Life of Moses
A New Kind of Daily Bread: Manna from Heaven…
Introduction: Have you been hungry lately? Are you a bit hungry now? Have you ever felt like what it truly is to be hungry? Anyone ever fasted before? When you are hungry, you are….. Grouchy? Whining? Irritable? What is your first thought? And then when you have satisfied your hunger, then what? Do you get hungry again? Why? How do you know that you are hungry? What is hunger’s function to the human body? What about Spiritual food? Just like real food, do you think that the soul needs Spiritual food everyday or as often as we need physical food? What do you think happens to the soul when not fed Spiritually? What about starving the soul over a long period of time? How do you think the human soul compensates? And what would satisfy the soul like no other food?
Background Introduction: Moses led by God is leading the children of Israel, perhaps as many as 2-3 million strong, away from Egypt and closer to the land promised to the forefathers seven centuries before. But their journey is not without its problems.
The sons and daughters of Israel sing out their praise to Yahweh because in what Yahweh God has just done in not only delivering Israel from utter annihilation at the hands of Pharaoh’s massive army, but in utterly annihilating Pharaoh’s army, Israel’s future, including her travel to and then being planted within her promised land is also secure. Ex. 15:1ff.
After healing Marah’s bitter waters, Yahweh tests Israel with a lasting ordinance—if you keep my laws, I will keep you safe from all the things that the Egyptians feared. Ex. 15:22ff.
Now, with their backs seemingly up against another wall–the wall of daily sustenance in the desert, the whole community rises up to turn its collective fear and complaint towards God’s servants…
Read Passage several times…
Exod. 16:1 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.
Is this a month later, because didn’t they come out on the fifteenth day of the first month or Passover?
2 In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron.
The whole community…all several million?
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.”
Did they really think that God who had done all these great miracles would let them down now? Were they completely out of food?
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.
Why are the instructions so important? Don’t most people fail to follow instructions? Why? An easier way? Too lazy too read. Think they can figure it out on their own?
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.”
Why just the sixth day?
6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you will know that it was the LORD who brought you out of Egypt,
7 and in the morning you will see the glory of the LORD, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we, that you should grumble against us?”
So their grumbling is not really against Moses, but God?
8 Moses also said, “You will know that it was the LORD when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the LORD.”
9 Then Moses told Aaron, “Say to the entire Israelite community, `Come before the LORD, for he has heard your grumbling.'”
10 While Aaron was speaking to the whole Israelite community, they looked toward the desert, and there was the glory of the LORD appearing in the cloud.
Like a tornado? Bright light? Lightning? Fire?
11 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: `Each one is to gather as much as he needs. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent.'”
How much is this?
17 The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little.
18 And when they measured it by the omer, he who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little. Each one gathered as much as he needed.
How did this happen?
Who? (Just hit the main characters…) The whole Israelite community, Moses and Aaron, LORD, Who are we (v. 7), each one, person (v. 16), some, he who had gathered much, he who gathered little…
Where? Set out from Elim (if anyone has a map in the back of their Bible this might be worth looking up; in fact drawing a larger map for the next year would be very helpful), Desert of Sin, between Elim and Sinai, out of Egypt, there we sat around pots, in the desert, from heaven, go out, bring in, before the Lord, toward the desert (v. 10), in a cloud, covered the camp, around the camp, on the ground appeared on the desert floor, in your tent
When? on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt, then the Lord said, each day, for that day, on the sixth day, the other days, in the evening, in the morning, when he gives, while Aaron was speaking, at twilight, in the morning then you will know, that evening, in the morning, when the dew, when the Israelites, when they measured it.
• At Sin the nation grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 1-2
• Did you bring us out here to die? In Egypt we had food, but now we are starving. 3
• God tells Moses I will rain down bread from heaven; Gather only enough for that day; in this way I will test their ability to follow directions. 4
• On the sixth day they are to gather twice as much. 5
• Moses and Aaron tell the people what God had said. 6
• They also tell them they will see the glory of God because you really grumbled at God, not them. 7-8
• Moses tells Aaron to tell the people to bring their complaint to God. 9
• While Aaron spoke, they saw God’s glory in the desert. 10
• God said to Moses to tell the Israelites I have heard your grumbling; At evening you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread, and then you will know that I am God. 11-12
• That evening quail appeared and the next morning dew appeared. 13
• When the dew was gone, thin flakes were left, and the Israelites asked what is it? 13-14a
• They were told by Moses it was the bread of God. Each is to gather only as much as he needs. One omer per person. 14b-16
• No mattered how much each gathered, it came out exactly as God had said. 17-18
Summary….The people complain; God tells Moses he will meet their need; they are to meet God out in the desert; they see the glory of God; God answers their complaint; quail appear in the evening and manna, the next morning; they are only to gather what they need; it works out this way.
Bottom line…While the people take their complaint to Moses before taking it to God, God wants to meet them in the desert. There he displays his power and tells them he will meet their need. That evening and the next day, God did indeed.
Why? (What truths do I learn about God, man, people, myself, life?)
• People can tend to doubt quickly; I mean super quickly. We want to see our future salvation now. We want no threat, and there better be no threat on the horizon either. That is why it is difficult for man ever to be safe or rich or secure enough. For human nature it is never enough, and never enough leads man to idolatry, or trusting the things or the gifts over the giver of the gifts in the first place, that is God, again because after all, human nature is quite often at war or in denial with our spiritual nature. What is seen is secure, even if only momentary, until whatever it is runs out, and then we want more. To trust the Spiritual first can be a difficult counter-intuitive
• Humans tend to view life rather quickly through their stomachs. No food, or perhaps even the threat of not having food or something to eat can push people to do things that they might not ordinarily do, like fight for food, or in this case, quickly turn on the human version of the divine leadership that has miraculously bought them their freedom, something they have not enjoyed for perhaps quite some time, and protection. It’s the old adage, what have you done for me lately, God?
• In seeking human solutions first, people tend to complain to man before God. After all, what can a spiritual being that sometimes I believe in and trust, and sometimes doubt, do for me in a real crisis?
• For many, they tend to usually assume the worst, in any given situation, and sometimes this is true, but certainly NOT with God. With God there is always hope. God is hope, even if, we are only rescued from this sinful, evil existence to be with him forever.
• The future or what people don’t know about it is very scary or frightening to them.
• People would rather have the familiar, though of lesser quality, than the unknown, though of a potentially greater, more Spiritual and sustainable quality.
• God’s instructions as to exactly what to do to experience his daily deliverance and provision seem very important to God. In other words, some of the details within boundaries, in this case, do matter.
• God wants us to outright confront him when we have a problem. He is big enough to take it…in this case, even out in the desert.
• In the end and whether we would like to admit it or not, though it looks as if it is directed at the human or human leadership, when we do complain, there is an implied element to our complaint being directed at the divine.
• God is powerful and can do anything, including feed three million people in the desert, and if God can do this, he can do ANYTHING that I truly need, ask or desire to fulfill my godly function in Christ.
• Though seemingly invisible, God is always there with us, ready to step in and meet our needs, whether we think so or not.
• God met the complaining Israelites’ need exactly–not too much, not too little, but fairly.
• God tests or examines his children to see if they will be obedient. Probably, God tests his children to expose them and where they are Spiritually.
• God values a day of rest for his Creation and his Creatures—what an interesting, paradoxical and intriguing thought…one day in seven. Trust me on the other six days and I will provide for you on that seventh. Can you trust me? Can you let go? Can you do what you need to do—rest? Rest, recharge, reflect, think, pray, ponder, enjoy–just be?
Struggle? Will God provide for me with respect to finishing my message today—illustrations and applications? Will God cause my Bermuda experiment to work—planting over the rye on the outfield? Will I be able to plant more areas and have them watered even while Rhonda and I go on vacation? I could go on an on…but that is enough.
Truth? God knows my need; God will provide.
Application? Today, my Bermuda grass and all my other needs in the future. Don’t look back to Egypt; look forward to the Promise land. At the same time, trust God’s daily provision, rather than building up huge storehouses. God wants me trust him that the manna will be there everyday.
Thanksgiving…That I am here, alive and hopefully still being used by God to affect Christ-like Spiritual development in the lives of others. That is nothing to take for granted. It is a gift of God. Thanks, God. Thanks for still seeking to refine and use me to Spiritually love others and inspire others to Spiritually love others. It is the greatest calling. Nothing greater. Nothing more valuable. It is life itself—our reason for taking up space on this planet; our reason for birth; our reason for Spiritual rebirth. Thank you, God for your daily provision. Thank you for YOU!
Struggle…Navigating my time, thoughts, efforts and actions through life’s dangerous coral reef over the next few hours and days.
Truth…Of course, I will complain. Of course, I will get to moments when I don’t see the solutions or God’s imminent provision, but that is okay. It is okay to take my complaint, my need, my struggle to God and allow and wait for his answer, his solution, his provision…his daily provision…
Application…Help me finish this lesson now, Lord? Am I to mow before it rains? What direction do I take for tomorrow’s teaching? 1 John 5? Matt. 6? Romans 8? Along side the summary of Christ’s empowering words to his disciples about the readily available resources we have through his Spirit, if we only ask, having had our hearts purged of impure motivations and desires and asking according to what you know to be in our best interest? Can you help me nail it down a bit more specifically, God? What is it that you want me to teach? To say? And what about tomorrow at Bill’s memorial? It’s your words, your moment, Lord. Allow me to bring glory to you only. Hone my thoughts and words, Lord. Speak and teach through your servant…
Joseph M. Cross
Scripture quotations, unless noted otherwise, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version‚ NIV‚ Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. All rights reserved.