Summary of passage: The Exodus continues now as Moses leads God’s people from the Red Sea through the Desert of Shur. Here, they could not find water so Moses cries out to the Lord. God shows Moses a log which he throws in the water to purify it. The Lord made a decree with his people that if they listened to Him and followed his command and kept his decrees, He would not bring any diseases upon them.
Exodus 16: The march through the desert is not easy so the people begin to grumble against Moses and Aaron, saying they have brought them out here to die. The Lord then promised to rain down bread from heaven and have the people gather the bread. Moses told the people they would receive bread in the mornings and meat in the evenings from the Lord since He has heard their grumblings against Him. The people could see the glory of the Lord speaking to Moses. God did this so they would know He is the Lord their God.
God sent manna and quail for the Israelites to eat. They were to take only what was needed and not save any. When some took too much, it rotted by morning. On the sixth day, the people are to gather enough food for the Sabbath. This they are allowed to store. However, as always, some disobeyed and tried to find food, angering the Lord.
The Lord commanded the people to keep some manna as a reminder of their journey. For 40 years, the people ate manna provided by God until they came to Canaan.
3a) Three days
b) Moses cried out to the Lord and He heard and showed Moses a piece of wood, which he threw in the water, purifying it.
c) The people must listen carefully to the voice of the Lord and do what is right in His eyes and pay attention to His commands and keep all of his decrees, then He would never bring diseases upon His people.
d) He is the Lord their God who heals them.
4a) The people think that Moses has brought them into the desert when it is the Lord who has done so.
b) God. Verses 7, 8 & 9
5a) He rained down bread (manna) for the people in the morning and provided meat (quail) for them in the evenings. He did this for 40 years.
b) It was a test to see if the people followed His instructions exactly. If they listened to God and followed His decrees. It also tested their faith and reliance on God to provide for their needs.
c) Jesus said that God gave them the bread from heaven but the true bread is himself–the one who came down from heaven and gives life to the world. Jesus follows with one of his most famous statements, saying he is the bread of life and whoever comes to him in faith and belief will have everlasting life.
d) Personal Question. My answer: I am assuming you can read this as how have you experienced Jesus. For me, he is everywhere always in every nook and cranny of my being. I experience him every day and praise and thank him for my life which he has blessed me with. He is my bread, my salvation and I pray I live that every day of my life.
Conclusions: My favorite part is how the Israelites grumble against Moses but it’s truly against God. How often do we do this? Blame others and lash out at them when it’s not their fault and we are truly mad at God for our circumstances. We blame others when it’s our lack of faith that is to blame. I loved how both God and Moses called the people on it and highlighted their lack of faith and ungratefulness. I also like how it only took 3 days from seeing God at His most powerful for the Israelites to forget.
I wonder what it must have been like to see manna fall from the sky. Cool!
End Notes: Experts say 3 days is the maximum amount of time the human body can go without water under desert conditions.
Why did Moses not use his rod he is carrying that have worked the wonders before? Every time, God has granted Moses and the rod the ability to do His bidding. The same here. God must give the rod magic powers; the rod itself has nothing to do with it. Hence, God chooses a log instead, reminiscent of the cross. Scholars also say this water was purified with elements to cleanse the Israelites of any maladies from Egypt. So it cleansed and it satisfied.
When God calls you to obey Him, it is really a test.
Many of God’s laws is to keep the people safe from diseases.
Elim was a place of restoration for the people. Testing would come later as they continued their journey across the desert.
Exodus 16 opens with one month after leaving Egypt. The people are headed towards the Sinai but they must cross the Wilderness of Sin first.
Note the Israelites were the only ones to call the bread manna, which means “What is it?” God almost always called it “bread from heaven”. God provides in unexpected ways.
God could have been mad about the complaints. Instead, He had compassion and mercy on them and gave them what they needed.
The quails here migrate over the Sinai Peninsula and at night they rest and are easy picking for predators.
Manna was a thin, flaky substance left over when the dew evaporated, which the people had to gather. No one really knows exactly what it was but God. No one knows exactly how much an omer was either. It had to be gathered by each family when it appeared. No laziness accepted.
The first mention of the Sabbath is right here! The first mention since God rested after the creation, that is, in Genesis 2. The root word of ‘rest’ and ‘Sabbath’ are the same. I missed this because I am so used to the Sabbath being holy but here the Israelites had no clue what God was doing. Hence, I think in some small way this can explain why some disobeyed (even though they shouldn’t have) to gather the bread. God was teaching here and some unfortunately missed it.
Just as God provided, God stopped once they arrived in Canaan. He blessed them instead with the joy of providing for themselves.
Here was our wonderful question to read from John as Jesus explains the true meaning behind manna and the bread of life. Awesome!
Take away: The details are truly unimportant here. What we need to know is this: depend on God who will provide in unexpected ways as long as you obey and trust in Him. Feed daily from the true Bread of Life and you will be blessed forevermore.
Extras: Short reading on Sabbath and this passage HERE
Interesting longer read on the Sabbath HERE, which details its beginnings, its meaning for the Jews at the time, and its meaning for Christians. Very good article on the misunderstandings of the Sabbath and how Christians can distort the true intent behind it. Excellent for those who think God can be compartimentalized to one day only!
More on the Sabbath will be forthcoming in our study, especially since it is one of the Ten Commandments so stay tuned!
My Favorite Map Showing Elim, Marah and Sinai: HERE