September 19, 2016
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
I find it interesting that the next event we will examine (in Exodus 16:1 through 3) as the Israelites traveled From Egypt to Canaan, happened in “…the wilderness of Sin…” (verse 1), because sin was the major issue! Here is our Scripture:
And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of
the children of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin….Then the whole
congregation…murmured against Moses and Aaron….And the child-
ren 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…ate
bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to
kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
This isn’t the first time the Hebrews complained after the great miracles of the Exodus, including crossing the Red Sea by God’s great power (see Exodus 15:22-25). But this incident could not be too long after the Exodus because it resulted in the beginning of the LORD’s daily provision of manna. This point is important: How quickly God’s people forgot His love and care! How quickly they did not call to mind His power He showed in saving them!
Was it just a few days after the Red Sea crossing? It might have been, because the departing Israelites only had time after the tenth plague – the killing of Egypt’s firstborn – to grab a few provisions and be gone! Exodus 12:34 tells us that they didn’t even have time to leaven their bread dough!
Read again our featured Scripture. Perhaps we can learn something from this incident which happened so long ago.
• What were the words of their complaint in Exodus 16:3? – “…you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Would God have bothered to redeem them from centuries of slavery in Egypt if He did not intend to preserve this new nation in their wilderness journey? Did not He tell them that He would lead them into the Promised Land – a land flowing with milk and honey? (See Exodus 3:8, 17; 13:5). Would the LORD bring them out of Egypt just to kill this whole assembly in the wilderness?
What about us? Think of the price God paid to redeem us from our wilderness of Sin!
✞ Jesus came all the way from His eternal glories in heaven to live as a humble human being on earth! (See John 17:5).
✞ He lived the perfect life demanded by the Law that we could never live! (See Galatians 3:10; I John 3:4 with Romans 3:10, 23; I Peter 2:22).
✞ He died a horrible death, both physically and spiritually – a death we deserved! (See II Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13; I Peter 2:24; 3:18).
✞ We are reckoned righteous before God – robed in Christ’s own righteousness! (See Isaiah 61:10; II Corinthians 5:21).
✞ We are forever “…accepted in the Beloved [Jesus Christ].” (Ephesians 1:6).
✞ Now Jesus will “…save [us] to the uttermost…who come to God by Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for [us]…” (Hebrews 7:25).
This is the greatest sacrifice – the greatest and most costly gift – God could have ever given us! And this truth is the logical idea Paul had in mind as he penned Romans 8:31 and 32:
What shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against
us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all,
how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? (See also
Yes, it is simple logic: If God already gave the very best and most expensive gift to us, will He not give all else that we need – all else being a lesser gift and less costly to Him?
But He will test us as He did the people of Isralel. He allowed them to experience hunger. He tests us to see if we will hold on to the promises He has given us, and to help us develop “…patience…experience…and hope…” (Romans 5:3-5). He will allow trials to enter our lives because they make us “…perfect and entire, lacking nothing…,” like Jesus! (James 1:2-4).
• Whom did the Israelites blame for their predicament in the wilderness of Sin? They murmured against Moses and Aaron, but they ultimately blamed God! However since He wasn’t there in human form, they blamed God’s divinely appointed leaders! (See Exodus 16:8).
✞ Doesn’t the Lord say in I Chronicles 16:22 (and again in Psalm 105:15): “Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm…”?
✞ And do we not tend to criticize our leaders if something goes against our liking in our church? Are not we too often really criticizing God? And we do so risking our own harm!
• After what were the Israelites lusting? Egypt – which stands for the world! The food they said they freely ate (see Numbers 11:5) – but they were forgetting their cruel slavery! (See Exodus 1:14; 6:9). The good life they thought they lived – but they were forgetting the death decreed against their newborn males! (See Exodus 1:15-22). The world calls, but we are called out of the world ! (See John 17:6). And we are told not to return to it – to not love the world ! (See I John 3:15-17).
So keep your eyes on God and the Promised Land of His Kingdom (see Matthew 6:33; Colossians 3:1-3), as you journey through this old world!