What, Manna AGAIN?

Exodus 14-16, Numbers 11

In Exodus 14, God saves the Israelites from Pharaoh. He literally moves the entire width of the Red Sea – this happened in the middle of the night, did you know that? – even dries the ground before the people walk on t as they cross, walls of water on their right and their left. They then watch as God swept Pharaoh and his best men, horses, and chariots into the sea.

Does this sound awe-inspiring? Miraculous? The people celebrate and sing songs of praise.

By Exodus 15, the very next chapter, days later, they are already grumbling the they cannot find water to drink.

By Exodus 16, they are complaining so sullenly that they say, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt! There we sat by pots of meat and ate our fill of bread, but you have brought us into this desert to starve this whole assembly to death!” By Exodus 32, they are already worshipping something else!

God sends them manna, which they pick off the ground every morning. They don’t have to dig, plant, harvest, nothing. Just pick it up off the ground. But in Numbers 11, they are complaining about eating manna every day.

“If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost – also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”

You think the Israelites are whiners? You think they are greedy and lazy and unappreciative?

Guess what? The Israelites are us! We are not any better than they were.

Life is going hard for us; it is difficult, too difficult for us to handle. We beg God for help. He helps us. And within days we have already forgotten his love and mercy, we stop being appreciative, and more often than not, we are back to grumbling and whining again.

I used to think that the Old Testament wasn’t very relevant to me, a Christian. That was the old covenant and Jesus is the new one. But Israel is the representation of each one of us. Their covenant with God operated the same way our covenant with God operates. The behavior of the Israelites and God’s reactions have much to teach us.

You think in the old Testament that God is an angry god? Yes, but only after his people have pushed and pushed and pushed him. He gives them his heart, his word, his promises, and they repay him by rejecting him, time and again. We do the same exact thing to him, time and again, every time we forget how much he loves us, how much he wants the best for us, and how much he has done for us. God is incredibly patient and loving, and incredibly slow to anger.

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It took me three years to realize that I am a fallen creature. I have been struggling and groping my way back to the Light. Here are a few things that I have learned along the way....

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