Exodus 16 The children of Israel begin to complain to God again. They ask why they couldn’t stay back in Egypt where there was plenty of food instead of being brought to the wilderness to die? Of course this is an unfounded complaint against God given all that He has already done.
This makes me consider how easily we accuse God and mistrust His heart. Why would God do all that He’s done for them to just die in the wilderness? This is the kind of thing that happens though when we are feeling empty. They are “hangry”. Yet this is no excuse to treat God poorly.
So God says He is going to provide for them and test them. He tells them He will rain down bread from heaven ( foreshadowing the Bread of Life coming from Heaven) and they may collect as much as they can eat each day. They can only take enough for one day. On the dusty day they can collect enough for two days so as to not defile the Sabbath.
Then Moses goes on to say to everyone that God will provide the bread in the morning and He will provide meat in the evening.
When God made the quail come up, they were everywhere and then when the bread came, they had never seen anything like it before so they asked “what is it” which in Hebrew sounds like manna. So they called it that.
Everyone was able to collect as much as they wanted and ate til they were full. But some tried to keep some for the next day and it became filled with maggots just as God said would happen.
The Sabbath came and God instructed them to get twice what they needed. Yet on the Sabbath some came out looking for the manna and didn’t find any. God chided them for not listening to Him. He told them that they needed to obey.
God also instructed them to keep some manna in a jar as a reminder of His provision through the time in the wilderness. This makes me think of how important it is to have and keep reminders of significant things God does in our lives.
Exodus 17 The people travel further into the desert and they become thirsty. They complain to Moses again. Moses asks why they complain to him and why are they Testing the Lord?
The fact of the matter is that once again they have mistrusted Moses and God. They always seem to jump to the conclusion that God would rather have them dead than alive. How mistaken they are! Yet how often do we jump to the wrong conclusions about God and His intentions for us?
So God tells Moses to get some of the elders to go with him and they are to go to a rock, strike it and God will cause water to come from it.
Israel has a battle with Amalek and his people next. A very interesting thing happens. Moses brings Aaron and shut with him to a higher place on the top of the hill. The people are fighting below. As long as Moses hands were in the air, the Israelites were winning but when Moses arms dropped, they were losing. Aaron and Hur had to hold Moses arms up in the air.
This is an incredible picture of how important it is to have people who are going to hold you up in prayer and encouragement. When we are weak, we need each other.
Exodus 18 Moses has a very important encounter with his father-in-law Jethro. Jethro sees all the work Moses is doing and tells him it’s not a good thing for him to handle everything on his own. He needs to delegate and get help.
How important is it to have people like Jethro in our lives? People who can not only see blind spots but boldly address problem areas for us is a necessity if we are going to accomplish God’s Will.
Jethro instructs him to find other men who are honorable and godly and leaders within the community already and let them handle the smaller matters. In so doing Moses can focus on the bigger spiritual matters and spend time with God that he needs to spend in order to instruct all the people.
Moses listens to his father-in-law. It’s easy to dismiss family because we are too proud to listen. But great advice can come from those we love and those who love us.
Moses embraces longevity in ministry. If Moses were to continue at the previous rate, he would not be able to continue at that pace for long. It’s important to evaluate what and how God wants us to use our gifts but also how to delegate and let go of other things to let others lead and grow.