Good morning! The dog, the baby, and the 3 year old all decided they needed to get up at 5:45....this SATURDAY morning! I made them all stay in bed...except the dog...he got in ours! We slept then until just after 7:30. A more acceptable time to rise on a Saturday morning, if I do say so myself! Mercy! :)
Exodus chapter 16 The poor Israelites....they are surely doubting God's presence with them. They used to eat meat and now they are starving "to death" (v. 3). But just as quickly as they are grumbling against the Lord, He will rain down manna from heaven. Now mind you, this isn't going to be a hot meal from the local IHop, but my stars....something is better than nothing. This has got to be better than meat eaten slavery. But I have been known to do my own grumbling and I would have been right there with them....send me back! Send me back! But, my oh my....how quickly we forget God's blessings! We whine and grumble and complain and God is patient. The Israelites seem to have a pattern of fear, grumbling and unbelief. It just is a pattern that repeats itself. But we do that too.....fear of the unknown when change comes our way, grumbling about how things are without change, and not believing that God will get us through it all. My oh my!
But manna does rain down from heaven. Is it much better to receive bread from God's heavenly house than to trust and depend on the Egyptians for a hot pot of stew? I think so! They were to gather the manna for each day.....lesson here... ONE DAY AT A TIME! They could only gather what they needed for their family for that day......if they took too much and tried to save it for the next day...it turned into maggots. They had to get out and gather it up! They had to go and get it....it rained down, God gave it to them, but they still had to gather it up!!! They had to do a little work to accept the changes they were facing. Then, when it came Saturday morning, they had to gather up enough for the next day too.....so they wouldn't have to work on the Sabbath. Interestingly enough...this did NOT turn into maggots. It was just a fresh as the day it rained down! But it was good for a second day if that second day was the sabbath. God will provide! Have faith! Moses even put some in a jar, at the command of the Lord, to save it for the generations to come. That manna lasted too. It last as the Lord commanded each serving...for one day, extra for a sabbath, or some for a generation to come. The Israelites ate the manna (a thin wafer like honey) for 40 years! 40 years!
Chapter 17 As the Israelites set out on their continued road trip, they got thirsty. They quarreled with Moses and put the Lord to the test and whined for water. My stars! We just don't ever learn do we? So Moses walked to the banks of the Nile river, took his staff, struck a rock and out poured water from the rock for the people. This place was called Massah and Meribah....because the people quarreled and tested the Lord by questioning, "Is the Lord among us or not?" (v. 7) Then while they were quarreling among themselves they get attacked by the Amalekites. The Israelites defeated them as Moses stood on a hill day and night, holding his arms up with his staff in the air. If his hands went down, they Amelekites were winning. When his arms went back up the Isrealites were winning. Moses even sat down on a rock but still kept his arms held up. The Lord promises to blot out the memory of Amalek (meaning, they just won't be known as a 'renown' or 'famous' people.) So by the Lord's help, the Amalekites are defeated, and the Lord will be at war with them from generation to generation (v. 16).
Chapter 18 Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, comes to visit and sees how hard Moses is working at being a judge between the people. Jethro was thrilled to hear about how God saved them all and what good the Lord had done for them. Jethro saw that Moses was growing weary of serving the people as their judge and offered Moses some advice. He told Moses to gather up well respected men to serve as officials over the the "thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens." Moses was to teach these men the laws and decrees so that they could handle the simple disputes amongst themselves. They could bring the more difficult cases to Moses when they needed help, but for the most part, the judges for the people would handle the simple cases and decide for themselves what was to be done. Moses did this as Jethro suggested and then simply went on his way.
Lessons learned: gather what we need ONLY for today....live one day at a time...don't fear change...embrace it...for God is with us! Don't forget your blessing too quickly when you are ready to grumble and complain. God is here! Amen? Amen!