For the past 430 years the Israelite people had not been their own nation. They had lived as a separate people but they had lived within the governance of Egypt. For the past 100 years or so of that time they had lived as slaves, an oppressed people.
As we pick up the scriptures this week, less than a week ago they had participated in the passover and now they were a free people under the kind and loving rule of a new king, the King of Kings. But they had know idea how to live that life. Imagine if you took a slave out of one of the most oppressed places in our modern world and brought them into your home to live with you as part of your family. They wouldn’t know how to live or what to do. They would have so much to learn and it would take a great deal of patience and love to teach them.
That is exactly what we see God doing. At this point in time, this collection of God’s chosen people have more in common with the livestock they tend than they do with the loving God who saved them. When they thirst, they expect to be given water and grumble. When they are hungry, they expect to be fed.
God could have just been the shepherd and given them food and water, but He wanted more for them. He had a bigger lesson in mind and we see this in the “tests” that He gives them. These weren’t tests to trick them. These were tests like you would give a student. These were tests to be able to evaluate if they were grasping the correct concepts that He is trying to teach. He is trying to teach them to trust in Him, to obey Him, to turn to Him and rely on Him alone, to accept His love and His providence and to serve and worship Him alone.
As a good shepherd of His flocks, God would have given them food and water, shelter and safety. But He didn’t want them to be just creatures, He wanted them to grow and know who He was, and in that reflection, who they were supposed to become. Genesis 12:2 God said to Abraham, “I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others.” These people in this desert are the people of that promise, but they still have a lot to learn.
Cried out to God. Showed him a piece of wood.
If you listen carefully to 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 am the LORD, who heals you
lack of trust and faith in God, romanticizing how things were in Egypt, focus on themselves and their physical needs
the LORD, 8
40 years, bread by morning (manna in the field), meat by evening (quail in the encampment)
There was obedience required in how much they gathered, when they gathered, on what days they did and did not gather
the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world… I am the bread of life.
To have the LORD Jesus take up residence in and tend the garden of my heart