Exodus 16-20; In this weeks reading we find that Jehovah Jireh [the Lord Provides] is overwhelmingly present. Actually we need to look back at Exodus 15 to see the beginning of God’s providence to Israel during their wandering in the wilderness. Soon after the deliverance from the Egyptians by the strong hand of God, through the Red Sea, and the Egyptians destruction; Moses spontaneously sing a song to the LORD. At this point I would like to challenge you with a thought – Every time Israel comes to a point of “crossing over” they cannot return to the place they left. Two points, after they fled Egypt, even though they wanted to return at times, they couldn’t; also when Israel crosses over the Jordan River they couldn’t return to the wilderness. The only option Israel had, was to stay where they were, which is just what the did in the first attempt to go into the Promised Land. The point is this, we also must understand that once we “cross a point of growth” we cannot go back! When Israel entered into the Promise Land it was an “all in or nothing move.” The same is true for believers – if there is going to be an “abundant living” then believers must be ALL IN and never return to the old life – otherwise they will be “carnal” and miserable.
In Exodus 15; soon after the mighty display of God’s power the people begin to complain because they have no water; when the get to Marah [bitter] the water is unfit to drink. Moses is instructed to throw a “tree” into the waters and the waters became sweet. Folks the point here is the Christian life without Christ is bitter, it takes the Cross of Christ and the “tree” makes life sweet. We find that God was testing them – He has blessed them, delivered them and the first chance they get they complain and grumble. Moving to Exodus 16; the people complain and grumble because they have no food. The whole assembly is against Moses and Aaron. As a Pastor this is disheartening because the short memory of God’s people. God blesses us and we are ungrateful. Every time Israel and we come to a point of discomfort we complain. Many believers think that the Christian life is about their comfort – way wrong, yet there are many preachers that hold to a “health and wealth gospel.” So God hears the complaining and the intercession of Moses and provides the Manna. Yet the collection has restrictions attached. They were to collect enough for one day, no more no less. Even when they get greedy, God limits the amount of His blessing. Also they can collect enough for two days no the 6th day so the Sabbath will be observed. One other restriction – leave nothing over night. That means that everyday they must go out and collect the Manna from God. God will provide, but we must also do our part in receiving the blessing from God. Daily Manna, daily blessings are ours if we will obey God. But that isn’t the case; Israel was greedy and disobedient. They collected more than they could eat, they kept it overnight and it rotted. They also tried to go out on the Sabbath and collect their daily ration – it wasn’t there! Can it be true of us today, we hear the Word of God and read the Word of God yet be very disobedient to it, then wonder why the Blessings of God are not ours! Manna wasn’t enough – have you ever noticed that no matter how much you give some people, they always want more! Like us, no matter how much mercy and grace God gives, we want more and more, all the while being ungrateful to Him. This time the want meat. God had given them water and bread, not enough, we want meat – oh don’t you remember they say “the flesh pots” back in Egypt. Nostalgic thoughts about our former life are always better in our minds than they were in reality. The grumbling continues and again Moses interceded – God listened and provided quail in the evening. Manna in the morning and quail in the evening and Water from the Rock – what more does a person need? Water from the Rock – a great story; just like water became sweet because of the Tree [Cross], now the people complain because they have moved and want water, they were so afraid of dying of thirst or hunger, yet God provided [Jehovah Jireh!] Mose is told to strike the Rock – in obedience he does and the water pour out. Jesus our Savior was struck, the Rock of our salvation; struck the Blood, the soul cleansing blood of Jesus came forth and again Salvation was provided [Jehovah Jireh!] The sad part of our reading this week is the ungrateful grumbling and complaining from the people of God – Challenge are we any different today?