Exodus 16:1-5; 11-20
Studying for this lesson it brought a story to mind so I looked it up and here is a short version I found.
In 1519, Captain Hernán Cortés landed in Veracruz to begin his great conquest. Upon arriving, he gave the order to his men to burn the ships. Cortés was on a mission and he knew that the only way to keep himself or his men from quitting on the mission was to take that option off the table.
“That doesn’t make sense.”
What Cortés did was force himself and his men to either succeed or die.
To truly achieve the level of success we each desire, there are times when we need to “burn the ships.”
The question we have to ask ourselves is this: What are my ships? What am I afraid to let go of?
Matthew 14:27-30 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
That same thought process goes along with our decision to be obedient to God. Are we going to follow Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior or are we getting back in the boat?
Let’s read Exodus 16:1-5 The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. 2 In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” 4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. 5 On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.”
So what is the people’s complaint? That they don’t have enough to eat.
What were they comparting their situation to? Life in Egypt where they had pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted.
Ok, they were slaves in Egypt, do you really think they had all the food we wanted?
They had what the needed, but most assuredly they did not have all they wanted.
They would be like someone saying “ole the good old days”. Really? How good were they?
I remember an older gentleman said to be one time… “some people brag about the good old days”. Well dang the good old days! I don’t remember them being so good. I like my air condition, I like my car, I like be comfortable”
The Israelites were only remembering what and how they thought it was but because they had become too “comfortable” being slaves.
Their hunger made them forget what God was doing for them.
Just one month after leaving the land of Egypt…they have been freed after crying out in slavery, they had left Egypt with provisions, saved by the miracle at the Red Sea and now they forgot to honor God for the blessings they had.
Who were they directing their anger at? Against Moses and Aaron.
This is the exact idea behind the phrase “don’t shoot the messenger”
Where was Moses and Aaron getting their instructions? God!
So who were they really complaining against? God!
But even after all their complaining what did God do?
Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you.
We must be careful to not read this and say we would never act like this toward God.
Because do we act like that toward God? Oh yes! Don’t believe it?
Can we get through one day without complaining?
Remember, everything we have: our car, our family, our money, our house, the food in the refrigerator, or in the cabinets are all from God.
But how many times do we complain about something we don’t have?
If God thought we needed it, He would supply it.
Like a lot of things in our lives it may not be NO you can’t have it, but instead, not right now.
God has a reason and has a time for all of us.
In verse 4 the Lord said “I will test them” what was the test?
To find the answer we need to look at another book of the Bible.
Turn to Deuteronomy 8:2-3 Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands. 3 Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
What was God doing to the Israelites and what is He doing for us?
Turn to John 5:22-24 In addition, the Father judges no one. Instead, he has given the Son absolute authority to judge, 23 so that everyone will honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son is certainly not honoring the Father who sent him. 24 “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.
The Israelites, just like many living today are worried about dying in this life when God is preparing us for the next life.
We are being tested today to see if we will be obedient to take the bread offered to us.
It says in John 6:35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Which is the exact reason He sent Jesus Christ to die for our sins so that we will no longer be slaves to sin by believing in Him!
Let’s read Exodus 16:11-20 The Lord said to Moses, 12 “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’” 13 That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Everyone is to gather as much as they need. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent.’” 17 The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. 18 And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed. 19 Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.” 20 However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them.
While our lesson does not specifically mention water there are things that indicate that they had enough of it.
The people did not complain about NOT having water. If they didn’t have it, you know they would have complained.
But to see how God provided it…….
Turn back to Exodus 15:22-27 Then Moses led the people of Israel away from the Red Sea, and they moved out into the desert of Shur. They traveled in this desert for three days without finding any water. 23 When they came to the oasis of Marah, the water was too bitter to drink. So they called the place Marah (which means “bitter”). 24 Then the people complained and turned against Moses. “What are we going to drink?” they demanded. 25 So Moses cried out to the Lord for help, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. Moses threw it into the water, and this made the water good to drink. It was there at Marah that the Lord set before them the following decree as a standard to test their faithfulness to him. 26 He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.” 27 After leaving Marah, the Israelites traveled on to the oasis of Elim, where they found twelve springs and seventy palm trees. They camped there beside the water.
So we know God has provided them water and told them the bread is coming.
And now even after complaining against Him, God says I will give you even more. I will provide you with meat!
The Lord responds to the complaints of the Israelites by showing them exactly how He planned to provide for them. Essentially, He would provide new food to them day by day—bread in the morning and quail in the evening.
Turn back to Exodus 12:34-39 The Israelites took their bread dough before yeast was added. They wrapped their kneading boards in their cloaks and carried them on their shoulders. 35 And the people of Israel did as Moses had instructed; they asked the Egyptians for clothing and articles of silver and gold. 36 The Lord caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the Israelites, and they gave the Israelites whatever they asked for. So they stripped the Egyptians of their wealth!37 That night the people of Israel left Rameses and started for Succoth. There were about 600,000 men, plus all the women and children. 38 A rabble of non-Israelites went with them, along with great flocks and herds of livestock. 39 For bread they baked flat cakes from the dough without yeast they had brought from Egypt. It was made without yeast because the people were driven out of Egypt in such a hurry that they had no time to prepare the bread or other food.
Why did the Israelites need manna if they had flocks/herds of animals that they could eat?
The fact is that the Bible doesn’t explain why they did not—or could not—eat the animals from their flocks.
But some reasons may include;
Being short sighted they may have seen their livestock as their source of income.
Another point is that they should have made the trip in 10 days and they probably had that much food
They had already been on the road for 30 days
Whatever the reason, the point is that it wasn’t food that the Israelites lacked; it was faith.
Do you remember in our lesson a couple of weeks ago, the detailed instructions God gave them on the Passover lamb?
Same thing here: God gave very detailed instructions on how much and when everyone was supposed to collect the manna.
Everyone is to gather as much as they need.
Take two quarts for each person you have in your tent.’”
“No one is to keep any of it until morning.”
They could only gather enough for one day except on the sixth day
The point of this was to teach them that He is the God who provides.
It says the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.
Let me share some Bible wisdom that goes along with the meaning of this passage.
Acts 10:34-35 Then Peter replied, “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. 35 In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right.
2 Corinthians 8:14-15 Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal. 15 As the Scriptures say, “Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough.
Philippians 2:4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
Deuteronomy 5:12 “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you.
It’s about obeying God, loving our brothers and sisters and honoring God in both.
The Israelites did as they were told, meaning they did at least go out and collect the manna.
But how did they collect it?
It says that some gathered much and some gathered little.
OK, how much were they supposed to gather? Two Quarts per person.
Did they listen to how much they should collect? NO!
Did they listen to how long they should keep it? NO!
It says “some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell.”
What’s the life lesson? Disobedience brings Consequences
It says in Luke 12:47-48 “And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished. 48 But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.
For many of us, Hurricanes Mathew, Harvey, and Irma is a reminder of how fragile our life really can be.
Don’t just read this story and let the miracle slip right by you, because it so easy for us to do that. We need to realize what is happening.
We are impressed, as we should be, with the two different feedings of the multitude by Jesus. The first feeding is of 5,000 people and the later one is of 4,000.
In our lesson today the Lord provides water, manna, and meat for two million plus people in the desert for the next 40 years!
I will close with this little story…….
“Each morning, a woman walked to her front gate and shouted, “Praise the Lord!” And each time the atheist next door would yell back, “There is no Lord!” One day she prayed, “Lord, I’m hungry. Please send me some food.” The following morning, she discovered a big bag of groceries on her front porch. “Praise the Lord,” she shouted. Suddenly, her neighbor jumped from behind a bush. “I told you there was no Lord,” he said. “I bought those groceries for you.” “Praise the Lord!” the woman said. “He not only sent me groceries, He made the devil pay for them.”
God can and will provide for His people!
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