The next few chapters of Exodus (15 through 19) deal with a series of "adventures" between the parting of the Red Sea up to "The Big Tablets" i.e, the 10 commandments in Chapter 20.
These chapters are going to read like an emotional roller coaster: Things are up, things are down, things are up, and things are down.
Which, of course, is a lot like life itself.
Times are going well and we sing and praise God and are generally happy.
Times are not going well, we grumble and complain and God bails us out.
As you read the next few chapters, stop every now and then and put yourself in the mind of a "typical Israelite".
For example, after leaving the Red Sea, their food and water supply starts to run low. They grumble against God. They grumble against their leaders. They "wish" they were back in their old live in Egypt.
Which reminds me. Ever notice how "the good old days" always seems a lot better after suffering for awhile? We tend to remember the positive parts of our old life better than the negatives.
Letís say youíre wandering through the desert. No food for three days.
Would you be complaining? Would you be picking on your leadership?
The lessons to learn from these chapters is to see:
How God reacts to our true needs (versus desires)
How Moses reacts as a leader.
They are also reminders that the Christian life is not always a "bed of Roses". (If the Christian life were all luxury and no trials, people would become Christians for the "fringe benefits" and not for what Jesus did for us on the Cross!)
God constantly tests us, as he wants us to grow in our faith and our dependence upon him. This is why he constantly tests us.
In fact, the proof text for this is in tonightís text, in Chapter 16:
Then the Lord said to Moses, "I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people will go out and gather a certain amount each day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.
Chapter 16 is about God sending "bread from heaven", or "manna". Iíll say a lot more about manna later. The point here is God does things in our life to test us, and test our faith.
Hereís a point I bring up every now and then that is important to remember.
First of all, I believe God is perfect.
A perfect God knows all things, past, present and future. He states this in Isaiah 46:10.
If God could learn, that means God is capable of mistakes, and therefore is not perfect.
Given all that take comfort! God knows your future. You may only see the pains and trials you are going through right now, but God knows the end.
What does all this have to do with Exodus and tonightís lesson?
The Israelites did not have the advantage of a copy of the Bible in their hands. They did not know the outcome, just the trial they are going through. They saw their present danger, and grumbled. God had a plan for them, but they are too busy grumbling to look toward God for a solution.
Therefore, next time you are going through a bad situation, and you are putting your trust in God to run your life, are you complaining, or are you praising God for the outcome. This is the test for the Israelites and for our lives.
On that somber note, lets go back to where we left off last time, God just parted the Red Sea. He saved everyone who trusted in God, and wiped out Godís enemies, the Egyptians in the sea.
Itís celebration time. Your favorite sports team just completed a major come from behind victory. Your children just came home with a great report card. You just got a raise a work. You just found out you won a sweepstakes! What do you want to do?
Celebrate! Sing! Dance around the room! Jump up and down!
That is what Chapter 15 is all about. A victory song.
But this victory is much greater than a raise, a free vacation or a sports victory. This victory is about salvation!
This is the first recorded song in the Bible.
It is interesting to think about the fact there is no "Song of Salvation"
associated with any of the people of the Book of Genesis.
Thatís pretty amazing when you think about all the great men of
Genesis, be it Noah, Abraham, Joseph, etc.
All of these men looked forward to a promise to their children.
The Song of Salvation is reserved for the "redeemed".
Before I start dissecting chapter 15, I would recommend reading through the whole song first.
Taking it apart piece by piece is like tearing a painting into little pieces to show you the details. Details are important and there are lessons, but donít miss "the big picture"
So put down the notes, think of something really happy and Read Chapter 15.
Welcome back. Feel Better? Good. Now lets talk a little about the song.
First stanza: 15:1 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord:
"I will sing to the Lord for he has triumphed gloriously,
the horse and its rider he has thrown into the sea.
First thing to notice: Who is the song dedicated to? (Read the first line again!)
All of our worship should be God-focused, not man-focused.
When we go to church, picture God sitting front & center on stage. That is whom all are worship should be focused toward.
This is why there are different types of churches & and worship styles. Some people are more outwardly emotional than others are. God does not judge us on whether or not our hands are in the air, but the attitude of our heart. Find a church where the worship style is most comfortable with yours.
It is a logical assumption Moses wrote this song, or came up with it spontaneously.
This is the same guy who made excuses to God that he was "slow of speech".
Now here he is leading a choir!
Songs are good ways to memorize things. Think of the hundreds of songs you can recall in your head. This song teaches a lot of good Jewish/Christian doctrine. Songs are a great way to pass on lessons to our children.
Back to the song: 15:2 Yah is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation.
This is my God and I will praise him,
my father's God, and I will exalt him.
Some translations have "The Lord" is my strength, others have "Yah, Jehovah, etc.
The name of God appears about 10 times in this song (depending upon your translation) and a pronoun for God (he, him) appears over 30 times. Again, God is the focus of our worship.
The Lord is a man of war, the Lord is his name.
Some people have trouble with this. God (The Lord) is a man of war.
God is a God of Love. But he is also a God of Justice. I can sleep well at night knowing that God will fairly judge all the evil of the world one-day.
Jesus made an interesting comment once: "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. (Matthew 10:34 NIV)
In this passage, Jesus said that belief in Jesus would cause divisions, even among family members. Some will believe, others wonít. It was cause fighting. Just as belief in God caused division between the Egyptians and Israelites. In the last chapter, we saw the fate of the Egyptians!
The chariots of Pharaoh and his army he has thrown into the sea, and his chosen officers were drowned in the Sea of Reeds. 15:5 The depths have covered over them, they went down to the bottom like a stone.
It is important to remember Godís victories in our lives, especially during tough times. Journal them if you can. Then when those times come when you donít see Godís presence, look back at all the miraculous things God has done in your life as a reminder of his presence. God will not take you this far to let you down now!
A "big picture" point of Verses 1-5 is that salvation comes through God and not ourselves. This song is a reminder that we canít save ourselves through our own efforts.
Your right hand, O Lord, was majestic in power, your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy.
Some people picture God as an old man sitting on a throne somewhere with lots of time on his hands looking down upon us. Wrong. First of all, God created time, so God is outside of time. Second God is spirit, truth, love, energy, but not an old man. Biblically "Godís right hand" speaks of the power of God and is used this way consistently.
And in the greatness of your majesty you have overthrown those who rise up against you. You sent forth your wrath; it consumed them like stubble. 15:8 And by the blast of your nostrils the waters were piled up, the waters stood upright like a heap, and the deep waters were congealed in the heart of the sea.
For God to wipe out his enemies takes no significant effort on his part. God delays his judgements as long as possible as he wants all people to repent.
"For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live! (Ezekiel 18:32 NIV)!
When we see the "enemies of God", we need to remind ourselves of their fate. When you come across the person who cuts you off in traffic, or the co-worker from you-know-where, etc. You need to see them as a person who needs repentance, and will suffer great judgement if they donít change.
Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church has a great expression:
"Hurting people hurt people".
I personally find my attitude against people who are tough to love much better when I keep this expression in mind.
The corollary of course is to watch out for physically dangerous situations. I have seen people physically abused as they "tried to love them." There is a great Christian book called "Boundaries" that deals with this if it is an issue to you. (Sorry, Iíve rambled off the topic. J )
The enemy said, "I will chase, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my desire will be satisfied on them. I will draw my sword, my hand will destroy them." 15:10 But you blew with your breath, and the sea covered them. They sank like lead in the mighty waters.
The Book of Proverbs has a lot to say about the wicked people of the world, and their "plans". None of which are good. One of my favorites is as follows:
If a man digs a pit, he will fall into it; if a man rolls a stone, it will roll back on him. (Proverbs 26:27 NIV)
I refer to this proverb as the "Willie E. Coyote" proverb J.
It teaches that those who plan evil will have their plans fall back on them, like the Egyptians. This is an optimistic proverb to keep in mind when one sees the plans of those who fight against our God.
A lot of commentators make the point as to see the sin in our lives as examples of the "enemies" God wants to eliminate. Remember that once we are saved, God makes us into a construction project to eliminate the evil of our old ways.
Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you?-majestic in holiness, fearful in praises, working wonders? 15:12 You stretched out your right hand, the earth swallowed them. 15:13 By your loyal love you will lead the people whom you have redeemed; you will guide them by your strength to your holy habitation.
Simple application here: We should proclaim the superior of the lord God over anything else.
The focus of the prayer shifts here from past victories to future victories: 15:14 The people will hear and be afraid; anguish will take hold of the inhabitants of Philistia. 15:15 Then the chiefs of Edom will be terrified, the leaders of Moab will be seized with trembling, and the inhabitants of Canaan will melt away. 15:16 Fear and dread will fall on them; by the greatness of your arm they will be as still as stone until your people pass over, O Lord, until the people pass over, which you have bought.
It sounds like they are already in the promised Land!
Moses is using this Song to teach the people to count on Godís promises!
By teaching them that the people in the land of "Israel" will hear of Godís great victories over the Egyptians is teaching the people not to fear what lies ahead.
This was verified in the Book of Joshua, by the women Rahab: "We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. (Joshua 2:10 NIV)
You will bring them in and plant them in the mountain of your inheritance, in the place, O Lord, you made for your residence, the sanctuary, O Lord, your hands have established. 15:18 The Lord will reign forever and ever! 15:19 For the horses of Pharaoh went with his chariots and his footmen into the seas, and the Lord brought again the waters of the sea on them, but the Israelites went on dry land in the midst of the sea."
These verses wrap up the song, and repeat some of the key themes: Redemption, Godís future blessings, God reigns forever, and God judgment over his enemies.
Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a hand-drum in her hand, and all the women went out after her with hand-drums and with dances. 15:21 And Miriam sang antiphonally to them, "Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and its rider he has thrown into the sea."
Sometimes when youíre celebrating, people get caught up and join in the act.
Miriam was Mosesí sister. We havenít read about her since Mosesí childhood. No mention of her tearful-reunion with Moses, only of her praises to God.
One of the great church debates is whether or not women can be leaders in church. Some point to Miriam here as an example of God allowing Women to lead the choir. Others point out she only leads the women (Verse 20). This is a long discussion within itself. I only want to point out here that it is not a proof-text for either argument.
For a discussion of this whole argument, it is best to study 1st Timothy and some good commentaries on this subject.
OK, partyís over. Time to move on. 15:22 Then Moses caused Israel to journey from Yam Suph, and they went out into the desert of Shur. They went three days into the desert, and they found no water. 15:23 Then they came to Marah, but they were not able to drink the waters of Marah, because they were bitter. (That is why its name was called Marah.)
There is a time for celebration, but there is also a time to move on. The next trial for the Israelites is about to begin.
Some commentators like to see this experience as a "type" of life for a new believer. The Israelites just got saved, crossing the Red Sea. Now they are "thirsty" for more.
This is a good thing. God creates this desire for us to grow in Him.
"You may not realize it, but the oasis of Marah is a normal Christian experience. When a bitter experience comes to a Christian, it is a puzzling and perplexing thing. Some people say, "Why does God let this happen to me?" I cannot tell you why certain things befall Christians, but I do know that God is not punishing them. He is educating them and preparing them for something."
Dr. J. Vernon McGee.
So the people murmured against Moses, saying, "What can we drink?" 15:25 Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he threw it into the waters, the waters became safe to drink.
Put yourself in the mind of one of the 2,000,000 Israelites. You are thirsty, real thirsty. You are out in a dessert. All right, there is water and now you get a report, it is undrinkable. Youíre first thought, "now what do we do?" Next thing you know, you see Moses taking a big tree-trunk, stick it in the water and now, lo-and-behold, its as good as bottled water from the grocery store. What gives?
First of all, this is a model of what Jesus did for us. Listen to Paulís comment on this: "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." (Gal. 3:13 NIV)
Paul compares the cross to a tree. Paul is quoting Deuteronomy 21:22. Jesus becamesin and was hung on a tree for us.
The water was "healed" by the cursed-tree! A great model for us.
There he made for them a binding ordinance, and there he tested them, 15:26 and said, "If you will diligently obey the Lord your God, and do what is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, then all the diseases that I put on the Egyptians I will not put on you, for I, the Lord, am your healer."
Was the tree-healing the water a model of Jesus? Of course. This is prophecy.
Was there a practical aspect to this lesson as well? Of course. That is what the 2nd half of verse 25 and verse 26 is about. God wanted to teach them that if they obeyed him, he promised healing of their lives.
Does that mean if we obey God we will never get sick? Of course not. This is part of the "trials and testings". But if we do obey Godís laws, we can cut our "odds" of being sick dramatically. Let me explain further.
Think about all of Godís laws against adultery and fornication. Think of all the venereal diseases you can avoid!
Many of the proverbs teach about avoiding outbursts of anger. Think of the injuries we spare ourselves.
Also many of the Levitical laws are about washing and cleansing. This is centuries before man discovered germs and their effects!
Is God our healer of our diseases? You bet. Most veteran Christians can tell you stories of miraculous healings. Cancer that has disappeared immediately. The point is to remember Godís sovereign will. He heals whom he chooses. He allows other believers to suffer for specific purposes. All we know is that it is all to Godís glory.
Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees. And they camped there by the waters.
After the bitter experience of "Marah" God leads them to a better destination.
God often works that way. There are periods of great trials, then periods of great blessings. God never gives us more than we can handle. One can think of "Elim" as a temporary "reprieve" between testings.
Why "12" wells and "70" palm trees? No answers, but a lot of fun speculations.
A lot of commentaries go off on tangents making big deals about numbers. A lot of them are interesting. Iíve seen very few of these that help my practical day-to-day walk as a Christian.
OK, the Israelites "break" was over. Time for the next trial. 16:1 When they journeyed from Elim, the entire company of Israelites came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their exodus from the land of Egypt. 16:2 And the entire company of Israelites murmured against Moses and Aaron in the desert.
Wilderness of Sin had nothing to do with "sin." It is a "pun". The Bible will often use puns. The names of people or places are often similar "puns" to the experience.
In their grumblings, they were blaming Moses. Isnít it amazing how fast people can go from happiness to complaining? How fast we can forget the past victories?
"How easy it is for people to assign evil motives to those who they question, as if Moses had nothing better to do than wipe out a whole nation" David Guzik
The Israelites 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 when we ate bread to the full! But you have brought us out into this desert to kill this whole assembly with hunger!"
When things are bleak, all of a sudden the slavery doesnít seem so bad.
For those of us who made a commitment to Christianity later in life, this is always a temptation. Our "old life" somehow, looks more attractive when God has us in a trial. Just remember, its all an illusion. If you really think life was better in those days, think about the damage done to your body, your health, and family. Ask yourself is it really worth going back?
Here comes the manna: 16:4 Then the Lord said to Moses, "I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people will go out and gather a certain amount each day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not. 16:5 And on the sixth day they will prepare what they bring in, and it will be twice as much as they gather each day."
This passage puzzled me. Here were the grumbling Israelites. Yet God does not punish them nor even scold them. There is not even a hint that the Israelites repented. So why bless them?
We, as humans tend to forget Godís grace & mercy. He knew his people were hungry and needed food. Itís the "carrot & stick" approach to maturing us. Sometimes God offers a blessing even when we donít expect it.
"Animals are often taught through their food. When they could not be reached in any other way, they have been instructed by their hunger, and by their thirst, and by their feeding." (Spurgeon)
In Verse 5 you see the first direct mention of "Sabbath Rest" for man. Picking one day of the week of not working and serving God. This verse states that one must prepare for the Sabbathís day rest, by gathering twice as much food.
More on this later in the chapter.
And Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, "In the evening you will know that the Lord has brought you out of the land of Egypt. 16:7 And in the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, because he heard your murmurings against the Lord. And what are we, that you should murmur against us?" 16:8 And Moses said, "You will know this when the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening, and bread in the morning to satisfy you, because the Lord heard your murmurings that you are murmuring against him. And what are we? Your murmurings are not against us, but against the Lord."
Earlier, the Israelites had blamed Moses & Aaron for leading them out in the desert. They were easy to pick on because they were visible targets. Moses, possibly in fear of an uprising, says in effect "Hang in there until the evening, and God will show you a sign that it is He, not us who lead you out here". Moses continued, "Here is how":
One might think God would be afraid of rewarding their complaining hearts; yet He knows He has plenty of ways to teach them - now, they need food! David Guzik
"Grace is not lawlessness. Grace only makes us more indebted to God" Arthur Pink.
Then Moses said to Aaron, "Say to all the community of the Israelites, 16:10 And as Aaron spoke to the whole community of the Israelites, they looked toward the desert, and there the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. 16:11 Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 16:12 "I have heard the murmurings of the Israelites. Tell them, 'During the evening you will eat flesh, and in the morning you will be satisfied with bread, so that you may know that I am the Lord your God." 16:13 And in the evening the quail came up and covered the camp; and in the morning a layer of dew was all around the camp. 16:14 When the layer of dew had evaporated, there were small round things on the surface of the desert, small like the frost on the earth. 16:15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, "What is it?" because they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, "It is the bread that the Lord has given you for food.
We have here two distinct food groups. One is natural (Quail) and one is super-natural, which is the bread from heaven.
The Hebrew word is "manna" meaning "Whatís it? Or "what is it?
In the Bible God always refer to this as "bread from heaven". Only once does God use the term "manna", and only in a derogatory sense.
The Hebrews didnít know what it was, and used the lessor term?
We are going to talk a lot more about manna later. It is symbolic for the Word of God, as weíll see later. But why did God provide quail as well as manna.
I believe the idea (mystically speaking) is that one type of nourishment is provided for their spiritual needs and another for their physical needs.
Obviously, both were used for the physical needs, but God gives detailed instructions on how to collect, preserve and even prepare manna. Not one word on the quail other than "it is there, go get it".
Jesus said, "Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God". (Luke 4:4, NKJV). I believe Jesus is making the same point here. We need both "spiritual food" and "physical food" for daily survival.
As you read about "manna", think about the Word of God as you hear these instructions: 16:16 "This is what the Lord has commanded: 'Each person is to gather from it what he can eat, an omer per person according to the number of your people; each one will pick it up for whoever lives in his tent.'" 16:17 And the Israelites did so, and they gathered-some more, some less. 16:18 When they measured with an omer, the one who gathered much had nothing left over, and the one who gathered little lacked nothing; each one gathered what he could eat.
Before we move on, there are some additional verses describing manna in the Book of Numbers, Chapter 11, beginning at Verse 7:
The manna was like coriander seed and looked like resin. The people went around gathering it, and then ground it in a hanmill or crushed it in a mortar. They cooked it in a pot or made it into cakes. It tasted like something made with olive oil. When the dew settled on the camp at night, the manna also came down. (Numbers, 11:7-10 NIV)
Here are some characteristics about Manna. Consider the "Word of God" as you think about this list. (This list is courtesy of a Chuck Missler sermon and mostly gathered from Arthur Pinkís book "Gleanings from Exodus".)
1. It is Supernatural. There is no natural explanation for it. Later we will read that each person collected about an "Omer". This is about 6 pints. In order to feed two million people, thatís 9 million pounds per day, or 4,500 tons per day, or one million tons per year. There is no natural explanation for this!
The Word of God comes from a "supernatural source". It is filled with super-natural predictions. If you take it seriously, the only logical explanation is that it is the Word of God.
2. Like the Word, It is accessible. You either gather it or trample over it.
3. It is small in size. It is designed to fit into your mouth.
The Word of God is designed the same way. To be "eaten" in bite-size chunks. To quote Isaiah: "But the word of the LORD was to them, "Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little". (Isaiah 28:13a NKJV)
4. It is white, representing purity
"no darkness at all" Word is pure
5. It is only good if you eat it. Just looking at it wonít give you nourishment.
Just like the Word of God. You canít leave it on a bookshelf.
6. It had to be gathered daily,preferably early in the morning.
(DailyÖmediate on your word)
7. You had to gather it on your own.
You couldnít get your neighborís manna. It is assumed that you were responsible for your young childrenís manna, just as parents are responsible for their Childrenís Christian upbringing.
8. You had to gather it on your knees. Try picking up little wafers off the ground. Either you stoop or kneel. Either way you humble yourself before God. "humble yourself in the sight of the Lord"
9. It is incomprehensible to the Natural Man.
1 Cor 2:14
10. The dew fell on the ground first, then the Manna (read Numbers 11:9)
Why? Well, would you eat food lying on the dusty ground?
Most commentators believe the "dew" is associated with the Holy Spirit, who helps you understand what you read
Jesus said: "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." (John 14:26 NIV)
And Moses said to them, "No one is to keep any of it until morning." 16:20 But they did not listen to Moses, and some kept part of it until morning. It was full of worms and began to stink. And Moses was angry with them.
There is a rebel in every crowd. Some people have to be workaholics & try to gather the stuff on the Sabbath.
God sets up rules that he expects to be obeyed. It wonít affect your salvation, but it will affect your walk here on earth.
So they gathered it each morning, each person according to what he could eat; and when the sun got hot, it melted.
What is not consumed of the Word of God each day is "melted away".
And on the sixth day they gathered twice as much food, two omers per person; and all the leaders of the community came and told Moses. 16:23 And he said to them, "This is what the Lord has said: 'Tomorrow is a time of cessation, a holy sabbath to the Lord. Whatever you want to bake, bake today; and whatever you want to boil, boil today; and whatever is left put aside for yourselves to be kept until morning.'"
Here comes the official initiation of the Sabbath. A day of rest for the Israelites.
The "7th day" is an interesting phenomenon.
The "month" is understandable because it is roughly based on a lunar cycle.
The "year" is understandable because it is roughly based on a solar cycle.
But the "week" and "week-end" is something God-ordained.
A day of rest physically, but also a day to set aside to focus on God.
When we get to the "10 commandments" in Chapter 20, weíre going to spend a lot more time talking about the Christian application of the Sabbath.
Right now, remember two things:
Jesus said I am the Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8)
This means Jesus himself is the guideline of what is right/wrong for Sabbath worship.
Second Christians traditionally worship on the day after the Sabbath, which is Sunday or "The Lordís Day" in the New Testament.
Paul said it best in Romans (from the paraphrased "The Living Bible"):
Some think that Christians should observe the Jewish holidays as special days to worship God, but others say it is wrong and foolish to go to all that trouble, for every day alike belongs to God. On questions of this kind everyone must decide for himself. 6If you have special days for worshiping the Lord, you are trying to honor him; you are doing a good thing" (Rom. 14:5-6,)
So they put it aside until the morning, just as Moses had commanded, and it did not stink, nor was there any worm in it. 16:25 And Moses said, "Eat it today, for today is a sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the area. 16:26 Six days you will gather it, but on the seventh day, the sabbath, there will not be any."
We donít work seven days a week. We trust God enough where we work six (or five) and that is enough to sustain our needs for the rest on the weekend.
And on the seventh day some of the people went out to gather it, but they found nothing. 16:28 So the Lord said to Moses, "How long do you refuse to obey my commandments and my instructions? 16:29 See, because the Lord has given you the sabbath, that is why he is giving you food for two days on the sixth day. So each of you stay where he is; let no one go out of his place on the seventh day." 16:30 So the people rested on the seventh day.
Earlier we mentioned "the carrot and stick" approach. Here God is applying the stick.
Even with clear instructions from God, some of us disobey. Why did they?
Did they not gather enough the day before? Still hungry? Maybe they just wanted to "push the limits and test God. That is human nature.
So the Israelites called its name "manna." Now it was like coriander seed, white, and its taste was like wafers and honey.
The Israelites didnít know what it was. They didnít know they were living out prophecy. They just knew God "rained" this stuff every day for their sustenance and they had to eat it. So they called it "whatís it!"
It may have been pleasant to the taste, but the Israelites simply "accepted" it without being too grateful for it.
Commentators talk about how this is like people who read the word "ritually" without much though or prayer. It just became a "whatís it" without appreciating the great flavor.
Then Moses said, "This is what the Lord has commanded: 'Fill an omer with it to be kept for generations to come, so that they may see the food I fed you in the desert, when I brought you out from the land of Egypt'." 16:33 Moses said to Aaron, "Take a jar and put in it an omer full of manna, and place it before the Lord to be kept for generations to come." 16:34 Just as the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the Testimony for safekeeping.
Later in Exodus, God is going to construct the Tabernacle. The most important piece of furniture to be built is the Ark of the Covenant. A gold covered box, roughly 1.5 feet by 2.5 feet by 1.5 feet.
Three things were to go into the box, the first being a jar of manna. The second being Aaronís rod that budded (coming later) and the 10 commandments. The manna represents God preserving his people through the wilderness (tough times) and the preservation of the Word of God.
Now the Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a land that was inhabited; they ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.
"Manna" was a super-natural food. It was how God sustained his people through the wilderness. Once they entered the "promised land", the manna stopped. Why?
I call it "the danger of living on experience." We as Christians learn by experience but need to grow from it and move on!
God constantly wants to mature us and move us on to the next level. Manna in the wilderness spoke of preservation through difficult times. There were new battles to be fought in the "promised land", and not rely on past victories.
Now an omer is one tenth of an ephah.
Ok, I donít have a lot of spiritual application for this one. J These are Israelite measurements. Iím sure there are "mystical" commentaries on this verse, but Iíll pass.
The text leaves off on a strange note. Chapter 17 begins another test & trial.
Since Iím at my 10-page limit, Iíll cut it off here.
Letís Pray. Father, you have redeemed us and you deserve to be praised and honored for what you did for us. Also we thank you for our daily bread. Your son, Jesus Christ is the true bread of life, that sustains us and helps us to grow and mature. May we continue to look toward you Father, as we grow in the strength and knowledge of our Lord, Jesus Christ, in whoís name we pray, Amen.