“And they ate of the old corn of the land….unleavened bread and parched grain…” Joshua 5.11
Joshua 5.12 says and the manna ceased on the day they ate of the old corn of the land. What is the difference between the manna and the old corn of the land? The old corn means the ‘produce of Canaan’, i.e. the wheat and the barley. (This does not refer to maize, or genetically modified American corn, btw!)
In the wilderness they are the manna, but in the promised land they ate the grain produced in Canaan. They ate unleavened bread and parched (roasted) grain. We are talking of two different experiences in the life of a child of God. The wilderness stage is the primary stage. The manna came down from heaven. It was like frost upon the ground, a small round substance like coriander seed and the colour of bdellium (Num 11.7). Its taste was like the taste of pastry prepared with oil, Num 11.8. Or like wafers made with honey, Exod 16.31. It was ground on millstones and beaten in the mortar and cooked in pans in the shape of (flat) cakes. It must have been soft and easy to eat and digest.
The unleavened bread (made of wheat) required chewing. But what is interesting here is the ‘parched grain’. This is wheat grain freshly cut and roasted over a flame. The wheat is still greenish and not yet dried and hard and golden. It was strong healthy food. Jesse sent David with parched grain to his brothers on the battle-front (1 Sam 17.17). Abigail brought parched grain to David in the wilderness in 1 Sam 25.18. When David was in exile (after Absalom’s rebellion), his supporters brought parched grain, 2 Sam 17.28. We know that Boaz gave Ruth roasted or parched grain to eat, Ruth 2.14. This food is for those in trial and conflict. In Palestine today, parched grain or roasted green wheat is still a staple food in the countryside; it’s called ‘farike’. In other parts of the world, we eat broken wheat, also called ‘bulgar’ or ‘durum’ wheat. This is a healthy food, and far superior to polished rice or refined wheat flour. We remember the words in Heb 5:13, 14. Many prefer milk, when actually they are in need of ‘meat’ (strong food). But who will take the pains of ‘chewing’ on parched grain?
I said ‘chewing’. That means we need to meditate on God’s Word. Not enough to just read God’s Word every day, but we must ‘dig deep’ into it. And not only meditate over it, but also ‘obey’ it. Remember Mary’s words in Luke 1.38: “Let it be to me according to your word!” We must submit to God’s Word, be ruled by it – in short, obey it. “Obey My voice” is the repeated refrain in the book of Jeremiah. That could mean, not only read the Word, but also ‘hear’ the voice of God in His Word, and then submit to the spoken word!
The wilderness experience is the childhood stage of the believer. But the adult stage is the Canaan experience. We are to be overcomers, and possess our inheritance in Christ – His fullness, i.e. an abundant, fruitful, victorious life. That comes while fighting the good fight of faith!