Bread from Heaven
In the Bible, the word lekhem or bread is often used synonymously with that which sustains us. That has carried over into English as well. We speak of “breaking bread” together as having a meal. We think of “our daily bread” as a term which encompasses everything we need to sustain us. And when we make money, we often call it “bread” because money is what we deal with in order to buy those things which sustain us.
As bread comes from the earth, we tie our existence to this earthly thing which keeps us going from day to day. Jesus spoke of another type of bread, a heavenly Bread. As this comes from heaven, then it must sustain us in a completely different way – a way that we’ll look at more closely in the sermon today.
Bread is one of my favorite parts of any meal, and I love the many varieties of bread that are out there. If my lovely wife serves bread first, I’ll often fill myself up on just that and nothing else, leaving her to wonder why she prepared 8 or 10 other dishes for me to look at and ignore.
When I was young and we went out for dinner, my grandfather didn’t want us to eat any bread before we had our meal for exactly that reason. He didn’t want us to stuffing ourselves on it and then missing out on whatever we ordered. I remember him filling up his coat pockets with all the rolls that had been served but which were ignored during the meal. He was famous for this.
In today’s passage, the Lord promises to give the Israelites “bread from heaven.” Psalm 78’s description of that bread is our text verse for the day –
Text Verse: Yet He had commanded the clouds above,
And opened the doors of heaven,
24 Had rained down manna on them to eat,
And given them of the bread of heaven.
25 Men ate angels’ food;
He sent them food to the full. Psalm 78:23-25
Not every stop between Egypt and Sinai is recorded in the book of Exodus, but each stop that is shows us something important that occurred and it is given as a picture of something later in redemptive history. This has been the case up until now and so it is logical to assume that today’s verses are no different.
And so let’s find out if that is correct by looking a bit deeper into the passage we just read. Isn’t it great? I mean, isn’t it stupendous that God has given us such marvelous stories that are so filled with wonder! Week by week it’s all to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.
I. Whining in the Wilderness (verses 1-3)
And they journeyed from Elim,
Chapter 15 ended with the account of the waters of Marah having been made sweet. This was immediately followed by the last verse of the chapter which said –
“Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees; so they camped there by the waters.” Exodus 15:27
The name Elim comes from a root which indicates to protrude or stick out, such as a porch on a house, a ram in a flock, or a large tree. There at Elim there were 70 palm trees which protruded out of the oasis, and there were 12 springs which provided water for the people. That was a picture of the work of the Lord in and through His 12 apostles and the 70 appointed disciples.
1 (con’t) and all the congregation of the children of Israel came to the Wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai,
It is rather peculiar to have the words “all the congregation came” unless it means that they didn’t all travel together at all times. But this is logical. The main stops where all the people gathered would be big enough to fit two million people.
However, while traveling, they would go through areas that could in no way accommodate such large numbers. And so the congregation would divide at times in order to have sufficient room to lodge along the journey. Also, those who had flocks would want to break off from the others in order to find something for them to snack on.
Occasionally though, there would be a place big enough to accommodate everyone and this is where they would meet up as a whole group. Here in our first verse, it says that they journeyed from Elim and came to the Wilderness of Sin. However, the actual travel log that was filled out by Moses in Numbers 33 includes another stop not mentioned here –
“They moved from Elim and camped by the Red Sea. 11 They moved from the Red Sea and camped in the Wilderness of Sin.” Numbers 33:10, 11
Scholars pretty much unanimously say that the stop by the Red Sea is left off here in Exodus because “nothing remarkable happened in it” (Benson, et al). But that is no reason to leave off recording a stop. Rather, each stop in the abbreviated account is given to show us a picture of something. Names always have importance when they are given, even if it isn’t plainly evident to us why.
The name Sin means “thorn,” as in a thorn bush, and is a shortened form of Sinai. This wilderness of Sin is said to be between Elim and Sinai, which means “Bush of the Lord.” This is the first mention of Sinai in the Bible.
In all, it will be named 35 times and all of them except four will be in the books of Moses. It is the same place known by its other name, Horeb. The stop now at the Wilderness of Sin is the eighth stop on their journey.
1 (con’t) on the fifteenth day of the second month after they departed from the land of Egypt.
As the Passover was held on the fourteenth day of the first month, and Israel departed Egypt on the fifteenth day, we know that this is the 31st day of travel. Israel has now been free from their bondage for one month, just one month…
2 Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.
Before the Exodus, the people complained against Moses and Aaron because the workload upon them had increased. However, the Lord brought on Egypt all of His wonders while keeping Israel safe from them. Finally, the final plague on the firstborn came about and Israel was released from its 215-year captivity.
But no sooner had they been freed, than they complained against Moses as Pharaoh’s army approached by the shore of the Red Sea. Then, after they had been miraculously delivered through its waters, they again complained against Moses at Marah because the waters weren’t fit to drink.
Now, for the first time it says that they have complained against both Moses and Aaron. After thirty days, they are no longer content to trust that the Lord who delivered them was capable of continuing to deliver them. He had identified Himself as Yehovah Rapha, the Lord who heals, but instead they complain that His healing is less wonderful than the satisfaction of the stomach…
3 And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full!
In this verse, the King James Version reads’ “And the children of Israel said unto them, “Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt.” In the Hebrew, there is no mention of God. They followed the translation of the Geneva Bible that inserted this without any support from the text.
However, the expression was probably included to give weight to the complaining of the people. Instead of being grateful for their freedom, the intent of their words is that it would have been better to die by the plagues of Egypt than to die by starvation in the wilderness. Jeremiah gives the same thought as he watched the people dying of starvation during the siege of Jerusalem –
“Those slain by the sword are better off
Than those who die of hunger;
For these pine away,
Stricken for lack of the fruits of the field.” Lamentations 4:9
It should be noted though that the people still had flocks in abundance as will be seen throughout their time in the wilderness. But not everyone would have flocks and they would be hungry as well. When people started to eat their animals, the others with none would join in and rapidly deplete the entire stock.
After thirty days, anything carried out of Egypt would be consumed and so this would be their only option left. It is probably not an exaggeration that they had plenty to eat in Egypt. Charles Ellicott, noting the ancient historian Herodotus says that –
“It was the habit of the Egyptians to feed well those whom they employed in forced labours (Herod. ii. 125), just as slave-owners commonly do their slaves.” (Ellicott)
The question for us, knowing what the Israelites have pictured so far is, “Would we rather be in bondage to sin and yet filled with the things of the world, or would we rather be free from our bondage and suffer physical lack in the process.”
There can be no doubt that we are tied to our stomachs. They are a part of us and without filling them, we will eventually waste away. But what price is our freedom from sin by the work of Christ? In the end, even if our bodies die, our soul will live because of Him.
Time and again we are seeing the contrast between the carnal and the spiritual and we are being asked to evaluate ourselves. For every meal we eat, there is actually no guarantee that we will have another. If our last meal will be our last meal, will we still be able to say, “The way of the Lord is worth the suffering?”
As a bonus thought for you, and as a new squiggle for your brain, this is the first time that the word siyr or “pot” is used in the Bible. It also means “thorn.” The idea is that a pot is used to boil up something, and a thorn is something that rapidly springs up. So you can see the connection between the two words.
It is of interest to me that the word siyr means “thorn” as does the name of this place, Sin. There is a connection seemingly being made between the full pots of meat for the people, which are now empty, and the location where they now are. The cooking pots of Egypt have become painful thorns in the memory of the people as they impatiently turn their hearts back to the land of their bondage.
If the Wilderness of Sin is picturing the work of Christ, including His crown of thorns, then the picture seems to say, “Do you believe what He did for you is sufficient, or do you want to go back to your old life of sin and bondage, pictured by the pots full of meat in Egypt.”
And so I have a question for each of you today – What sin is tempting you from your own past? Don’t let what once seemed to be so delightful, but which was so destructive, turn your heart away from the Lord who brought you out from that past life.
3 (con’t) For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
The “you” of these words is speaking of Moses and Aaron. And yet, they are the Lord’s representatives and so He must be included in the words. They have just said that it would have been better if the Lord had taken their lives in Egypt, but that didn’t happen. They cannot disassociate Moses and Aaron from the Lord.
Further, there is the background truth that the pillar of cloud and fire is still with them. Moses and Aaron are merely going wherever they are led. If they supposedly brought the assembly out to be killed, then the implication is that the Lord is even more to blame.
I didn’t get what I wanted for dinner… O! woe is me!
I had to suffer through meatloaf instead of a steak
Why is my life so difficult? How can it be?
Won’t life ever give me a break?
I had to walk to work because my car broke down
My job is more than half a mile down the road!
Ten minutes of anguish, and you wonder about my frown
Now leave me alone before I explode
Who cares that the Lord saved me through the Red Sea
Who cares that the bitter waters were made sweet
That was yesterday, it’s all about me!
And I am not a happy camper; my misery is complete
II. Bread from Heaven (verses 4 & 5)
4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you.
The story of Manna from heaven is one that is forever remembered by God’s people. Hearing it just once is enough to solidify it in the memory of the mind for a lifetime. One reason is certainly that food comes from the earth, not from heaven. Just as man was taken from the earth, so our sustenance comes from there as well.
To think that food would come from heaven then means something beyond the ordinary and even heavenly. To be the recipient of such a shower of heavenly blessing would then indicate divine favor. As the people of Israel picture the church of the firstborn of all of God’s people, then the bread from heaven is a picture of the divine favor of God upon them.
And as bread is what sustains us in our physical bodies, this is picturing that which sustains us in our spiritual lives. It is exactly why Jesus spoke as He did in John 6. When He was asked what works a person must do in order to do the works of God, we read –
“Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
30 Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
32 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34 Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”
35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” John 6:29-35
Secondly, we are so dependent on food that to think of it coming from heaven gives us the impression of an infinite supply. There is only so much ground and when it has been picked clean, there is nothing left. Where else can one go for food when the ground has yielded its last morsel?
But if something comes from heaven, there is always the possibility that more can come. Just as the bread from heaven was divine favor upon the people of Israel to sustain their physical lives, Jesus is God’s divine favor upon His people to sustain our spiritual lives. It is a favor which never perishes and the supply of which will never run out.
However, in the case of this account, the miracle of the bread from heaven doesn’t begin with the bread coming from heaven. It begins with the promise of it coming, which is when the promise enters the ear of the hearer. If the words are true, then there will be an antici…pation of their fulfillment. When they are realized, the miracle of the promise will also be realized.
That is no different that our own grant of eternal life. The miracle of eternal life doesn’t begin with our resurrection unto eternal life. Instead, it begins with the promise of its coming, which is when the promise enters our ears. As the Bible says, “…faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17
If the words of the Bible are true, then we will longingly wait in anticipation of their fulfillment. When they are realized, so will the miracle of the promise be realized. What Israel will wait a few hours for, some faithful Christians have waited 2000 years for, but the promise is not less true and its sure fulfillment will come in due time.
4 (con’t) And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day,
The Hebrew word translated here as “a certain quota” is devar – literally “word.” The idea of a word is a thing, or a matter and the people are told to gather this thing yom b’yommow, or “daily in its day.” It is to be an act of faith that each day they would gather what was needed for the day.
If they gathered and there was none the next day, then what they gathered would be their last meal. But by faith, they are being instructed to gather the word, as it is, daily in its day; trusting that there would be another day to gather in its day.
And this is exactly what Paul tells us concerning our spiritual walk. In 2 Corinthians 5, he says –
“So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:6, 7
Each day is to be a day of trust. Just as Israel didn’t gather up an infinite supply of Manna to ensure they would never face deprivation again, we don’t simply expend all of our faith on any given day, expecting it to last us forever. Instead, we continue to exercise faith yom b’yommow or daily in its day.
And these two principles, the physical and the spiritual are tied up in the one unified thought of the Lord’s Prayer where Jesus said, “Give us this day our daily bread.” To be properly functioning believers, we need daily bread for both our physical and our spiritual lives.
4 (con’t) that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.
These words follow the last words which were spoken to Israel just a few short verses ago. At the end of the last chapter by the bitter waters made sweet, we read this –
“There He made a statute and an ordinance for them, and there He tested them, 26 and said, ‘If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.'” Exodus 15:25-26
With the promise of the bread from heaven, the Lord also gave the people a law – to gather a certain quota each day. And He gives them the reason for the law which is to test them. In the Garden of Eden, abundance was promised with the words, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat” (Genesis 2:16).
And yet, a law was given as well. It was a law that bore its consequences if disobeyed – “…but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17).
In Genesis 17, Abraham was given a promise of abundance, but along with that promise came a law – circumcision for him and his descendants and all those in his household. Along with that law came a consequence for disobedience – being cut off from the people of God.
Here in Exodus, a promise of abundance, even bread from heaven, is given. But with it is the law that they are to gather a portion yom b’yommow, or daily in its day. And there is also an implied consequence for disobedience – that the plagues of Egypt would come upon them.
The same is true with the covenant at Sinai, there are great promises made to the people in Leviticus 26, but there are also great consequences for disobedience. Time and again, this pattern is seen in Scripture. So why should we think the Lord works any differently towards us now?
He has given us a promise of abundance and He has given us laws which accompany this. But there are also consequences for not adhering to His laws. There are consequences for our earthly bodies when we depart from His precepts, and there is the promise of the loss of eternal rewards in our life to come as well.
It is a pitiful thing to think that every negative thing which we receive from the hand of the Lord is actually a self-inflicted wound. But this is how it is. What is more pitiful is that this is so rarely taught among Christians.
People are told about the showers of Manna that the Lord provides His people, but the law which accompanies the blessing, and the consequences for not adhering to the law, are quickly passed over or completely ignored. Don’t waste heaven’s eternal rewards for sin’s momentary pleasures! This is what I would first and foremost convey to you today.
5 And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.”
There are two major differences of opinion on what this verse means. Some scholars take this as a command that the people are to collect enough for two days. Others take it that what is collected on the sixth day will turn out to be enough for both days. The Hebrew seems to more naturally prefer the latter option.
Actually, it could be a combination of the two. Verses 17-21 show that there is a miraculous element tied up in the collecting of the Manna and yet there is also a natural element as well. The people gathered until the Manna melted away. At the end of the gathering, there was the right amount for everyone, even if some collected too much and some collected too little.
Therefore, there is no reason to assume that the amount provided by the Lord was twice as much, or that the time that the Manna melted away was later, allowing more time to gather it. Whatever was the case, twice what was normally gathered would be gathered on the sixth day. And so, each day was to be a day of faith that the next day would be taken care of by the hand of the Lord.
I will test My people, but with an easy command
In conjunction with My grace, sending them heavenly bread
Surely they will be grateful and not whine or demand
Surely they will give Me praise and thanks instead
I will ask of them to collect it day by day
And to trust that it will come each day and on the next as well
Who could complain about that? Who could anything negative say?
I am sure they will be tickled pink and think the deal is quite swell
And when I give them the true Bread
When I give My own dear Son
Surely everyone will call on Him instead
The whole world will acknowledge He is the One
Actually, I know the wickedness of the human heart
But some will call out to Him, and to them righteousness I will impart
III. Pots full of Meat and Bread to the Full (verses 6-8)
6 Then Moses and Aaron said to all the children of Israel, “At evening you shall know that the Lord has brought you out of the land of Egypt.
Moses and Aaron now contradict the words of the people which we saw in verse 2. There they inferred that it was Moses and Aaron who brought them into the wilderness by complaining against them. They now correct them by saying that it will become evident at evening that it was not them, but the Lord who has led them.
Based on what is said in verse 8, this verse seems out of place. The Lord has been speaking of bread from heaven which will come in the morning and yet now Moses and Aaron tell them that that “at evening” they would know the Lord’s hand was in it. This is based on the Lord giving them meat to eat; something which hasn’t even been mentioned yet.
But the structure of the passage is one based on parallels. It is a common form of Hebrew writing. The quail parallel the evening, and the Manna parallels the morning. The bread is a miracle on a different order than that of the quail.
A flock of quail coming into a camp not far from the ocean could be perceived as a chance occurrence but for the fact that it is announced in advance. And so in order to stave off the killing of any flocks that night, and in anticipation of the truly miraculous event which lie ahead, Moses and Aaron first mention that in the evening something great would take place.
7 And in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord;
Not only will the evening confirm to the congregation that it is the Lord who brought them out of the land of Egypt, but the morning will demonstrate the glory of the Lord in a unique way. The Hebrew word for “glory” here is kavod.
This is the first time that this word is used in connection with the Lord. Based on the parallelism used in these verses, the glory of the Lord spoken about here is not what happens in verse 10 as many scholars state. That manifestation of the Lord’s glory is given to confirm the coming manifestation of the giving of the bread.
It is through the bread from heaven that the glory of the Lord will be seen in a special way for the congregation. This then follows on with a chain of thought that will run throughout all of Scripture. There is a glorious aspect of the Lord which is unlike any other. In Isaiah, He claims His glory for Himself alone –
“I am the Lord, that is My name;
And My glory I will not give to another,
Nor My praise to carved images.” Isaiah 42:8
And yet, in John 1:14, we read these marvelous words which speak of Jesus –
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
And to ensure that we know that this isn’t speaking of another glory than that of the Father, we read this in John 17 –
“And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” John 17:5
Throughout the epistles and into the book of Revelation, the glory of Jesus Christ is highlighted time and again, often in connection with the glory of God. Thus, from this starting point in Exodus 16, we have another sure example, of the countless others found in Scripture, which testify to the deity of Jesus Christ.
Without either abusing what is written or simply denying the truth of what lies before his eyes, one can come to no other conclusion than that He is the Lord Yehovah of the Old Testament. The glory of the Lord, revealed in the giving of the bread from heaven simply pictures the very glory of God in the giving of the true Bread from heaven, our Lord Jesus.
7 (con’t) for He hears your complaints against the Lord.
This is explicit. Verse 2 said that the people complained against Moses and Aaron. Now, it is openly stated that by complaining against them, they have complained against the Lord. A challenge against one’s ambassadors is a challenge against the one who made the ambassadorial appointment.
In these words is the first use of the word tluwnah or “murmuring” found in the Bible. It will be used only 9 times in only three chapters of Exodus and Numbers and six of them are in this chapter. Harris, Archer, and Waltke explain this word for us to consider –
“The true nature of this murmuring is seen in the fact that it is an open act of rebellion against the Lord and a stubborn refusal to believe God’s word and God’s miraculous work. Thus the right attitude in real difficulty is unconditional acceptance and obedience. God’s own must never stand in judgment upon him.” HAW
7 (con’t) But what are we, that you complain against us?”
Their words to the people show that the complaints have been wholly unwarranted. It has been and it will be evident again that the Lord has led them out and tended to them all along. It is also evident that the Lord is using Moses and Aaron as His chosen instruments for the leadership of the people.
Therefore, complaining against them is a complaint against the Lord. And a complaint against the Lord is certainly known to them to be a futile effort. He destroyed an entire nation’s economy, He killed the firstborn of the nation, He parted the waters of the Red Sea, and He made the bitter waters sweet.
What had possessed the congregation to complain against Moses and Aaron when they have simply been fulfilling the Lord’s word on their behalf? And the parallel in today’s world is therefore all the more astounding.
The Lord has given His word to direct and guide us – His superior word. As it is from Him, it is His representative to each of us. And yet, His people complain against it, either implicitly or explicitly, all the time.
We reject the things we don’t like in it, we dismiss the parts which don’t fit our warped theology, and we twist it to say whatever we want so that we can feel good about ourselves in congregations which bear little or no resemblance to what the Lord has directed for us. God help us!
If the Lord destroyed the Israelites along their journey to Canaan, can we expect any less as we treat His glory with utter contempt by diminishing this precious treasure we call the Holy Bible?
And so to understand that the severity of these Old Testament passages, even from this one we’re looking at today, are given to direct us to a right attitude towards God via His word, let’s take a moment and read a few verses from 1 Corinthians 10 –
“Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. 7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.’ 8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; 9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” 1 Corinthians 10:1-11
When the people complained against Moses and Aaron, they complained against the Lord. Likewise, when we complain against what is written in the word, we follow that same unholy path.
8 Also Moses said, “This shall be seen when the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening, and in the morning bread to the full;
It should be noted now that this verse contains the first use in the Bible of the word saba, which means to be “sated” or “satisfied.” I only bring this up so that when we get to verse 12, we will better understand the timeline of what is going on. We’ll get to that verse next week and I’ll explain things then.
This verse confirms that the “glory of the Lord” spoken of in the previous verse is talking about the giving of the bread and not that which is seen in verse 10. Verse 6 said “At evening you shall know that the Lord has brought you out of the land of Egypt.” And verse 7 said, “And in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord.”
Now the parallel of those two thoughts is given in one verse, meat in the evening and in the morning “bread to the full.” In paying attention to the structure of these Hebrew parallelisms, you can more easily identify what’s going on in what are somewhat difficult passages. Even some of the greatest scholars have misread what is being relayed here.
8 (con’t) for the Lord hears your complaints which you make against Him.
A third parallel line is introduced. In the middle of verse 7, Moses and Aaron said, “for He hears your complaints against the Lord.”
8 (con’t) And what are we?
Now a fourth parallel is stated using the same words from verse 7, v’nakhnu mah – “And we, what?”
*8 (fin) Your complaints are not against us but against the Lord.”
And the fifth parallel is seen here. At the end of verse 7 it said, “…that you complain against us?” This is now modified to correct the congregation. Instead of “But who are we that you complain against us?” they are corrected with the words “Your complaints are not against us but against the Lord.”
6 At evening you shall know that the Lord has brought you out of the land of Egypt.
“This shall be seen when the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening,
7a And in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord;
8a and in the morning bread to the full;
7b for He hears your complaints against the Lord.
8b for the Lord hears your complaints which you make against Him.
7c But what are we,
8c And what are we?
7d that you complain against us?”
8d Your complaints are not against us but against the Lord.”
These concluding words of verse 8 have a beautiful New Testament parallel. Just as a complaint against Moses and Aaron was a complaint against the Lord, so a complaint against the Lord is a complaint against God. Jesus said this in Luke 10 –
“He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.” Luke 10:16
At that time, He was speaking of the word of His representatives, those seventy He had commissioned to speak His word. If nothing else confirms that the picture of Elim from the previous chapter that I gave you was speaking of the apostles and these seventy disciples, this should.
That seemingly obscure verse, right at the end of Chapter 15 was given to show us that the Lord tests us through His representatives. As the word of the apostles has been recorded and is now our New Testament, the word of those men is our point of contact with God.
This account follows directly after that stop in Elim and before they come to Sinai. It therefore follows that the Lord brought them this way in order to show us a picture of this. At Sinai, the Bush of the Lord, the law will be received. That law was received on the same day as Pentecost, 1500 years later.
If the stop at Elim pictured the words of the apostles and disciples, and Sinai is for the giving of the law, picturing the giving of the Holy Spirit to us, then this time in the Wilderness of Sin is given as a precursor to that. The statute and the ordinances of the Lord are given to us to sustain us. They are our daily bread and our meat by which we are fed.
So let’s follow the logic – we cannot know God without knowing Jesus Christ. The Bible was given to us by the representatives of Jesus Christ who tell about Him. Therefore, we cannot know Jesus Christ without knowing the Bible. And therefore, we cannot know God without knowing our Bible. It is incumbent on each one of us to study to show ourselves approved, being obedient to this cherished word which has lovingly been passed down to us by our merciful and glorious God.
And above all, we cannot have fellowship with this God unless we fellowship with His Son. As unappealing as this message is to the world we live in, it is a truth which we cannot deny if we accept that this is God’s word, and it is.
If you have never received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, calling on Him as Lord, you stand condemned before God. Let us get that fixed today. Let me tell you how…
Closing Verse: “Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.” Philippians 2:14-16
Next Week: Exodus 16:11-21 (Quail and Manna) (46th Exodus Sermon)
The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if a deep ocean lies ahead of You, He can part the waters and lead you through it on dry ground. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.
Bread from Heaven
And they journeyed from Elim
And all the congregation of the children of Israel
Came to the Wilderness of Sin
Which is between Elim and Sinai, as the account does tell
On the fifteenth day of the second month, we understand
After they departed from Egypt the land
Then the whole congregation…
Oh! What a mess
Of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron
In the wilderness
And the children of Israel said to them, in a way not so sweet
“Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord
In the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat
And when we ate bread to the full; rather, we die by the sword
For you have brought us out into this wilderness
To kill this whole assembly with hunger, or so we guess
Then the Lord said to Moses, the thing that He would do
“Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you
And the people shall go out
And gather a certain quota every day around their dwelling spot
That I may test them without a doubt
As to whether they will walk in My law or not
And it shall be on the sixth day
That they shall prepare what they bring in
And it shall be twice as much as they gather daily, I say
Sure enough on the morrow, the process will begin
Then Moses and Aaron said to all the children of Israel
“At evening you shall know
That the Lord has brought you out of the land of Egypt
And has led us everywhere we did go
And in the morning you shall see
The glory of the Lord
For He hears your complaints against the Lord quite plainly
He hears your every uttered word
Also Moses said, “This shall be seen
When the Lord gives you in the evening meat to eat
And in the morning bread to the full
For the Lord hears your complaints, words not so sweet
Which you make against Him
Your grumblings are filled to the brim
And what are we? Tell us your word!
Your complaints are not against us but against the Lord.”
Lord, help each of us to be content with the life you have given
Help us to not complain, but to be grateful instead
Because of Jesus we have a promise of eternal livin’
Because of our Lord, our true and heavenly Bread
May we rest in Him, content and at peace
May we give you the glory and the praise that You are due
May this offering from us never, never cease
But throughout the ages, may we ever be praising You
Thank You, O God, for Jesus our precious Lord
Who You have revealed to us in Your superior word
Hallelujah and Amen…