Remember the Israelites in the wilderness? Bet you thought I would never get back to them, well I figured we ought to check in on them. They have just crossed the Red Sea, God did a mighty miracle of dividing the Red Sea. My husband and I were watching the Creation Moments program on TBN last night and Carl Baugh was giving some facts and figures about the Exodus. I wish I had a pen and pencil to take some notes, but alas I did not. But the miracle of the Red Sea was even more spectacular than we sometimes imagine. There were over a million Israelites leaving Egypt, to cross over the Red Sea, they did not cross over two by two, but to do it in a night they had to be 3,000 or more abreast, so the parting of the Red Sea was not just a tiny parting, but a huge gap.
Then he went over the amount of food and water that two million or more would have to be fed. One set of figures that I saw was that for 6 pints of manna, if there were 2 million people, it would be 12 million pints every single day of manna – for forty years! That wold translate into 9 million pounds, 4,500 tons daily. It would take 10 trains with 30 boxcars to bring that much manna to the people each day! Then add to that water, and realize that when God provided water for the people, it was not a tiny well with a trickle of water. Then there would be campfires with wood needed to burn which God had to grow up years previously to provide the fuel, and space for so many people to camp. This was not something Moses could have plotted out our provided, but had to have been the hand of God. And, even though these people did not make it into the Promised Land (their children and Joshua and Caleb did), it is no less of a miracle of God’s provision for the people, to preserve them so that future generations would receive the promise.
Exodus 16:1 And they journeyed from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came to the Wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they departed from the land of Egypt.
Remember, God is taking the people along a series of campsites that help them to grow spiritually, much the same way that Elisha and Elijah went on their trek. Elim means mighty ones, and God sure showed the people His might when he parted the Red Sea and then drowned Pharaoh’s army. El – also is God. Elim also means Palms, and it was an oasis place of rest after the victory. SINAI means thorny, and SIN means thorn, clay. So It is pretty fitting that after leaving the oasis, the victory, much the same way as Elisha and Elijah went down to the Jordan, the Israelites are now going to be going into a thorny situation, into the wilderness of Sin, and facing what we, as clay vessels face. A test and a trial to test where we are in our faith. Their test and trial will be over provision.
Isn’t it funny how we are all tested in the realm of provision. God gives us so much, from salvation, love, comfort. He is sovereign and we sing songs and claim to make him sovereign over our lives, then a trial comes and we squeal and whine about where is God. I do not like trials and tests, but they sure are a good thermometer of our level of faith. The Israelites saw God keep His promise of freedom from Egypt, riches, He parted the Red Sea, destroyed the enemy. Songs were sung and rejoicing given, and now at the next challenge, they complain. You know, Pastor Don often teaches that we need to remember past victories when new trials come our way, so that we can build up our faith and trust God for the next victory. Me, way too often, I want status quo, and God pushes me kicking and screaming to a new level of trust.
Now before I share the next few verses, let’s have a reality check. The Israelites were slaves. They were beaten, forced to work long and hard hours. Their sons were being killed off by Pharaoh, and I guarantee that the Egyptians devalued their lives so much that they probably had pretty poor fare for food. Now listen to what transpires. I love the Bible when it lets us be a fly on the wall and overhear conversations.
Exodus 16:2-3 Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.
Oh how often our physical hungers govern us. Some days, if I haven’t had my morning cup of coffee you may not want to know me. Pots of meat could also be flesh pots. When we get freed from an area of bondage in our lives, whatever the bondage, satan reminds us of the kicks that we had when we were in bondage. He might remind us of the great party we went to before we chose to leave that lifestyle, the pleasure of that last rich desert we had before dieting, or if you were addicted to drugs, the kind of release and euphoria you had with your last drug taking. Satan certainly will not remind you of how the thing that held us in bondage kicked us back. He won’t remind us of the hangover, the extra weight that causes such pain in our lives, and the gnawing desire that comes with drug addiction. He may even let us go back to our old ways for a season with little repercussion, but there will be a judgment. The Israelites forgot what they were crying out for deliverance from in Egypt. Let us remember that we do not want to go back to our Egypts, that we need to focus on God and keep our steps going towards the real goal of lasting value.
Notice something else, Moses and Aaron did not lead them from Egypt, God did. And they are now reasoning that God brought them out to kill them. This is a false accusation against God, He could have left them in Egypt and let the Egyptians do that for Him.
Exodus 16:4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.
Oh, how incredible this is. God is going to rain bread from heaven – lots of bread. And God is not going to just fill up their pots, the people will have to do some work to get this bread – they will have to gather a CERTAIN QUOTA – and how they gather the bread will also be a test – will they obey God or not.
I love that God cared so much for his people that, instead of raining fire and brimstone for their grousing and questioning the authority of Moses and Aaron, he will rain down bread. We know that Bread is also representative of the Bread of Life, Jesus. Of communion with God.
This bread is going to be called MANNA – and the literal translation of that is “What is this?” or more exactly, “What’s it?” It is sort of a derogatory name that the people gave this Bread from Heaven – kind of like when I would give my kids a new food, they would stare at it and ask me with derision, “What’s this?” God never (except one time when he was quoting the people’s vernacular) called the manna anything but Bread. And for God, since His son was our Bread of life, we can see why He would not want to use a derogatory term.
I think I will wait to go more into Manna later. There is so much to cover about Manna.
Hoping you have a blessed day. Tonight is Bible Study, YEAH!
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