‘And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness….’ And not just grumbled, but claimed ‘Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.’ A famous mantra in many a film is ‘Better to die as freemen than to live as slaves.’ Well, the Israelites turned it around: ‘Better to live as slaves than to die as freemen.’
The issue was one of control. In the wilderness, the Israelites had only the Lord to depend upon. In Egypt, they could make a way on their own. In spite of God’s provision and grace toward them, they were prone to grumbling. But God, in his love for his people, heard their cry and gave them manna: heavenly bread. But lest they seek to provide for themselves by hording, they were commanded to only take enough for a day (except Friday when they gathered two days worth due to the Sabbath). Even then, the people would still try to gather too much and some would look for manna on the Sabbath, though no avail—the manna would spoil after a day and no manna would arrive on the Sabbath.
The manna is now gone and the spring at Horeb is dry. Yet there is one who is the Bread of Life and whoever eats of him will never die. There is one who was struck and broken and out of him has come streams of living water that will never dry. Jesus Christ, the Promised One of old, he that is even alluded to in the wilderness, has finally come and delivered his people. Even the grumblers.
Exodus 13-15 The parting of the Red Sea in not only the climactic scene in the quintessential event of God’s rescue and deliverance in the Old Testament. It is also an extraordinary picture of our own faith journey. God leads the people to the edge of the sea, where they soon find themselves trapped. Behind […]
Exodus 9-12 Whose first born son is going to live: Yahweh’s or Pharaoh’s? The force behind this question drives the reader forward in anticipation. Something cataclysmic is going to happen. And the reader feels it. Several chapters back in Exodus a foreshadowing of what is to come is rehearsed. Moses, like many prophets to come […]
Exodus 6-8 The plagues in Exodus are a colorful and sometimes comical portrait of the human condition. There is a storybook feel to these descriptions, but the message is anything but charming. Moses is repeatedly pleading with Pharaoh to let God’s people go, and Pharaoh’s heart is repeatedly hardened. What does this mean, to harden […]
Matthew 28 Exodus 1-2 There was a joke in high school, a one-liner, that was repeated over and over. “Do you know Sally?” someone might ask. The one-liner would come back, “Yes, but not in the biblical sense.” Giggle giggle. I usually laughed, but I didn’t get it. Then at some point, early in my […]
Matthew 26-27 Psalm 22 These are the final scenes of Jesus’ life, and J.C. Ryle is right to say, ‘The place we stand is holy ground.’ It is incredibly intense and completely overwhelming to read of the last few days of Jesus’ earthly life. We see the culmination of God’s mission in coming to earth […]
Matthew 22-23 Psalm 18 In the week before his crucifixion Jesus spent the days in the temple, speaking to the chief priests and elders of the Jewish people. These leaders resented the impact Jesus was having on the people and feared that their position was being assailed. They believed themselves to be standards of worthiness […]
Matthew 20-21 Psalm 17 We want to win first-place; we want to be proven right; we want people to see us winning and being proven right. Unfortunately, these wants are existential disasters for us personally, however many tactical successes we imagine. They are disasters because God, as Creator, is sovereign: His thoughts are not our […]