There is a delightful little fiction book on my shelf called The Princess and the Goblin, by George MacDonald. I would like to highlight a particular line: “The dew lay in round drops upon the leaves, and hung like tiny diamond earrings from the blades of grass about her path.” This touches my writer’s heart, describing the dew as precious jewels – diamond earrings.
Here’s a definition of “dew”: a copious (abundantly yielding) mist, shedding small invisible rain. It’s been said that dew is sufficiently copious to permit dry farming in the absence of rain. The dew is a subtle kind of rain, isn’t it? It’s just sort of there. You can see the results of it, but it doesn’t really announce its’ arrival. It reminds me of the way in which God oftentimes abides with us. As a matter of fact, “dry farming” also depicts seasons of my life when my journey with Jesus is challenging and I’m feeling mostly NOT refreshed. Thankfully, “dry farming” is better than no farming at all. There is still food to eat and at the end of the day, I am replenished. Let’s go to the Bible to look at the dew’s shining moment on God’s stage.
God’s people had been about a year in the Mount Sinai region, camped around the Tabernacle. Now, for the first time, the cloud was moving, which meant they were moving. The delay in the journey to the promised land was not sitting well with the people. They were murmuring about their situation. The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, ‘If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost, also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna.’ Num. 11:4-6
Definition of “rabble” – the lowest class of people, a mob. They had lost their appetite for the things of God and so their former slavery began to look appealing; at least the food had more variety! To make a spiritual application, the “rabble” that so easily falls prey to a mutinous attitude, is the lower nature in you and me; the flesh, the carnal appetite that seeks to be satisfied. In times of severe testing, I have found that the “mob” just shows up; I don’t even have to seek it out. I just naturally emit my murmuring and complaining and begin to reason how I can relocate to anywhere but where I presently am. What an astounding lack of wisdom and yet a choice often made!
We are told that the dew soaked manna was cooked in a pot and made into cakes and that it tasted like something made with olive oil. I would like to think that I would be among those who did NOT murmur; that I would marvel at “God’s Rain” by which He nourished me for the journey. When the dew settled on the camp at night, the manna also came down. Num. 11:9. A verse from the Psalms casts another light: He rained down manna for the people to eat, he gave them the grain of heaven. Men ate the bread of angels. Ps. 78:24-25
The Lord desires to encounter us on a daily basis; hence the requirement that the manna be gathered each and every day. It’s imperative that we appreciate the way in which God chooses to encounter us, especially in the dry seasons. One prophet describes God Himself as the dew. I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them. I will be like the dew to Israel. Hos. 14:4-5 God likens Himself to the dew, the night mist, the invisible rain. The results of our God encounters are stunning: He (Israel) will blossom like a lily…his splendor will be like an olive tree, his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon. Hos. 14:5-6
Jesus clearly compares Himself to the manna and the transcendent experience we have when we partake of Him. In a sense, “God’s Rain” fell from heaven once again, unassuming as the dew, quietly settling into a stable to be incarnated into the human race. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. Jn. 6:48-51
The dew of God, these “tiny diamond earrings”, were a forerunner for the Pearl of great price, the bread from heaven that was to come.