How long does it take before the Israelite community begins to grumble to Moses? About 1 1/2 months! Keep in mind this is shortly following the miracles of the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, and the total destruction of Pharoah's army being swallowed up in the Red Sea while the Israelite's cross onto dry land.
The Israelite's were grumbling towards Moses and Aaron (vs 2), however, it is God who places us in our situations so when we complain about it to others, in actuality we are complaining about God (vs 7).
Then the 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."
In this verse, God is providing exactly what the Israelite's are asking for. Food. However, what stood out for me in the verse is that God will test them to see if they will follow His instructions with the food He is providing. God instructed the Israelite's through Moses to gather only what they needed for that day, and to not keep anything for the following day.
Did they pass the test? No. 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 in this case some of the Israelite's took too much food and the excess was spoiled. When it came to the Sabbath, they were instructed to gather twice as much the day prior to their normal amount, so they could rest on the Sabbath. The result for listening to God? The food was good and no smell or maggots formed (vs 24). It is interesting to note that the act of gathering excess food without God's instruction failed, however, gathering the appropriate excess amount before the Sabbath proved to be successful.
What happens when you start to eat? You get thirsty. The Israelite's were no different, and their response to their thirst was no different than their complaints with hunger.
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?”
Once again the Lord provides. Another miracle - water from a rock - most likely to be forgotten by the Israelites.
Reading these chapters reminded that God wants to work good in my life. He will provide for me, but He actually wants to give me much, much more than what I have asked for. I just need to be faithful and trust in Him!
One would question how the Israelite's could possibly question God after first hand witnessing these amazing miracles? But then, I should ask myself why I question God after reading about these miracles? I believe the Bible to be true. I believe the stories to be true. Why then do I question God's ability to provide for me sometimes?
In chapter 17 we also read about how the Israelite army defeated the Amalekites. An interesting story that when Moses' hands were lifted high to God the Israelite's were winning the battle. If he lowered them, the Amalekites would gain momentum. I'm sure the soldiers in the battle field were wondering why Moses would have left them to stand on a hill with his hands lifted high. In the end, it would have made sense as the results would have proved that by Moses keeping his hands held high to God, that he was appealing to God for help in receiving victory in this battle.
I am not a "hand lifter upper" kind of guy in church while we sing (and it does not bother me for those of you who do), but this passage has caused me to question my thoughts on that........
In chapter 18 we read about Jethro reuniting himself, his daughter Zipporah (Moses' wife), and her two sons with Moses. I'm sure they had a lot of catching up to do, but Moses made it a priority in telling Jethro all that God had done to Pharaoh, the hardships they endured, and how the Lord saved them and brought them through it (vs 8).
The result? Now I know that the is greater than all other gods,for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly.”
By sharing what God has done in our lives, we can encourage others as Moses did with Jethro. God is greater! Why would we want to keep that a secret?
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Exodus 19-21