Exodus 15:22-17:7: Living in the Desert
[Exodus 15:22-27 ESV] 22 Then Moses made Israel set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah. 24 And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” 25 And he cried to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the LORD made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them, 26 saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, your healer.” 27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they encamped there by the water.
[Exodus 16:1-36 ESV] 1 They set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the people of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. 2 And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, 3 and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” 4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not. 5 On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.” 6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the people of Israel, “At evening you shall know that it was the LORD who brought you out of the land of Egypt, 7 and in the morning you shall see the glory of the LORD, because he has heard your grumbling against the LORD. For what are we, that you grumble against us?” 8 And Moses said, “When the LORD gives you in the evening meat to eat and in the morning bread to the full, because the LORD has heard your grumbling that you grumble against him–what are we? Your grumbling is not against us but against the LORD.” 9 Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, ‘Come near before the LORD, for he has heard your grumbling.'” 10 And as soon as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud. 11 And the LORD said to Moses, 12 “I have heard the grumbling of the people of Israel. Say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God.'” 13 In the evening quail came up and covered the camp, and in the morning dew lay around the camp. 14 And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground. 15 When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat. 16 This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Gather of it, each one of you, as much as he can eat. You shall each take an omer, according to the number of the persons that each of you has in his tent.'” 17 And the people of Israel did so. They gathered, some more, some less. 18 But when they measured it with an omer, whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack. Each of them gathered as much as he could eat. 19 And Moses said to them, “Let no one leave any of it over till the morning.” 20 But they did not listen to Moses. Some left part of it till the morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them. 21 Morning by morning they gathered it, each as much as he could eat; but when the sun grew hot, it melted. 22 On the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers each. And when all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, 23 he said to them, “This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD; bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over lay aside to be kept till the morning.'” 24 So they laid it aside till the morning, as Moses commanded them, and it did not stink, and there were no worms in it. 25 Moses said, “Eat it today, for today is a Sabbath to the LORD; today you will not find it in the field. 26 Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, which is a Sabbath, there will be none.” 27 On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather, but they found none. 28 And the LORD said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws? 29 See! The LORD has given you the Sabbath; therefore on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Remain each of you in his place; let no one go out of his place on the seventh day.” 30 So the people rested on the seventh day. 31 Now the house of Israel called its name manna. It was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. 32 Moses said, “This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Let an omer of it be kept throughout your generations, so that they may see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.'” 33 And Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar, and put an omer of manna in it, and place it before the LORD to be kept throughout your generations.” 34 As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the testimony to be kept. 35 The people of Israel ate the manna forty years, till they came to a habitable land. They ate the manna till they came to the border of the land of Canaan. 36 (An omer is the tenth part of an ephah.)
[Exodus 17:1-7 ESV] 1 All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the LORD, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the LORD?” 3 But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” 4 So Moses cried to the LORD, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” 5 And the LORD said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel, and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the LORD by saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?”
Let’s take a moment and pray.
Father, would you open our heart and our mind to understand these three stories in your Word of desert and provision and what that tells us about who You are and what it tells us about who we are.
Father, would you give us clarity with these things and help us to understand and find comfort in your word today we ask this. In your precious Name.
One of my goals is, I preach has been to help you understand how to read the Bible biblically. That might sound like a weird phrase, but there are many people out there who do not read the Bible biblically. They read the, their own thoughts into the Bible, their own ideas into the Bible. And you’ll notice that we have been covering huge sections of scripture each Sunday. And there’s a reason for that. I could break it down and believe me, I could get caught up. In fact I’m not even sure I’m going to get through all my notes today. We might have to put half of my notes off til next week. We’ll see how it goes. But there are things that I want to talk about and talk about for a long time, but I feel a need to help you read the Bible in the way that the biblical authors wanted you to read it.
And so I’ve sectioned every sermon off in this series in the sections that I believe the little, the original authors sectioned off under the inspiration of the Holy spirit that includes these three stories which are placed back to back to back of desert wandering desperation. And, and there’s a reason why these three stories are back to back to back. There’s a reason why these three stories take place immediately after the Exodus event. There’s a reason why all of these things take place before Sinai. There’s, there’s a lot going on here. And I, if I, if I got too into the details of the tax, which is important and good, you would miss the big picture. And I want you to see the big picture here today. So I want to help you with that. In the Bible, the desert is not just a geographical location, it is a place of mystery and danger and wandering. These three stories occur in the desert and each show us part of the whole of what it means to live in the desert.
What is the desert? What would the desert have been to the to the ancient Israelites as they thought about it. The desert is a place of enemies and danger. There are dangerous from neighboring nations. Next week we’re going to see one of those nations and Amalekites and the war against them. But there’s also dangers for them. In ancient times they viewed the desert as a place of spiritual evil. We don’t have a lot of geographical location to kind of signify this, but you need to understand like for us it would be similar to like the abandoned house. You know what I mean? You go, don’t go into the abandoned house. It’s scary to go there. There’s this like mystery and danger behind it. That was the desert for them and there’s good reason for that because people generally couldn’t live in the desert and so it was this place of mystery for them. It was also not supposed to be Israel’s home. They’re going to end up being there for 40 years wandering, but the desert was supposed to be uncomfortable. They were going to constantly be moving and packing food sources would be scarce and unreliable and water sources would be even more scarce and unreliable. They were not supposed to feel at home and on top of this, they should realize this is an hospitable to human life. They needed to rely on God’s provision daily in this passage if they’re going to survive.
When you think, or when you see the wilderness or the desert in the Bible you should think about danger, unsettleness and a lack of provision. And it’s ultimately in that location on many times in the Bible when the desert has mentioned in poetic ways in the Psalms and in poetic ways in the, in the prophets later on, it’s going to be a place of testing for God’s people. Have you ever asked in your own life, why am going through this? Why is life so difficult? Why is it so hard for me to fulfill my dreams? Why does everyone else seem else has such an easy life compared to mine? Why am I always unhappy?
If so, you’ve seen the desert and you’ve responded very similarly to how the Israelites do. Here. The desert is a place of testing for God’s people. Just think about it for a second. The God’s people are gonna end up being here 40 years in the desert, right? How long was Jesus’ tests tempted by the devil in the wilderness? 40 days. The desert throughout from, from the, the gospels all the way back to Exodus and everywhere in between the desert and the wilderness is filled with a theological some people call it a motif or a theme. An idea should come to your mind of testing when you think of, or when you read about the desert in a poetic sense. So what is testing? Let me give you an illustration for, for the desert in art day and age, is anybody have in their workplace one of those like cheesy posters with the mountain climber on top that has some like statement , like, you know, I dunno, “you can do it” or something like that, you know what I’m talking about?
For us, climbing a mountain has that idea. It has an idea not just of actually climbing the mountain, but of accomplishment. When you accomplish some big task at work, you feel like you climbed a mountain. You say that even the idea of accomplishment and determination is attached to a geographical location, right? In the same way for the ancient Israelites, the idea of testing by God is connected to the geographical location of the desert and wilderness. Okay, so what is testing? I need you to understand what I mean by testing. Okay. God tests his people not for his benefit. He doesn’t need to know what you’re made of.
God tests his people for their benefit. He’s not trying to figure out who is faithful to him. He is trying to help you figure out how to be faithful to him. That’s the point of tests. The tests are for you and you think about it in the narrative. Think about the flow. Israel is a new baby nation, right? We’re supposed to see them being delivered out of Egypt as the time when they come out of the womb. They’re delivered, they’re given birth to as a nation and here they are in their infant stages and this is where they need to learn in the desert to and to rely on God and they don’t do a very good job of it. He was going to give them this section of time here to trust and rely on God and [inaudible] as many people have pointed out, the nation of Israel follows Moses’s life. Moses grows up. He tries to take things in our own hand and his own hand. And then while he’s sent to the desert for 40 years, cause he doesn’t do things God way God’s way and the same way the Israelites are not going to be obedient and faithful to God and they’re going to be sent into the wilderness for 40 years.
So I watch you through this process to notice how long suffering goddess throughout this passage you will have mentions of Moses getting angry. God is at the end of this book, after a while of dealing with this people he is going to at least put on, he’s going to give Moses, he’s going to test Moses to see what kind of a leader he’s going to be. And in doing that, he’s after a great disobedience by Israel. He’s going to say, I’m just going to wipe these people out. But that doesn’t happen yet. In the story God has just delivered people from Exodus. He just did this great thing to them for, for them. And right away we see them doubting him and testing him. So this tells us something about our God that I want you to remember through this process. He’s long suffering as long suffering. He’s patient. I don’t know about you, but if I work really hard to cook a really nice meal for my family, and the first thing one of my children does is saying, I don’t really like that.
I don’t like that very much. I don’t respond well. I don’t respond patiently to that like our God does here. God has just done a really good thing for that. And their immediate response is a complaint. So once you to through this section, notice and through all of this, right till the end of the series, notice how patient God is with his people. Okay? Okay. So here’s your big idea. Deserts in life help us appreciate the living water deserts in life. Help us appreciate the living water. And so we’re going to start in this first store. I’m not going to read it again. We’re just going to kind of go through and I’m going to give you, I think I have nine points about deserts, not really deserts, but pretend deserts. Okay? Nine points. If you’re a note taker, I’ll try to tell you that this is another point about deserts.
So it has literally been how many days since they left side are since they left. Egypt. How many days you can find it in verse 22, three days. God had just worked miracles to deliver them out of the most powerful a nation, the hands of the most powerful nation in the world at that time, three days. Now, there are two ways to look at this. Number one is it’s been only three days, don’t they trust God? And number two is you try wandering around in the desert for three days without water and see how you do. You know what I’m saying? Like in one sense it’s like, seriously in the other sense it’s like, yeah, I kind of get it. It’s both at the same time, three days. But Israel’s grumbling staggers the imagination. Yeah. And this brings us to point number one about deserts. Deserts make you forgetful and short side.
You ever gone through a desert time in your life, how quickly you become forgetful of everything God has done for you? How quickly you forget that he saved you from your sins? How quickly forget the moments where he gave you amazing riches of his grace. Peace, joy, how quickly you forget how often he’s forgiven you, how quickly you forget everything he’s done for you. Trials or deserts have a way of making us forgetful, right? Have you seen this in your life? The first thing you do is what have you done for me lately? Yeah, but what have you done for me lately? God. Deserts make us short sided and forgetful. Yeah. In this passage, they came to Mara. Listen very carefully here. This is really important. If your, if your Bibles have the little footnotes at the bottom with the meanings of different biblical locations and words, always look at what the words mean. We in, in, in our English language, the names of things don’t really matter that much. Okay? Your name or the location or whatever, it doesn’t really matter that much. But for biblical times, and as you read the biblical narrative, the name means everything. So pay attention and pay attention to where else those names are in the Bible. You have to kind of keep this grid in your mind. Mara here means a bitterness.
This is from the same root word from early in accidents when it says that the Egyptians made the Israelites service bitter when they were slaves in Egypt. [inaudible] Bitter. In other words, Israel has been set free from Egypt, and yet they find themselves in a bitter circumstance. Again I didn’t have this here. I don’t have a fully formed in my mind, but I’ll just say something like this. This can be a one B point about deserts ready. One [inaudible] point about deserts would be [inaudible] circumstantial change doesn’t always fix the desert, right? So desperately wanted to get out of Egypt and yet they get out and it’s, let’s see, what we’d need is not circumstantial change always. We need a heart change.
So he throws a log into the water. We could get into what is happening here. There’s actually a whole big idea that we can follow through about why he throws wood in the water in our day and age today we have firewood of plenty where we are here in America, but there you can imagine in a desert land, how much wood do they have? Not much. So there’s this whole theme that you could follow there, but it definitely shows this bitter water. Their water symbolizes a lot of times in the word of God. Like a chaos that can’t be control. And yet here God controls the chaos and makes the waters.
Then we have in verse number 26 something that’s really fascinating. I want you to see if you know what’s wrong with this verse. Okay? If you diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God and do that which is right in his eyes and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases that are on you that I put on the Egyptians from the Lord your healer. What’s wrong with that verse? The law hasn’t been written yet. Now you could say that he is preparing them for the writing of the law that’s coming in a few months. You could say that, and I think that could be accurate, but this isn’t the first time that that’s been talked about in the Bible. In fact, all the way back with Abraham, Abraham chapter 26 verse five, in, in, in, in Genesis, before the law was even written, it says that Abraham kept the commandments and it’s the specific word for the Torah given on Sinai.
Why is that? Because I want you to get this and I want you to understand that [inaudible] [inaudible] in the Bible oftentimes obeying God and obeying his commands is about the heart. It’s about obeying the voice of God. It’s about listening to the voice of God. And for us today, it’s the voice of God given to us in the, in his word, it’s about doing what’s right in God’s eyes, not what’s right in our eyes. It’s about listening to what we do know about God. And it’s about trusting what God says is good and avoiding what God says is bad. This is what it means. And so here’s a point number two about deserts and that’s deserts. Purpose is to help you listen to God’s voice. You’re going to go through trials.
Sometimes you need a few things stripped away, the earwax cleared out of your ear so that you can actually hear the voice of the Lord. Those trials are meant to help you listen better to God’s voice is he tells you what is good, do avoid what is bad. And then we have one of my favorite verses in the Bible. Verse 27 okay, read this. Then they came to ELAM where there were 12 Springs of water and 70 Palm trees and they encamped there by the water. And that’s it. A couple of questions, Moses, if you could give us more details. Number one, ah, I know that there is, you know, tens if not hundreds of thousands of Israelites who have been set free from Egypt. So many Palm trees doesn’t seem like enough to, I don’t know, provide shade and shelter and everything like, well, what’s the point of this?
Right? Read that. It’s stunning when you read it. This is a wonderful example in the word of God where you have to pay attention to numbers. Now you can take numbers too far and get weird with them. Don’t get weird with numbers. Okay. Don’t make wonders. Oh, don’t make numbers means something that they’re not supposed to meet. Yeah. And if the biblical author is dropping 12 and 70 like that in front of you, you should pay attention because 12 how many tribes are there in Israel? 12 right? How many disciples were there? How many? How many disciples followed Jesus? 12 and then when one of them killed himself after he betrayed Jesus, the disciples felt the need to get another one to replace them so that they would have 12 why was that? Because numbers are important and you don’t want to take them too far.
But this goes beyond just the scientific miss of this. Okay. What about 70 70 is a weird number as well. 70 there are 70 nations listed in the table of nations in Genesis. The reason for that is fascinating because later on in Luke, Jesus going to send out not only 12 disciples, but 70 disciples to go out to the ancient world. At this time there were 70 nations. I don’t, I should have looked this up. I don’t know how many nations we have today in our world. Hundreds, I’m sure. Okay. But to them it’s 70. There were seven. That’s all of them. And so for them, the world counted as 70 the numbers here and this, this many Oasis that Springs up with trees in it and Springs of water and all this amazing thing. This is meant to be a mini promised land, a mini kind of Eden on Eden light, if you will. We’re meant to read it that way. This is the place where God was going to restore his people. And as we read this here, we’re supposed to see God as meaning as people here in a special way, ministering to their needs. If it really was all of that, they would have stayed there. I would think longer. But they keep traveling around, right?
Revelation 22 you got the throne of God. What’s flowing out from the throne? A river. How many trees are on each side of the river? 12 what are their Leaves for? -the healing of the nations? You can do weird things with numbers. Don’t do weird things with numbers, but there are times when you have to take note of how they use numbers and see what he’s trying to communicate to us. He’s trying to communicate to us more than just the literal number of trees. Like are they counting trees that are little like this or not? You know, try to communicate more to it than that. It’s trying to communicate to us something about God’s provision, and this kind of brings me back to a main point about deserts. That is the desert. Your trial, I can give you a preview of glory, can give you a preview of the promised land. If you want to put it like that. Israel is on their way at this point to the land flowing with milk and honey, right? They get a little taste of Eden here in this moment in the middle of the desert. [inaudible]
So that’s just the first story. This next story I would love to cover in detail, but we’re going to just survey a month passes. We know that from the days that they give here in the first few verses a month passes. And we come to verse six and Moses scenario and said to all the people at the, after they come to them again, angry and grumpy, that they’re hungry and they want food and God. And it says, Moses says to the people in verse six, that evening, you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. This brings us to another point about deserts that is the desert can help you know the Lord.
Yeah. This moment in Israel’s history, for some reason, they still doubt that it was the Lord who delivered them from Egypt. You don’t know him yet. Some of you have, have made a profession of Jesus Christ made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. You believe in him and yet you’re still baby Christians and you’re in this, this trial in your life and you haven’t really understood deeply about who God is. And I want to tell you right now that one of the ways that God reveals to you who he is through the desert. It’s through the trials. I’ve seen it in my own life, time and time again, I don’t want to go through the trials. I don’t want to go through the desert. I don’t want to walk through that sand, but it’s there that a lot of times I can know something about God.
So don’t waste the desert when you’re going through it. Don’t waste it. Use it. Turn to God, plead with him fast. Pray. Show him. Ask him to show who he is. I want you to notice too that they become embittered. Verse three would that they had died, would that we had died by the hand of the Lord. And he goes on and it says that Moses is so scared, versa when the Lord gives you in the evening, meaty and the bread in the morning bread to the full because the Lord has heard your grumbling, that you grumble against him, you grumbling is not against us, but against the Lord. And Moses later on says that he’s fearful that the people will kill him.
So they’re complaining against Moses, their leader, right? And I want you to hear this one. This is really okay. The desert, the desert can embitter you toward those who love you the most. Think about Moses. Think about all that he had done for the people of Israel to this point. He could’ve just kept being a shepherd, right? Did it? So when the people become dissatisfied in the desert, they become hungry. They become grumpy. What they do, they make Moses into the lightning rod and they direct all of their anger against him. Does he deserve that?
No. Have you seen this in your own life? You’re married today. You’re going through a tough time. What happens with the marriage? What should happen is that you should draw closer together and love each other and support each other. That’s the ideal marriage. But when you go through a trial, what happens? You end up taking it out on them sometimes, right? That’s what’s happening here. Moses loves and cares for this people. He’s trying to help them. He’s trying to deliver them and they grumble against him. Yup. Friends that care for you. It’s the same thing. You have to recognize this. This goes with our Sunday school lesson from last week and I we could talk a lot about these things. But that is when you have desires and passions within you that are unfulfilled and unmet that causes corals and fighting’s among us. [inaudible] Those closest to us. Be on your guard against that. Confess that I want you to see another one. We’ll, we’ll keep moving here. See another one that they were in, in the wilderness and there are specific instructions you’re supposed to gather each day, right?
You guys are falling asleep on me, aren’t you? Supposed to gather at each day except for the Sabbath. You’re not supposed to gather on the Sabbath, is not going to be anything out there for you on the Sabbath. If you try to keep some in a container from Monday to Tuesday, what’s going to happen? Yeah, It’s gonna rot. It’s not going to be any good right now. People have argued for a long time about, for instance, what was it that made the water sweet and chapter 15 and what was the manner that fell on the ground at whatever it is. You don’t have to really get down to the nitty gritty of that. Whatever it is, it is apparent that it’s from the Lord’s hand. He’s providing this for the people and he’s providing it to them for them every single day. And this is another point about desert living.
Desert living requires daily provision by God. I’m going to take that a step farther and I’m going to say desert living requires moment by moment provision from God. When you’re in a trial, is it enough that you come to church Sunday and you hear the word preached and then you go on your way and you forget about it the rest of the week when you’re, when you’re not in a trial? Is that enough? No. But when you’re in the trial, is that enough to sustain you? By God’s grace? Is that enough to sustain you and his hope, his peace and his love? Absolutely not. You need a daily provision of God’s mercies and it’s not just daily. I would say if be moment by moment, my, my days sometimes feel like six days jam together. Anyone else there? Yeah, and, and, and, and we have that. We go through that. So you don’t just need to be in the word and praying and relying on God once a day and then going on your Merry way. You need a moment by moment. You need to be having his word dwell in you richly day by day.
You need a consistent provision of grace from God. I could go into wonderful things. I mean, listen, gee, Jesus, feeding of the 5,000 is almost certainly supposed to be connected here to the manna. Go read the boat. Both accounts later on or how about in the prayer that Jesus gives us an example, what does he say? Give us this day our what? Yeah. Jesus himself calls themselves the bread of life and if anyone comes to him, you will never hunger or thirst again. Come on. Jesus knows his Bible, obviously. He’s using it to help you understand and read truths from the new Testament. In light of all of these wonderful stores from the old Testament, Jesus is the bread of life for you today. He is the manna from heaven. Today. You need him day by day that manna is a foretaste of the promised land.
What does it tastes like, honey? What is the promise land flowing with? Yeah. Yeah. You guys get, you start to see what’s going on here. He’s giving them a little foretaste. Give them a little preview of what it’s going to be like. They just need to dig. He needs to be sustained by his Grace Day by day and they will get there one day they will get there just not yet and in the meantime just be content with what God has given you today. Then he says in verse 28 of this chapter, the Lord said to Moses, how long will you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws? Interesting phrase for all the reasons I’ve already said, they haven’t given the Cayman Manson laws yet, but on top of that, this is the very same wording that’s used a Pharaoh in chapter 10 verse three how long will you refuse my commands? Are you going to become like a new Pharaoh like a new Egypt? And so here brings us to testing another point. The desert can reveal you to be, Pharaoh can put you in Pharos sandals. It can harden your heart if you let it.
If you go into the desert, you can. You have a choice, reject the daily provision of God and grow hard in your heart and reject what God has told you to do and not listen to his voice and not go to him. And if you do that time after time after time, what happens to your heart? It’s harden. Then God gives you over to that. Don’t let the desert heart in your heart. Don’t let the trials harden your heart. Do everything you can to keep sensitive to God in the desert. Do everything you can to listen to his voice journal, write, pray, talk to friends, but do not let your heart grow hard.
I love the editorial comments at the end of the, at the end of the chapter verses 33 through 36 obviously the, the place before the Lord hasn’t been set up yet, right? That’s going to be in the tabernacle. So again, there’s commandments given even before they have the commandments here. This is not I, I’m emphasizing this point because I think a later author inspired by the Holy spirit, probably not Moses because Moses didn’t write all of this. We know that because of some of the comments that are made, a later author inspired by the Holy spirit with Moses pen. These words here to give a emphasis on how future generations need to remember how God provided day by day in this. I don’t have this as a point, but it can be another desert point. It’s good to set up symbols in your life to remember what God has done for you in the past. Don’t make them legalistic. Don’t bow out a worship to them. Don’t do anything like that, but it’s good to set up something that helps you remember.
And then I love, I love the little thing at the end and over is the 10th part of an ethos. Does, if that helps any of us here today. An Omer, there is an ancient unit of measurement. We don’t know what that is today, but apparently the later author under the inspiration of the Holy spirit, again thought that the readers at the time would need to know, Oh, Hey, you guys want to know how much they were supposed to collect? Well, I’ll give you an EFA that way. You know how much that is. We don’t know what an ISA is either, but it was an amount that was enough to feed you for a day. Generally speaking.
So we come to our last story, chapter 17. We’re finishing this upstate with me here. There’s some good stuff here. You guys know the story. They’re out there. They’re still there. They’re quarrelling with Moses. Verse two, give us water to drink. People thirsted there for water. The people grumbled against Moses. Why’d you bring us out of Egypt to kill us here? So Moses cried to the Lord. Now that’s an interesting word because that’s the word that’s used of Israel crying to the Lord when they were in slavery. Tells you about how Moses felt at that moment.
Cries to the Lord. What shall I do with this people? They’re almost ready to stone me. Pass on before the people. Take the elders. Take your staff that you struck the Nile. That’s important. That staff that you struck, denial and it was turned to blood. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock and you will strike the rock and the water shall come out of it. And the people will drink. Okay, so Moses walks over to Iraq. He hits a rock with a stick and water comes out of it. That’s awesome. What is going on here though? I think what we’re supposed to do here is connect that the one who delivered the people from Egypt is also the one who will continue to sustain the people day by day and provide for them. Why is this helpful?
Cause it’s not in the nature of our God to save you and be like, all right, you guys got your ticket to heaven. Not at all. The same one, the same power that delivered you from slavery to sin, from the punishment of that is the same power that sustains you day by day. It’s gospel power. Philippians one four he who be gone. The good work in you will be faithful to complete it. He’s not given up on you yet. Do you remember that moment when you believed in Jesus Christ? When you knew your sins were washed away? You remember the moment when God poured out his love in your heart as you looked at the cross and you knew that Jesus died for you there. You remember the moment when you realized because he Rose from the dead. You have new life and you felt a vibrancy in your bones and then you cower and whimper as you go through the desert later on. The same one who delivered you initially well sustain you today, tomorrow, forever. He’s not given up on you.
Oh, so many good things about water in the Bible. All you need to know that later, authors will take this story here and it will become hugely symbolic for the Holy spirit all over the place for Holy spirit. Isaiah 43 you can look that up later on Isaiah 43:19-21 I’ve been studying that one out, John seven 37- 39 all over the place. It. It pictures us as the dry ground, our souls and our hearts is desert like and yet God pours out water from odd Heights, streams burst through the rocks, and you and I had been given life through the Holy spirit. Same power that delivered you from slavery, sustains you in the desert. I want you to see that. I want you to hear that. Don’t let your trials make you start to doubt. He’s God powerful. I mean, he was powerful enough to save me, but he powerful enough to help me today.
I mean, he’s loving enough to save me, but is he loving enough to still care for me today? No, absolutely yes. Don’t doubt that. No question that the same God yesterday, today and forever. Then if you do not know that God and you have not been saved, that you have not experienced the forgiveness of sins, you have not placed your faith in Jesus Christ. You have not reveled in the glory of the cross and the love that God gave you there. You have not been given new life in your bones, then please today, trust that God can deliver you through Jesus Christ. They call the place that this happens, Massah and Meribah, because of tests. Massa means testing and Meribah means quarreling.
The desert exposed. This is your last point. The desert exposed the peoples hunger or maybe we could better say the desert exposes our dissatisfaction. The people doubted God. The four what they were going through now is revealing what was already in their heart. As you go through a desert, a lot of times what happens is that you grow hungry. It’d be not for food. Maybe some of you food [inaudible] you grow hungry and dissatisfied with something in your soul. Dissatisfied with your life circumstances. You think, well, I’m going to go look for a new job or I’m going to go look for a new house, or you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to look for a new spouse or you know, I can’t wait until I go on that vacation. I’m going to buy a new toy. You get to satisfied. You start to hunger after something else. Yes.
Testing desert testing has a way of exposing your hunger, your dissatisfaction as a way of showing you that you’re not satisfied in God, that you’re not content and who he is as a way of showing you that you’re not in a good place spiritually if their first response in the desert is to get dissatisfied with your life instead of turning to God. Philippians four talks about being content and how through Christ you can do all things you can live in all circumstances, be content in all circumstances. Matthew six 30 talks about this to you guys. Please understand Redeemer. Please understand, okay, you’re going through testing. One of the first things that will happen, a reflex in your soul will be to grow dissatisfied at home.
Whatever that thing is that you start hungering for is the thing that God would like to root out so that you will trust in him and turn to him. Are you going to rely on God? Are you going to rely on other things? Desert living, these stories are amazing. Listen, these stories, they’re all over. The rest of the Bible all over the place. Doesn’t take long to read the Psalms, the prophets, the new Testament apocalyptic little literature later on. And you realize as you read it, Oh, they’re referring back to these moments in Israel’s history right after they were delivered from Egypt. Please remember that as you read your Bible, study it and try to try to read and understand in light of these stories what those new Testament authors and later authors, bye Isaiah and Jeremiah and profits later on are trying to communicate. I know, I know desert. I know deserts can be tough. Family. I know, I know you’re going through it. I know that each one of us are facing different things in our life. Please don’t allow the desert [inaudible] have your heart grow hard, are to turn you into someone who is a grumbler and dissatisfied with their life and latching on to anything they can. Instead, let the desert help you to know God. Would you say it with me and we’ll close in prayer.
Father, would you minister to your people here today from your word there? I know there are a lot who are struggling with different things. Deserts that they’re walking through even right now and father, I just ask and I pray that you would, you would minister to their hearts from these stories. They would help them to find a hope. You are a God who brings life and water even to the desert that your God who provides your God who the same, same God who delivers us from sin sustains us each and every day.
Father, I pray that you would fill your people here with your spirit and help to sustain them, strengthen them, help them to grow in their faith and become the type of people that are faithful to you. Father I pray and ask these things in your precious name. Amen
Count, count it all joy, my brothers and sisters. When you meet trials of various kinds. For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness and let steadfastness, faithfulness, have its full effect so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
I’ll be up here for a few minutes after the service. If anyone would like to talk or pray, I’d welcome that opportunity. Otherwise, thank you so much for being here this morning. You are dismissed.