Exodus – God’s Way Out
When we were first told about this new virus strand that could be dangerous, the media told us to step up our personal hygiene and wash our hands more often. The elderly and people already with health issues could be affected more than others, so be more careful around them. But we still went to work, went out to eat, socialized as if it could not happen to us. We’ve had the flu before, we will get over it even if we get it.
WHO ARE WE IN ALL OF THIS?
We humans began to poke fun at the situation. Some of us laughed because it actually made us nervous and some of us because they thought it wouldn’t happen to them.
Then the news of the virus got more serious. We were ordered by government leaders to change our normal way of life, stay home for a couple of weeks with only our family. We were told to avoid contact with the elderly and those with low autoimmune systems so the spread of this virus could be more manageable.
WHO ARE WE IN ALL OF THIS?
We flocked to the grocery stores as if we would never see a loaf of bread again in our life times! We bought way more than we needed. We messed up the whole system of supply and demand, making the service industry work ten times harder to keep supplies on the shelves. We hoarded goods so no one else could get the items their family needed.
When the order came that we would need to work from home if at all possible, we did. It was challenging and new at first, but now we have been inside with those we love longer than expected.
WHO ARE WE IN ALL OF THIS?
We are complaining loudly. We do not like being told what to do. We blame the President of the United States (as if he invented the virus!). We blame our state and local leaders. We blame God. We wonder why would God allow this as if God sent the virus upon us as a punishment. Some think the end of the world is coming. Fear and anxiety has set in. Many are becoming emotionally unstable. We are forgetting to pray, asking God to help us.
As weeks of staying home become months of isolation with our family, our complaints are getting louder. Will this be our new way of life? Schedules are almost non existent bringing unwanted disorder to our regular routine. It is the “snow day” that never ends. We are stuck in the movie Groundhog Day set on a repeating loop.
Parents are now their kids’ teachers. Schools are closed. Our favorite restaurants are closed. Only take-out food is available but we wonder if that is safe. We now have to cook food from our overstocked pantries all by ourselves! What?! We live in pajamas most of the time UNLESS we are the dedicated people in the medical field who are giving all they’ve got to helping those affected by this virus while risking their own lives.
WHO ARE WE IN ALL OF THIS?
As believers we pray for the end of this “walking through the wilderness” journey before anymore deaths occur. We pray it will not be 40 years! We pray more seriously for our lost loved ones with passion, like Jesus prayed for us. We pray for those who are sick with greater concern for their families as well. As believers, we do not hoard but share what we have on hand with others.
We are called to care in more ways than ever before. We are stepping up. There is no longer a routine in anything we do. And we accept that. We are creating new ways to continually spread the Hope of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, using the innovative technology available to us. We are continually learning and growing as we ask God, “What are you teaching us in all of this?” “What are you molding and shaping in me?”
Yes, as believers our faith is actually growing. Our love for God and each other is spreading! We know, without doubt, “that to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21) so we are ready for whatever life throws at us. Jesus is King and Lord of our lives. Jesus is peace in troubled, scary circumstances. He is still the answer to our questions. He is the Waymaker through these troubled waters.
God, our Father, is in control and will use this present trouble for the good of those who love and believe and cling to Him. God will use this to strengthen our faith and resolve. God will use this so that His glory will be seen daily. Watch for Him!
In our passage today, we read that God’s people got hangry (hunger plus anger) for their past routine, regular foods and past lifestyle as slaves! Moses asked, “who are we in all of this”?
We are taught more than one important lesson that we cannot miss in this passage. When we complain, we are complaining against God, our Father. God provides daily.
Exodus 16, The Message
1-3 On the fifteenth day of the second month after they had left Egypt, the whole company of Israel moved on from Elim to the Wilderness of Sin which is between Elim and Sinai. The whole company of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron there in the wilderness. The Israelites said, “Why didn’t God let us die in comfort in Egypt where we had lamb stew and all the bread we could eat? You’ve brought us out into this wilderness to starve us to death, the whole company of Israel!”
4-5 God said to Moses, “I’m going to rain bread down from the skies for you. The people will go out and gather each day’s ration. I’m going to test them to see if they’ll live according to my Teaching or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they have gathered, it will turn out to be twice as much as their daily ration.”
6-7 Moses and Aaron told the People of Israel, “This evening you will know that it is God who brought you out of Egypt; and in the morning you will see the Glory of God. Yes, he’s listened to your complaints against him. You haven’t been complaining against us, you know, but against God.”
8 Moses said, “Since it will be God who gives you meat for your meal in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, it’s God who will have listened to your complaints against him. Who are we in all this? You haven’t been complaining to us—you’ve been complaining to God!”
9 Moses instructed Aaron: “Tell the whole company of Israel: ‘Come near to God. He’s heard your complaints.’”
10 When Aaron gave out the instructions to the whole company of Israel, they turned to face the wilderness. And there it was: the Glory of God visible in the Cloud.
11-12 God spoke to Moses, “I’ve listened to the complaints of the Israelites. Now tell them: ‘At dusk you will eat meat and at dawn you’ll eat your fill of bread; and you’ll realize that I am God, your God.’”
13-15 That evening quail flew in and covered the camp and in the morning there was a layer of dew all over the camp. When the layer of dew had lifted, there on the wilderness ground was a fine flaky something, fine as frost on the ground. The Israelites took one look and said to one another, man-hu (What is it?). They had no idea what it was.
15-16 So Moses told them, “It’s the bread God has given you to eat. And these are God’s instructions: ‘Gather enough for each person, about two quarts per person; gather enough for everyone in your tent.’”
17-18 The People of Israel went to work and started gathering, some more, some less, but when they measured out what they had gathered, those who gathered more had no extra and those who gathered less weren’t short—each person had gathered as much as was needed.
19 Moses said to them, “Don’t leave any of it until morning.”
20 But they didn’t listen to Moses. A few of the men kept back some of it until morning. It got wormy and smelled bad. And Moses lost his temper with them.
21-22 They gathered it every morning, each person according to need. Then the sun heated up and it melted. On the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, about four quarts per person.
Then the leaders of the company came to Moses and reported.
23-24 Moses said, “This is what God was talking about: Tomorrow is a day of rest, a holy Sabbath to God. Whatever you plan to bake, bake today; and whatever you plan to boil, boil today. Then set aside the leftovers until morning.” They set aside what was left until morning, as Moses had commanded. It didn’t smell bad and there were no worms in it.
25-26 Moses said, “Now eat it; this is the day, a Sabbath for God. You won’t find any of it on the ground today. Gather it every day for six days, but the seventh day is Sabbath; there won’t be any of it on the ground.”
27 On the seventh day, some of the people went out to gather anyway but they didn’t find anything.
28-29 God said to Moses, “How long are you going to disobey my commands and not follow my instructions? Don’t you see that God has given you the Sabbath? So on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. So, each of you, stay home. Don’t leave home on the seventh day.”
30 So the people quit working on the seventh day.
31 The Israelites named it manna (What is it?). It looked like coriander seed, whitish. And it tasted like a cracker with honey.
32 Moses said, “This is God’s command: ‘Keep a two-quart jar of it, an omer, for future generations so they can see the bread that I fed you in the wilderness after I brought you out of Egypt.’”
33 Moses told Aaron, “Take a jar and fill it with two quarts of manna. Place it before God, keeping it safe for future generations.”
34 Aaron did what God commanded Moses. He set it aside before The Testimony to preserve it.
35 The Israelites ate the manna for forty years until they arrived at the land where they would settle down. They ate manna until they reached the border into Canaan.
36 According to ancient measurements, an omer is one-tenth of an ephah.
WHY DAILY MANNA? Why “Daily Manna with Your Mug”?
Personally I need to come to God when I first wake up with each new day. I cannot lean only on what I learned yesterday for today. Today is new. God only knows what I will face today. God knows what I will need for today. God wants us to talk, commune with Him daily. Commune is part of the word communicate which means I pray, He talks, I listen and respond. I have learned this lesson well. But there is still more to learn…each day.
Years earlier in my life, I fell on my knees before God and asked for the passion of Paul when he declared, “I want to know Christ…” (Philippians 4:10). I wanted to be better in my behavior. I wanted to grow in my faith and in my walk. I wanted to develop the characteristics of Christ, God’s Son. I wanted to be a better wife, mother, daughter, grandmother. I wanted to be a better follower of Christ. I desired to be more like Christ and less like my natural sin self. I learned this takes daily doses of God’s food, the manna of His blessings.
I am drawn to God each morning because of my passionate request to know Him more. I need my fill of Him with each new day. I cannot and do not write this blog, Daily Manna with Your Mug, ahead of time and store in a “cloud” to be used later. I need to get my marching orders daily. I need to hear from Him daily, I cannot write yesterday what He has for me today.
It is too easy to go about our regular routines, leaning on our own self sufficiency and forget God. We start to veer from the path and wind up in a wilderness of doubt, anxiety, fear and dismay. Then we complain. All our complaining goes to God. We begin to do ungodly things.
We must gather up the manna (whatever that will be) that He has for us daily. For today is another day to praise Him, thank Him and learn from Him. He is God and we are not.
Thank you, Lord, for the lessons long ago and for the lessons of today, this very day. I need you every day. I need you every hour.
In Jesus Name, Amen