Blaine Robison, M.A.
Delivered 31 January 2015
NOTE: The Scripture text is taken from Messianic Jewish Family Bible: Tree of Life
Version, © 2014 by Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society.
They journeyed on from Elim, and the entire community of Bnei-Yisrael
came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the
fifteenth day of the second month after leaving the land of Egypt. 2
But the whole congregation of Bnei-Yisrael murmured against Moses and
Aaron in the wilderness. 3 Bnei-Yisrael said to them, “If only we
had died by the hand of Adonai in the land of Egypt, when we sat by pots
of meat, when we ate bread until we were full. But you have brought us
into the wilderness, to kill this entire congregation with hunger." (Ex
let us remember that the Israelites, a great mixed multitude of perhaps as
many as three million people, had departed Goshen on the 15th day of the
first month of the year. After crossing the Red Sea they traveled for three
days and arrived at a place called Marah. By this time water supplies were
depleted. There was water at Marah but it was bitter, so the people grumbled
against Moses. Water is much more critical than food, so ADONAI
showed Moses how to purify the water. ADONAI
also established a principle of how He would treat His people: "if you obey
Me I will not afflict you as I did the Egyptians, because I am your healer."
then journeyed on to Elim, a place of seventy date palms and an
abundant water supply of twelve springs. How long Israel stayed at Elim
we are not told. In any event on the tenth day of the second month the
nation departed the oasis and five days later arrived in the Wilderness of
Sin somewhere between Elim and
Sinai. So, now 30 days after
leaving Egypt they are running short of food. The sons of Israel grumble and
this time include Aaron. It is a dangerous thing to murmur against our
spiritual leaders because it offends God. Four times in this chapter Moses
warns the people that God had heard their grumbling.
three gives the content of their complaint, what might be called two
irrational ideas, one a premise and the second a conclusion, that indicate
the onset of a national neurosis. The irrational conclusion, actually stated
first is, "Would that we had died by the hand of ADONAI
in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pot of meat and ate bread to the
full!" There is a certain irony here. Of the ten plagues God used the
physical hand of Aaron to accomplish the first three (blood, frogs, and
lice) and the hand of Moses to accomplish four (boils, hail, locusts, and
darkness). God directly caused flies, livestock sickness and death of the
firstborn. Eight out of the ten plagues posed no threat of death to people.
Besides the last plague the only plague to threaten lives was the seventh
plague of hail which came from the hand of Moses.
Israelites did not sit by pots of meat during the tenth plague, so, their
complaint means that while some Egyptians were dying during the hail storm,
they sat in their homes eating stewed goat meat and tasty bread. So, being
killed with the Egyptians would have been better? What insanity!
irrational premise, really a slander, is that Moses has brought them into
the wilderness to kill everybody with hunger. These people had invested
Moses with the total responsibility of providing for them. The irrational
premise ignores certain facts. First, the text does not say that they had
run out of food, although Rashi suggests they ran out of bread. After all,
they had vast herds from which they could get milk and cheese, as well as
meat. Second, it takes a lengthy time to die from starvation. There was
plenty of time to look for other people who could sell them food.
incidence of grumbling reveals the spiritual immaturity of the people. All
the good things God had done for them had been erased from their minds.
Perhaps they're beginning to realize that God had not promised them a picnic
and that leaving Egypt did not guarantee freedom from hardship and they
don't like it. How quickly they had forgotten that they had been delivered
from slavery because they had cried out to the ADONAI.
Where is their intercession now?
Israelites did not know was that God had a plan to provide bread from
heaven, which began the very next day. There would be no point of providing
bread, later called manna, before it was needed.
Invariably our need coincides with God's
provision according to His sovereign plan. God even provided an extra
blessing of meat from heaven in the form of quail on the first day to go
with the bread. When the Israelites left Goshen
Moses was not given a logistics plan for their
journey. As Rashi said, "they did not say, “How will we go without
provisions?” Instead they believed and left."
Yet here they were demonstrating a loss of faith.
know I am a retired Army Quartermaster officer. Years ago when I was a
Captain stationed in Korea I commanded a supply company that provided food
for three thousand solders. I can only imagine the logistical challenge of
supplying food for three million people. Regardless of what some Bible
scholars say manna was a miracle food.
The Bible emphasizes
that God caused manna to appear at the right time and place to meet His
people's needs. In fact, providing manna in the manner described in this
chapter, what we in the Army would call "airborne resupply," was the most
efficient delivery system that could be designed. The manna continued for 40
years and ended after Israel crossed over into Canaan.
Yet strangely God
identifies the manna as a test. How is a simple diet a test? Well, if the
people obeyed the instruction to go out daily and gather the manna, except
on the Sabbath, they would have sufficient food for the entire week. God was
not going to make it appear inside their tents, their pots or in their
mouths. They had to work six days and then rest one day trusting that the
supply would be there the following day. Relying on the manna also tested
their ability to learn a spiritual lesson. Would they comprehend that
was their healer and covenant-keeping God and then respond with obedience?
We must all learn these
spiritual lessons. Many of you will remember that in the 1960s Wonder Bread
advertised that their bread "builds strong bodies twelve ways." Actually
Continental Baking began adding vitamins and minerals to Wonder Bread during
the 1940s, as part of a government-sponsored program of enriching white
bread in order to combat certain diseases. Known as the "Quiet Miracle,"
this development is credited with greatly reducing the incidence of the
diseases beriberi and pellagra.
Just consider the
greater miracle that Yeshua, the Bread of Heaven provides. As Paul said
Yeshua has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heaven. He is our
Healer, our Deliverer, our Sustainer. With the nutrients of His Spirit we
can build the Body of Messiah to be spiritually strong and healthy, even in
the most difficult of times. Let us not be complainers, but let us rejoice
and praise God for His abundant supply.
Copyright © 2015 by
Blaine Robison. All rights reserved.