Things were looking good for the Israelites. They had just won their first battle and were being fed daily with God’s gift of manna. However, as with any group of sinful people gathered together, conflict arose among the people. So while everything seemed to be going great, Moses was stuck listening to the complaints of the people and judging between them day in and day out. Not a very exciting task! But being the servant leader Moses was, he didn’t complain, but tirelessly sat and judged the people each and every day
Welcome back to Exodus! It’s been awhile, but I’m excited to dive back into the life of Moses and the story of God as He transformed a ragtag group of ex-slaves into a conquering nation. Israel had a long ways to go, but each step in their journey brought them closer to the Promised Land and closer to the heart of God. So let’s return to following their footsteps through the pages of Exodus that we may learn from their mistakes and see how God can use broken, imperfect people to accomplish His divine purposes.
When I read some of the stories in the Old Testament it amazes me what some of God’s leaders had to put up with. We think we have difficult people in our lives, but what about them? Have you ever considered how challenging Ahab was to Elijah? But even more trying is when the difficult people in your life are part of your spiritual family, fellow believers with the same faith and God you profess. This is probably the most difficult! But Moses is a great role model for us in these situations.
Manna: God’s divine provision for the Israelites during their wilderness wanderings. We’ve already seen that through this miracle God shows us two points: 1) He will always provide, and 2) He wants us to trust and believe His Word. Let’s now look at the other two points we can glean from the miracle of manna.
What is it?! That’s what the Israelites called the flaky whiteness that appeared on the barren ground of the wilderness. In a land that was devoid of nutrients and substance, this divine provision was life-saving to the Israelites and nothing short of a miracle. Yet in the midst of their grumbling and complaining attitude, all the Israelites could say is “What is it?!”
The Israelites crossed the Red Sea on dry ground. They were delivered after 430 years of slavery. They were headed to the Promised Land. They saw firsthand the mighty acts of God and followed His cloud and fire each day and night. Naturally, their first reaction after crossing the Red Sea was worship.
They worshipped with Moses and then Miriam picked up the tambourine and led the people in more singing and praising of God. However, this didn’t last too long. As will become the typical reaction for this ungrateful people, the moment things got tough the Israelites forgot all the things God had done. They whined and complained and blamed Moses and God for their troubles. Look at what happens immediately after the Israelites walk away from the shores of the Red Sea.
“Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the LORD, saying, “‘I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The LORD is a man of war; the LORD is his name.’”
After the victorious crossing of the Red Sea, the defeat of Pharaoh and his army, and tasting freedom, everything seemed to be going good. We could end our study of Moses and the Exodus here, on the other side of the Red Sea. However, the story of Moses’ life is not done. This is just the close of one chapter—a new one awaits.
The Israelites walked through the Red Sea on dry ground. But what happened to the Egyptians? What did they do when they saw their former slaves walk straight through the sea? They followed them. They charged right into the Red Sea in pursuit of the Israelites. But was their experience at the bottom of the Red Sea the same as the Israelites? Not quite.
The book of Exodus is full of miracle after miracle. Between the Ten Plagues of Egypt and what God did during the Israelites wilderness wanderings, it can be easy to become accustomed to the amazing things God did. However, we should never let the miraculous become ordinary; never allow the amazing to become commonplace. God performed these signs and wonders for a reason—to show that He is God. Therefore, let’s not forget or lose sight of the awesomeness of our great God!
Do you ever feel like the direction of your life is a bit roundabout? Like the journey you’re on is a bit meandering and not going in the direction you feel God is calling you? Take heart, God orders our way and leads us even when it feels like we’re going in circles. He knows the best way and sometimes it might not be the most direct route.
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