Exodus 15-16

ex15.jpgGreetings!

The Song of Moses and Miriam

15     Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord:

“I will sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea.

2 The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

3 The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name.

4 Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he has hurled into the sea. The best of Pharaoh’s officers are drowned in the Red Sea.

5 The deep waters have covered them; they sank to the depths like a stone.

6 “Your right hand, O Lord, was majestic in power. Your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy.

7 In the greatness of your majesty you threw down those who opposed you. You unleashed your burning anger; it consumed them like stubble.

8 By the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up. The surging waters stood firm like a wall; the deep waters congealed in the heart of the sea.

9 “The enemy boasted, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake them. I will divide the spoils; I will gorge myself on them. I will draw my sword and my hand will destroy them.’

10 But you blew with your breath, and the sea covered them. They sank like lead in the mighty waters.

11 “Who among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?

12 You stretched out your right hand and the earth swallowed them.

13 “In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.

14 The nations will hear and tremble; anguish will grip the people of Philistia.

15 The chiefs of Edom will be terrified, the leaders of Moab will be seized with trembling, the people of Canaan will melt away;

16 terror and dread will fall upon them. By the power of your arm they will be as still as a stone— until your people pass by, O Lord, until the people you bought pass by.

17 You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance— the place, O Lord, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord, your hands established.

18 The Lord will reign for ever and ever.”

19 When Pharaoh’s horses, chariots and horsemen went into the sea, the Lord brought the waters of the sea back over them, but the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground. 20 Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing. 21 Miriam sang to them:

“Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea.”

The Waters of Marah and Elim

22 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.) 24 So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”

25 Then Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.

There the Lord made a decree and a law for them, and there he tested them. 26 He said, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.”

God often made agreements such that if the Israelites did their part, He would do his.  Time and again they would break their part of the agreement.

27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.

Manna and Quail

16     The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. 2 In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”

Do we have the same what have you done for me lately attitudes that the Israelites had?  What if they would have said, “God has taken great care of us so far.  He knows what we need.  We just need to trust and ask him for food.  He didn’t bring us out of Egypt so we could die in the desert.  What would have been the point of that?”

4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. 5 On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.”

6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of Egypt, 7 and in the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we, that you should grumble against us?” 8 Moses also said, “You will know that it was the Lord when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord.”

9 Then Moses told Aaron, “Say to the entire Israelite community, ‘Come before the Lord, for he has heard your grumbling.’”

10 While Aaron was speaking to the whole Israelite community, they looked toward the desert, and there was the glory of the Lord appearing in the cloud.

11 The Lord said to Moses, 12 “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’”

13 That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was.

Moses said to them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Each one is to gather as much as he needs. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent.’”

17 The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. 18 And when they measured it by the omer, he who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little. Each one gathered as much as he needed.

19 Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.”

20 However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them.

21 Each morning everyone gathered as much as he needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away. 22 On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much—two omers for each person—and the leaders of the community came and reported this to Moses. 23 He said to them, “This is what the Lord commanded: ‘Tomorrow is to be a day of rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.’”

24 So they saved it until morning, as Moses commanded, and it did not stink or get maggots in it. 25 “Eat it today,” Moses said, “because today is a Sabbath to the Lord. You will not find any of it on the ground today. 26 Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any.”

27 Nevertheless, some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather it, but they found none. 28 Then the Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions? 29 Bear in mind that the Lord has given you the Sabbath; that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Everyone is to stay where he is on the seventh day; no one is to go out.” 30 So the people rested on the seventh day.

31 The people of Israel called the bread manna. It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey. 32 Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Take an omer of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the desert when I brought you out of Egypt.’”

33 So Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar and put an omer of manna in it. Then place it before the Lord to be kept for the generations to come.”

34 As the Lord commanded Moses, Aaron put the manna in front of the Testimony, that it might be kept. 35 The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a land that was settled; they ate manna until they reached the border of Canaan.

36 (An omer is one tenth of an ephah.)

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

This is where the phrase manna from Heaven comes from.  God really gave them bread from Heaven each day.  I love how they got double portions on Friday so they didn’t have to gather it on the Sabbath, and how gathering extra during the week resulted in rotten manna with maggots, but that gathered on Friday was good on Saturday.

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3 Responses

  1. This is a great passage, showing us how God wants us to live in the moment, gather “our daily bread” and depend on Him.

    I also like your question, about how do we act like the Israelites. Each day I try to remember that, I both depend on God, and don’t deserve His bounty.

    Divinum auxilium † maneat semper nobiscum
    (May help divine † be with us all, for ever abiding)

  2. “The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”” – I was under the impression that the Israelites had brought their cattle with them. I realize there were limited spots for livestock to graze in the dessert, but the Israelites had only been gone a month and they were already talking about starving.

  3. Rebecca,
    I think one thing here is that you can’t kill and eat your livestock, or eat your seed corn. You have to preserve it for milk, and harvest at the right time.

    Perhaps they could not yet consume the animals.

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