His perfect timing and in ways beyond our understanding.

Understanding what Exodus 16:20 really means

In Exodus 16:20, we witness a poignant moment in the journey of the Israelites through the wilderness. The context is crucial to understanding the significance of this verse. The Israelites, having been liberated from Egypt, find themselves in a desolate place where God provides manna from heaven to sustain them. Moses, as the leader appointed by God, instructs the people to gather only what they need for each day, except on the day before the Sabbath.

However, some of the Israelites paid no attention to Moses’ guidance. This act of disobedience reveals a lack of trust in God’s provision. By keeping part of the manna until the next morning, they displayed a desire to hoard or rely on their own understanding rather than following God’s explicit instructions. The consequence of their disobedience is vividly depicted as the manna they hoarded became infested with maggots and began to emit a foul odor, rendering it inedible.

This passage resonates with timeless truths that are relevant to us today. It serves as a reminder to trust in God’s provision on a daily basis. In a world that often glorifies self-reliance, this verse challenges us to rely on God for our daily needs and to resist the temptation to hoard out of fear or lack of faith. It underscores the importance of obedience to God’s instructions, even when they may seem contrary to our own logic or understanding.

The consequences of disobedience highlighted in Exodus 16:20 are a sobering reminder of the dangers of straying from God’s path. Ignoring God’s guidance can lead to negative outcomes and hinder our spiritual growth. This verse prompts us to reflect on our own lives and consider areas where we may be resisting God’s instructions or relying on our own understanding instead of trusting in His plan.

Drawing parallels from related biblical passages such as Matthew 6:11, Proverbs 3:5-6, and Philippians 4:19, we find a consistent message of trusting in God’s provision and leaning on His wisdom rather than our own. These verses reinforce the importance of faith, obedience, and reliance on God in every aspect of our lives.

In conclusion, Exodus 16:20 serves as a timeless lesson for believers today. It challenges us to examine our trust in God’s provision, our obedience to His instructions, and the consequences of straying from His path. Just as the Israelites learned to depend on God for their daily sustenance, we are called to trust in His unfailing provision and to follow His guidance with unwavering faith.

How can we show trust in God’s provision daily?

One way we can show trust in God’s provision daily is by having a mindset of gratitude for what we have. When we acknowledge that all our blessings come from God, we show our trust in His provision. We demonstrate our belief that God will continue to provide for us by being thankful for the food on our table, the roof over our heads, and the relationships in our lives.

Additionally, we can show trust in God’s provision by living with a spirit of contentment. This means being satisfied with what we have and not constantly chasing after more material possessions or wealth. When we trust that God will provide for our needs, we can let go of the anxiety and worry that often come with a mindset of scarcity, and instead rest in the knowledge that He is taking care of us.

Lastly, we can show trust in God’s provision by seeking Him first in all things. When we prioritize our relationship with God above all else, we demonstrate our belief that He is the ultimate provider and sustainer. We show that we trust in His provision for every aspect of our lives by turning to Him in prayer, seeking His wisdom in decision-making, and aligning our actions with His will.


In our modern lives, let us embody the lessons of trust and simplicity found in Exodus 16:20. Just like in our work and family, let’s show our belief in God’s abundance by letting go of our hoarding mentality. Embrace each day with faith and gratitude, knowing that God’s provisions are always enough. Are you ready to release the burden of excess and place your trust in His unwavering care?