Is it Too Much to Ask for Some Water?

The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”

Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?”

3 But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”

4 Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.” Exodus 17:1-3

This has already become a pattern between the Israelites and Moses. With so many people, though, somebody would have to start the ball rolling with their complaints. The last time it was food; this time it’s water. Because they were in the desert, water would naturally be hard to find or come by.

God had provided for them in the past, so there was no reason to believe that he would stop providing for them now. But many of them didn’t view it like that.

I always bring these stories back to us.

God provides for us like he provided for them. All along, He has provided for us. There’s no reason to believe that He’ll stop providing for us. We have a wealth of Biblical and personal history on our side to back it up. As sure as the sun will rise tomorrow,

He’ll provide for us today.

And the next day.

And the next.

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What’s an Omer of Manna Go For These Days?

31 The people of Israel called the bread manna. It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey. 32 Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Take an omer of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the wilderness when I brought you out of Egypt.'”

33 So Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar and put an omer of manna in it. Then place it before the Lord to be kept for the generations to come.”

34 As the Lord commanded Moses, Aaron put the manna with the tablets of the covenant law, so that it might be preserved. 35 The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a land that was settled; they ate manna until they reached the border of Canaan.

36 (An omer is one-tenth of an ephah.) Exodus 16:31-36

So the Lord delivered sweet bread from heaven, and some wanted more. They ate it for 40 years.

It’s interesting that they were commanded to haul a jar of manna around with them in their travels. It was a reminder to those born on the journey of God’s bountiful provisions. We may look on it and compare it to the delicacies of our age. We might even lament that they didn’t have a good variety of food along the way.

But the point is that they didn’t have to do anything for the food except to wake up and gather it.

Even though others would have seen family members gather the bread each day, this jar told its own story. Those who had been on the journey after crossing the Red Sea would be able to pass this story plus many others down generations.

What “stories” are you passing on? What legacies are you leaving behind for future generations to see?

Remember, this was just a jar of manna, but there were stories attached to it, stories that are still told today. The fact that we remember this story as children is a reminder of God’s goodness to His people coming out of Egypt.

Praise the Lord!

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Ahh, That Blissful Rest…

21 Each morning everyone gathered as much as they needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away. 22 On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much—two omers for each person—and the leaders of the community came and reported this to Moses. 23 He said to them, “This is what the Lord commanded: ‘Tomorrow is to be a day of sabbath rest, a holy sabbath to the Lord. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.'”

24 So they saved it until morning, as Moses commanded, and it did not stink or get maggots in it. 25 “Eat it today,” Moses said, “because today is a sabbath to the Lord. You will not find any of it on the ground today. 26 Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any.”

27 Nevertheless, some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather it, but they found none. 28 Then the Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions? 29 Bear in mind that the Lord has given you the Sabbath; that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Everyone is to stay where they are on the seventh day; no one is to go out.” 30 So the people rested on the seventh day. Exodus 16:21-30

When the Lord rested on the seventh day of creation, He set the standard: hard work for six days and absolute rest on the seventh.

Informally, though, the Lord wanted the Israelites to rest when they were in Egypt and now that they were free people. In a few chapters, the Lord will codify the seventh day Sabbath rest for all of God’s people when He hands them down to Moses.

There’s great value in rest. In fact, more and more research is coming out that documents the need for the body to rest more than it does not, especially in a fast-paced world we find ourselves in.

“But there’s so much to be done and there’s only 24 hours in a day!” is the argument. Yes, but we all need to rest and recharge.

I recall a fishing trip I took to Canada about 5 years ago.

  • No internet. No phone.
  • No computers.
  • No contact with the outside world for a full week.
  • We slept out in nature all night, and caught fish all day.

Yes, it was work hauling gear and equipment, but it was restful and relaxing in its own right.

We were all recharging our “systems” without trying.

Do you recharge your spiritual and emotional batteries one day a week each week? If not, why not?

The Lord has laid out a very simple plan for us throughout Scripture. He laid it out for a reason. He gave us a great example.

If the Lord God Almighty rested on the seventh day of creation, shouldn’t we follow that example and for the same reasons?

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That’ll Learn Ya’

20 However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them. Exodus 16:20

Billionaire John D. Rockefeller when asked how much is enough money, “A little more.”

Some of the Israelites wanted to stretch out their food. They wanted to have a little more food, even after being guaranteed by the Lord Himself that He would provide in the evening and morning. Was it an issue of faith in God telling them to gather food the next day or were they just generally discontented?

The bigger question is, is it in man’s nature to want more than he already has, to be discontent with what he owns and possesses?

Still, it came down as an edict from God Himself. It didn’t take long for them to disobey.

We face contentment issues daily. Content with our looks, family, friends, jobs, financial situation, or socioeconomic status.

1 Timothy 6:6-7 reminds us that “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, so we cannot carry anything out of it.”

Some things, however, warrant being discontent such as being in a bad relationship.

But, if everything is going well and you don’t have problems, why not enjoy what you have without wanting or needing more?

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He Has Heard Your Grumbling, So Stop Your Whining!

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. 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.”

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?” 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.

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: ‘Everyone is to gather as much as they need. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent.'”

17 The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. 18 And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed.

19 Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.” Exodux 16:4-9

The people needed food. They cried out, and got it.

No small task feeding 1+ million people in a desert. Even on a good day, you could feed a few hundred with everything that crawls on a desert floor, but a million?

Certainly the Israelites would be satisfied with this new arrangement: fresh quail at night and bread in the morning. They couldn’t take any more was necessary. Then they take twice the amount on Friday. In fact, they didn’t have to work a bit for the food; they just had to collect it each day.

Plus they got to see the glory of God in the desert.

What more could they want?

The ruling came down. It wasn’t a difficult task at all, but they were given limits. They had to have boundaries because you just know that out of a million people, some would try to stretch those limits.

We will see in a few chapters the limitations that the Lord put on His people. This was a simple boundary, a simple rule as it were.

In verse 4, the Lord said, “In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.” So it was a test. Would they be able to resist the temptation?

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