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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

August 9, 2017

Exodus  16

  1. As we continue our study, we will now look at the “manna” or bread that God would feed the people with during their wilderness experience. We must remember that the Israelites had no idea that the lessons they would learn are spiritual lessons for us to see. They experienced them in the flesh and we will experience them in the spiritual. They lived by this physical bread, and we will need to live by the true bread which is Christ. The bread is a picture of the word of God. This bread will come and feed the people as a symbol of how God's word feeds our souls. It is the word of God which brings about new life in the believer (Rom 1:16, Eph 1:13-14). The issue is to trust the word of God. To consume the bread of life daily. Do you get your daily bread? What are some ways we can get our daily bread? One of the main ideas that we have come to see as we study the biblical text is this idea of “trust in God.” This seems to be an overarching theme that cannot be avoided. God wants his people to trust him unequivocally. To be fair, the children of Israel are like babes in the Lord in the sense they are not used to walking with God daily. This is all new to them. One of the challenges we still face as believers is simply trusting God with our lives. What we will notice is that God teaches them to trust by testing them with regards to their basic needs such as food, water, and protection. We can look at these wilderness scenarios as basic training for the believer.

  2. Verses 1-3. A month passed between the time Israel departed from Egypt to the time when the nation reached the Desert of Sin. Water had already been a problem (cf. 15:22-26), and now they had run out of food. How often do we fail to learn from previous lessons? What is an example of a time when God blessed you and shortly after you struggled to trust God for something else? Their growling stomachs soon produced grumbling lips. The whole assembly grumbled against Moses and Aaron. They said they would rather have died in Egypt than to have been brought out into the desert to starve to death. Grumbling almost never occurs when we are experiencing pleasure, but nearly always when we are in pain. In our passage, there is a definite relationship between the Israelites’ growling stomachs and their grumbling lips. Grumbling results from a difference between the way we perceive things to be and the way we think they should be. The problem is that when we grumble our perception of how things are is distorted. Grumbling distorts the facts. In our text, Israel greatly exaggerated the benefits of Egypt. They said they “sat” (v.3) by their fleshpots, and that they ate “all they wanted” of a great variety of foods and meat. This is an exaggeration if not an outright lie. How often have we painted our past as something great when we know it was horrible? If the Egyptians made them gather their own straw and were attempting to kill boy babies, why would they be concerned to feed the Israelites so well? Also, their perception of their own imminent danger of starvation was greatly exaggerated. They believed that their hunger was starvation. No one had yet starved; at best, a few had begun to feel hunger. What is a time you made your problem bigger than it really was? Worst of all, perhaps, they accused Moses of leading them into the wilderness to kill them. Their perception of Moses’ motivation was entirely distorted. LEADERS PREPARE YOURSELF TO GET BLAMED!! Finally, Israel's perception of God's care and compassion is questioned. The people had forgotten that it was God who was leading them, not only by Moses, but also by the cloud which was before them. Ultimately, Israel's grumbling was a protest against God’s leadership. Grumbling is the result of a failure in our faith. It reveals a lack of faith, for the grumbler does not see the good hand of God.

  3. Verses 4-16. Knowing that Israel's grumbling was the result of her lack of faith, God responded to it in a way that showed his patience with the people. Later, the grumbling of the Israelites resulted in some painful chastisement (The difference between God's response to Israel’s grumblings here in Exodus 16 and Numbers 11 is time spent with God in the wilderness. Here, the Israelites have spent but one month following God, and are relatively immature in their faith, in Numbers 11 they have walked with God for a while). God responded gently and graciously to the grumblings of the Israelites. Rather than to rebuke them for their complaining. He did two things, both of which were intended to demonstrate His presence with His people in their affliction and adversity. First, He revealed His glory to the Israelites by some special manifestation of Himself in the cloud by which He had been leading them (16:10). Second, God provided His people with quail and with manna. God provided the Israelites with this “bread from heaven” (16:4). It appears that the quail was only given one day, but the bread came every day except for the last day of the week. Notice God says that they are to get twice as much as they need on the sixth day, and gather none on the seventh day. God is instituting rest and grace into their mindset. Prior to this they worked every day. God is going to teach the people about rest and trust. These instructions were intended to test the Israelites as well as to teach them obedience and increase their faith. Israel was to gather only what was required for that day. It appears that every Israelite was required to gather manna for his own needs. Manna was to be gathered daily, and only enough for that day was to be gathered. Any excess from that day was to be disposed of at the end of the day. In other words, manna could not be stored up or hoarded. The manna which God provided appears to be very nutritious. Israel was given nourishment and energy for the rigorous task of desert travel. It appeared every morning, except on the Sabbath. The manna appeared in the morning and disappeared in the heat of the day. The manna would not keep, except over the Sabbath.

  4. Verses 17-18. God supernaturally made sure that everyone had exactly what they needed. If someone was only able to get a little bit, they ended up with enough, if someone gathered a lot they ended up with just enough. God is imposing a system of equity in the community so that jealousy and greed can’t enter in with regards to daily provision. This system would not fly in our capitalistic culture. This is not about lazy people verses hard workers. We are sure this is about the strong verses the weak. A stronger person or younger person could gather more than a weak or older person. Equity doesn't always mean equality. Equity is about outcome, whereas equality is about assuming everyone is the same. Everyone is not the same so equity in outcome is better than equality. I can give a baby a cookbook and an adult a cookbook, but only one can read the book and cook. This is the problem in our society. We think things are equal but due to historical and systematic oppression and discrimination, things are not equitable. Our society gives the outer impression of equality while maintaining an underbelly of inequity and bias. The point of grace is to bring us all to the place of salvation regardless of how far we were from the Lord. Grace brings us all into the kingdom.

  5. Verses 19-20. Even though God gave specific instructions not to keep the manna overnight for the first five days, some people tried it anyway. When they got up the next morning the manna had maggots in it. Some people were hoping they could skip some manna gathering days by keeping some, but God was showing them they always need fresh manna, daily bread. We are to seek God daily.

  6. Verses 21-30. It is now that God shows us something about the Sabbath day. The Sabbath day is the end of the week not the first of the week. For us that would mean it is Saturday not Sunday. The Israelites were told to gather enough bread for the day the first five days, and then on the sixth day gather twice as much and do not gather any on the seventh day. Of course, some people tried to gather bread on the seventh day, but found none. God was trying to input the idea of resting in God's provision. The seventh day rest was to teach the Israelites that God would supernaturally supply rest. This was a picture of Christ. Jesus is the bread that you don't work for, the bread that you eat in your rest. Why do you think some went out on the seventh day when they had enough at home to eat?

  7. Verses 31-36. We are told that the people called the bread manna meaning which means “what is this?” What do you think is the importance of this name? The people were told to take some of the manna and save it for generations to come. This manna never rotted away for generations. We are told that the people ate the manna for forty years.

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