Exodus 15

22 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah. 24 So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?”

  • They were running out of water, they thought they had made it; they were trying to power thru, but then they get to the ‘end’ and it wasn’t what they expected. False peak.
    • Problem is we’re soft and give up too easy

25 Then he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree; and he threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet.

There He made for them a statute and regulation, and there He tested them.26 And He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer.”

  • God was testing them
    • It’s not that God doesn’t know where we weak, it’s that we don’t
      • Q: What spiritual problems might result in someone’s life if they don’t know their true areas of weakness?
    • God tests us to show us
    • God tests us to grow us (personal trainer)
      • 1Cor 10:13 – better word for ‘tempted’ is ‘tested’
    • The test: Will they listen? Will they believe that God is good?

27 Then they came to Elim where there were twelve springs of water and seventy date palms, and they camped there beside the waters.

  • Oh, and the next, nice campsite was right around the corner.

Exodus 16

16 Then the whole community of Israel set out from Elim and journeyed into the wilderness of Sin, between Elim and Mount Sinai.

  • “Sin” doesn’t actually mean ‘sin’

They arrived there on the fifteenth day of the second month, one month after leaving the land of Egypt.

  • One month later

There, too, the whole community of Israel complained about Moses and Aaron.

  • Apparently they were experiencing food shortage – they were getting thinner, and so were their herds
  • Complaining is contagious, and we are a culture of complainers.
    • Q: Why does complaining feel so good?

“If only the Lord had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.”

  • We’ve already seen the ‘glory days’ syndrome, the short memories
  • And yeah, God brought them here to starve them to death

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you.

  • You’d expect anger, rebuke. But just keep an eye out for God’s provision – that’s the only thing that will show up more often than their grumbling.

Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions.

  • Another test for them. Will they follow these instructions?

On the sixth day they will gather food, and when they prepare it, there will be twice as much as usual.”

So Moses and Aaron said to all the people of Israel, “By evening you will realize it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt. In the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaints, which are against him, not against us. What have we done that you should complain about us?” Then Moses added, “The Lord will give you meat to eat in the evening and bread to satisfy you in the morning, for he has heard all your complaints against him. What have we done? Yes, your complaints are against the Lord, not against us.”

  • We learn 2 things about complaining:
    • Complaining about your circumstances are really complaining about God
      • My family, my gifts/talents, etc – who will you blame for who you are?
      • God doesn’t like it, mainly for your sake. It means you are completely unable to connect with all the good things he’s already given you. Yeah, he wants to kill you. All this defeating your enemies, bringing you out of slavery, etc.
      • The prayer should have been, “We know we’re getting low on food, but you’ve come thru for us before.”
    • God gives in spite of your complaints
  • When our lives are not going the way we want them to, it’s easy to turn on each other. But our complaints are really against the Lord.

Then Moses said to Aaron, “Announce this to the entire community of Israel: ‘Present yourselves before the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.’” 10 And as Aaron spoke to the whole community of Israel, they looked out toward the wilderness. There they could see the awesome glory of the Lord in the cloud.

11 Then the Lord said to Moses, 12 “I have heard the Israelites’ complaints. Now tell them, ‘In the evening you will have meat to eat, and in the morning you will have all the bread you want. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’”

13 That evening vast numbers of quail flew in and covered the camp.

  • Chipotle just landing in your camp

And the next morning the area around the camp was wet with dew. 14 When the dew evaporated, a flaky substance as fine as frost blanketed the ground. 15 The Israelites were puzzled when they saw it. “What is it?” they asked each other. They had no idea what it was.

And Moses told them, “It is the food the Lord has given you to eat. 16 These are the Lord’s instructions: Each household should gather as much as it needs. Pick up two quarts for each person in your tent.”

  • This is about God’s provision for them, but the picture is supposed to last far into the future. The manna was for 40 years, but the picture is much longer than that.
    • Picture 1: Deut 8:3, Matt 4:4
      • They had to drag themselves out of bed to collect it each morning, or they would starve to death
      • Q: What are symptoms of spiritual starvation if we are not being fed with the Word?

17 So the people of Israel did as they were told. Some gathered a lot, some only a little. 18 But when they measured it out, everyone had just enough. Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough. Each family had just what it needed.

19 Then Moses told them, “Do not keep any of it until morning.” 20 But some of them didn’t listen and kept some of it until morning. But by then it was full of maggots and had a terrible smell. Moses was very angry with them.

  • Picture 2: Money
    • 2Cor 8:13-15
      • Hoarding is bad
      • God will provide how much you need


21 After this the people gathered the food morning by morning, each family according to its need. And as the sun became hot, the flakes they had not picked up melted and disappeared.

  • Overall picture: Christ
    • John 6: 31-35

22 On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much as usual—four quarts for each person instead of two. Then all the leaders of the community came and asked Moses for an explanation. 23 He told them, “This is what the Lord commanded: Tomorrow will be a day of complete rest, a holy Sabbath day set apart for the Lord. So bake or boil as much as you want today, and set aside what is left for tomorrow.”

24 So they put some aside until morning, just as Moses had commanded. And in the morning the leftover food was wholesome and good, without maggots or odor. 25 Moses said, “Eat this food today, for today is a Sabbath day dedicated to the Lord. There will be no food on the ground today. 26 You may gather the food for six days, but the seventh day is the Sabbath. There will be no food on the ground that day.”

  • God’s provision: a day of rest
  • Q: How would refusal to rest show a reluctance to trust God?

27 Some of the people went out anyway on the seventh day, but they found no food. 28 The Lord asked Moses, “How long will these people refuse to obey my commands and instructions?

  • The answer is, “Forever.”

29 They must realize that the Sabbath is the Lord’s gift to you.

  • God is upset because he’s trying to give them something good.

That is why he gives you a two-day supply on the sixth day, so there will be enough for two days. On the Sabbath day you must each stay in your place. Do not go out to pick up food on the seventh day.” 30 So the people did not gather any food on the seventh day.

31 The Israelites called the food manna. It was white like coriander seed, and it tasted like honey wafers.

  • “Manna” means, “What is it?”

32 Then Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: Fill a two-quart container with manna to preserve it for your descendants. Then later generations will be able to see the food I gave you in the wilderness when I set you free from Egypt.”

33 Moses said to Aaron, “Get a jar and fill it with two quarts of manna. Then put it in a sacred place before the Lord to preserve it for all future generations.”34 Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded Moses. He eventually placed it in the Ark of the Covenant—in front of the stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant. 35 So the people of Israel ate manna for forty years until they arrived at the land where they would settle. They ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.

36 The container used to measure the manna was an omer, which was one-tenth of an ephah; it held about two quarts.

Exodus 17

Water from the Rock

17 At the Lord’s command, the whole community of Israel left the wilderness of Sin and moved from place to place. Eventually they camped at Rephidim, but there was no water there for the people to drink.

  • Have they learned?

So once more the people complained against Moses. “Give us water to drink!” they demanded.

“Quiet!” Moses replied. “Why are you complaining against me? And why are you testing the Lord?”

  • This is a reversal. Before, God was testing them. Now, they are testing God.

But tormented by thirst, they continued to argue with Moses. “Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Are you trying to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst?”

  • Again, the accusation of evil intent.

Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What should I do with these people? They are ready to stone me!”

  • Moses is losing his cool.

The Lord said to Moses, “Walk out in front of the people. Take your staff,

the one you used when you struck the water of the Nile, and call some of the elders of Israel to join you. I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink.” So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on.

  • This was at Mt Sinai – must have been like a waterfall
  • V6 – “I will stand before you on the rock”
  • 1Cor 10:4 – “All drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.”
  • John 4:13-14 – Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
  • John 7:37-39 – 37 On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
    • This was the Feast of Tabernacles, celebrating God’s care for them in the wilderness.
    • So during the Feast of Tabernacles, the priest would go down to the Pool of Siloam with these water jugs. They would fill them with water, and they would come back up to the steps where several hundred thousand Jews would be gathered in the Great Temple Mount area. In front of all of the people, as they were singing the Halel songs, the priest would pour the water out on the pavement there of the Temple Mount. That was to remind them how that God gave water to their fathers out of the rock in the wilderness
  • Rev 22:17
  • Jesus meets all of your needs
    • Your deepest need is forgiveness
  • For me: with all of my health problems, do I believe that Jesus has my best interests at heart?

Moses named the place Massah (which means “test”) and Meribah (which means “arguing”) because the people of Israel argued with Moses and tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord here with us or not?”

Israel Defeats the Amalekites

  • Israel faces some opposition; this time they have to fight themselves instead of God fighting for them. God continues to toughen them up.

Exodus 18

Jethro’s Visit to Moses

  • Leadership test for Moses – will he be able to delegate?

Exodus 19

The Lord Reveals Himself at Sinai

Exactly two months after the Israelites left Egypt, they arrived in the wilderness of Sinai. After breaking camp at Rephidim, they came to the wilderness of Sinai and set up camp there at the base of Mount Sinai.

Then Moses climbed the mountain to appear before God. The Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “Give these instructions to the family of Jacob; announce it to the descendants of Israel: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians. You know how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’ This is the message you must give to the people of Israel.”

So Moses returned from the mountain and called together the elders of the people and told them everything the Lord had commanded him. And all the people responded together, “We will do everything the Lord has commanded.” So Moses brought the people’s answer back to the Lord.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will come to you in a thick cloud, Moses, so the people themselves can hear me when I speak with you. Then they will always trust you.”

Moses told the Lord what the people had said. 10 Then the Lord told Moses, “Go down and prepare the people for my arrival. Consecrate them today and tomorrow, and have them wash their clothing. 11 Be sure they are ready on the third day, for on that day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai as all the people watch. 12 Mark off a boundary all around the mountain. Warn the people, ‘Be careful! Do not go up on the mountain or even touch its boundaries. Anyone who touches the mountain will certainly be put to death.13 No hand may touch the person or animal that crosses the boundary; instead, stone them or shoot them with arrows. They must be put to death.’ However, when the ram’s horn sounds a long blast, then the people may go up on the mountain.”

14 So Moses went down to the people. He consecrated them for worship, and they washed their clothes. 15 He told them, “Get ready for the third day, and until then abstain from having sexual intercourse.”

  • A lot of other religions used fertility rites as a way of worshipping their gods, and God is separating sex from worshipping him. Sex is not bad – he created it – but visit temple prostitutes is not good.

16 On the morning of the third day, thunder roared and lightning flashed, and a dense cloud came down on the mountain. There was a long, loud blast from a ram’s horn, and all the people trembled. 17 Moses led them out from the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 All of Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the Lord had descended on it in the form of fire. The smoke billowed into the sky like smoke from a brick kiln, and the whole mountain shook violently. 19 As the blast of the ram’s horn grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God thundered his reply. 20 The Lord came down on the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses climbed the mountain.

21 Then the Lord told Moses, “Go back down and warn the people not to break through the boundaries to see the Lord, or they will die. 22 Even the priests who regularly come near to the Lord must purify themselves so that the Lord does not break out and destroy them.”

23 “But Lord,” Moses protested, “the people cannot come up to Mount Sinai. You already warned us. You told me, ‘Mark off a boundary all around the mountain to set it apart as holy.’”

24 But the Lord said, “Go down and bring Aaron back up with you. In the meantime, do not let the priests or the people break through to approach the Lord, or he will break out and destroy them.”

25 So Moses went down to the people and told them what the Lord had said.

  • People who have been tested are being prepared to see God in a new way.