How quickly we change! Only one month had passed since the Israelites celebrated Passover, when God freed them from the bondage they endured in Egypt. Just a few weeks before, they were singing praises to the Lord Jehovah after witnessing the drowning of Pharaoh’s army when they crossed the Red Sea. Then came Marah, where God made bitter water drinkable. But on the heels of this came hardship. Does your life resemble the struggles faced by the Israelites, up one day and down the next?
- Recall a time of crisis when you turned from joy to great difficulty in your life. What was that time like for you?
READ THE WORD: EXODUS 16:1-8 (ESV)
16:1 They set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the people of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. 2 And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, 3 and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not. 5 On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.” 6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the people of Israel, “At evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, 7 and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against the Lord. For what are we, that you grumble against us?” 8 And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you in the evening meat to eat and in the morning bread to the full, because the Lord has heard your grumbling that you grumble against him—what are we? Your grumbling is not against us but against the Lord.”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Recall how bad the situation was for Israel in slavery in Egypt (the killing of their baby boys, long hours to meet their daily work requirements, being undersupplied but still required to meet production quotas, etc.). How would you describe their enslaved situation in your own words? Now reread verses 1-3. Compare their words with your description.
- In light of all the miracles the people had seen God do over the preceding few months, what do you think caused them to grumble at Moses and Aaron?
- Imagine yourself in God’s place. How would you have responded to the people’s attitude? Compare your position to how God responded in verses 4-6.
- Do you confidently trust God for the outcome of events, or do you focus on your situation in fear? Are you committed to your Savior, no matter what happens in your life?
RESPOND TO GOD
Apparently, all the prepared foodstuffs brought with the Israelites as they left Egypt were running out, and they were getting hungry. But were they really starving already, with so much livestock with them? When we lose proper perspective of God’s sovereignty and purpose in the events of life, expecting him to make life easy for us (or at least the way we feel comfortable with), we easily shift our focus from all that the Lord abundantly provides to what we perceive we don’t have instead. And as illogical as our behavior seems, it also can lead to a grumbling attitude toward those most helpful to us. Amazingly, our gracious God still cares and provides for our needs.
- Lord, keep my eyes fixed on your grace and give me the same level of commitment that Christ had, even if it means the cross (suffering).