God the Provider

Last week, we read about the Passover which defeated Pharaoh, the final god the Egyptians worshipped. We saw God reveal himself in power to prove himself to be the one true God

Following the Passover, we read in Exodus 12 that “During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the Lord as you have requested. Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me.” The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country. “For otherwise,” they said, “we will all die!” So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing.”

So after 400 years of captivity and oppression the Israelites were freed from Egypt. God guided them around the desert road, towards the Red Sea. Then parted the Red sea and made a way for his people to the wilderness of Sin.

This week, we will see God show more of who He is through providing for His people. Long before Moses, God promised to bring Israel into a promised land “flowing with milk and honey”. This means a land full of blessings and bounty.

We’re going to pick up the story in chapter 16 of Exodus. The Israelites have arrived in the wilderness of Sin, en route to Mount Sinai and it seems that God was now fulfilling his promise to bring His people into the promised land.

  • If you were an Israelite how would you be feeling right now?
  • How would you be feeling about the future?
  • How confident would you now be in God, given all that we have seen in the last few studies?

Exodus 16- 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. In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 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.”

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. 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.”

The bible (NIV)
  • What do you think about the Israelite’s complaints?
  • Why do you think the Israelites feel drawn back to Egypt?
  • What do you think of God’s reactions to the complaints of Israel? Did you expect that reaction?
  • Why do you think on the sixth day the instructions are different to all the other days? For ideas look up Genesis 2:1-3

Exodus 16 continued…

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, 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?” 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.”

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.’”

The Bible (NIV)
  • If you were an Israelite how would you be feeling in this situation?
  • How would seeing the glory of God make you feel, if you saw it today?
  • Would God providing food be enough to show that he cares for his people and is the “I AM” he claims to be?

Exodus 16 continued…

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: ‘Everyone is to gather as much as they need. Take an omer[a] 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, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they 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.

The Bible (NIV)
  • How would you feel living completely dependant on God for your food?
  • Do you think you could live day to day for food, not knowing about your next meal?
  • What do you think this story reveals about the kind of relationship God wants with His people?

Exodus 16 continued…

21 Each morning everyone gathered as much as they 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 sabbath 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[c] 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 they are on the seventh day; no one is to go out.” 30 So the people rested on the seventh day.

The Bible (NIV)
  • Why do you think the Israelites were unwilling to keep the Commands of God?
  • What do you think this story has revealed about the Israelites and how they view their relationship with God?

Exodus 16 continued…

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 wilderness 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 with the tablets of the covenant law, so that it might be preserved. 35 The Israelites ate manna for forty years, until they came to a land that was settled; they ate manna until they reached the border of Canaan.

The Bible (NIV)
  • If you were a child of someone who lived during this time, how would you feel about the Manna in the Jar?
  • What questions would you have for someone about this story?

Looking forwards

As we look forward, we see the Exodus story continually pointing to Jesus. This time, Jesus makes the connection saying He is the “bread from heaven” which was how the Manna is described by the Lord in Exodus 16:4.

Jesus makes this comparison in John 6:48-51 which says this:

 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

The Bible (NIV)
  • What do you think Jesus means through referring to himself as the bread of life?
  • Which do you think is greater, what Jesus offers or what happened in Exodus?
  • What do you think Jesus is promising? Is this believable?
  • How has Exodus challenged your view of God so far?

Pray

  • Lots of times at University we can feel stressed and feel like we’re doing it alone. This week pray that God will be your provider.
    – Ask God to show how He is providing and sustaining you this week.
  • Ask God to reveal how he has provided for you through Jesus
  • Try this week to trust God and his plans.
    – Instead of complaining about problems, ask God to help you in those situations.
  • Thanksgiving for all the things we have (food, water, homes, friends, family, health, education)
  • Pray for those who are hungry in the world

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