January 10, 2016Exodus 16Provision 


     This passage of scripture takes place when the Israelites were just out of Egypt.   We will back up the story a little bit to the exodus from Egypt.  In Chapter 7 of Exodus is where Moses strikes the Nile River and it turns into blood which is the first plague on Egypt.    The plagues continue and finish with chapter 11 with the 10th plague.    In chapter 11 we see the death of the first born of people and animals of the Egyptians.  It is then that Pharaoh lets the Israelites go.   God loves human beings and loves life and this seems to be a particularly difficult plague.  I think one thing we need to remember is that the Egyptians were killing the male children to the Israelites.  That is not a good thing to do.  Last week we considered Jesus making a whip and driving the money changers out of the temple.  The Children of Israel saw God lead them out of slavery and bondage by God’s great power and out stretched hand.  They saw the miracles of God.  The saw God come through for them. 

     They were instructed to ask for gold and precious things from the Egyptians.  They basically plunder Egypt.  They were slaves for years and it is not like they did not earn it.   After they leave Egypt we see in chapter 14 that Pharaoh decides to chase them with his army and his chariots.  God stops the Egyptian army with darkness and gives light to the Israelites from the cloud and pillar of fire that he led them with.  Moses stretches out his arm and the waters separates allowing God’s people to cross the sea on dry land.  The Egyptian army follows and the Lord sends confusion and allows the wheels of the chariots to fall off.   The children of Israel were loaded heavily.  There were young and old and flocks and herds.  They needed God to help them and God in his grace slows the Egyptian army down.   

     How do you travel when you travel?   Do you travel light or do you travel heavy with a lot of stuff?  Well it all depends on the person and the situation I suppose.    When Jesse goes to a big job it is his truck and trailer usually loaded with tools.  Some jobs are small and less is required.  Some folks when they travel they do not travel light.  If you have children that can make a big difference.  It makes a big difference how far you are traveling and how long you will be away.   Some will pack food and drink.  Travel in winter time is different than traveling in summer.  I have traveled by airplane from hot to cold or cold to hot climates and that usually is a challenge.  You can get off the plane in 80 degree heat with your winter coat.  Usually if a person flies on an airplane they travel lighter.  I do an overnight 4 times a year with other pastors.  I like to take my pillow a sleeping bag and toiletries.  I also take my cell phone and take a bible and usually a book or 2 to read.  Part of the trip is business so I take the books since I am the finance guy.    Some folks if they travel a lot they take a lot of stuff from home maybe even pictures of their spouse and family.  We took a couple of 2 week vacations and it is interesting to pack for 4 or 5 people for 2 weeks when you are traveling in a van.    

      How did the Israelites travel?  Well it was quick. Pharaoh contacted them in the middle of the night and told them to get out of here. In chapter 12 the people took the dough before yeast was added and carried it on their shoulders.  They also had to take all of their possessions so they traveled with a lot of stuff.  They also plundered Egypt.  God moved on the Egyptians to give them loot.  They took gold.  What happened to at least some of the gold?   Aaron made a gold calf for them when Moses was on the mountain and Moses came down and burned the calf and ground it into powder, poured it in the water and made them drink the water.   That gold was wasted. 

     But they had some other baggage I think.  When 2 people marry usually they bring some baggage into the marriage.   If they have been divorced there is baggage.   I remember doing the Johari window which is a square with 4 equal squares in it.  The first square is what we know about ourselves and what others know about us.  The second square is what we know about ourself but others do not know about us.  The 3rd square is what others know about us but we do not know about ourself.   We have some blindness when it comes to knowing me.  The fourth square represents things that we do not know about ourself nor does anyone else know about us.  We know that God knows us.  God sees all of those squares.   I believe the Jews had a lot of baggage.  They had a lot of spiritual baggage.  What do you think was their spiritual condition?    They were probably over 2 million people but they had been slaves.  They did not have any structure or organization to speak of.  They were controlled and governed by others.   They had Moses and God but not a lot of experience of their own as a nation. It does not look like they had a deep walk with God even though they had seen God’s miracles.  There is a lot to learn. 

    The Jews had another problem and that was faith.  They had the baggage of unbelief.  Hebrews 3 so, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did.   That is why I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’ So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’  That generation did not make it into the Promised Land that flowed with milk and honey.  Hebrews 4 tells us that some will enter into that rest or enter into God’s rest.  We hear the voice of the Lord and we know what God wants and even though it looks like it will can’t happen we walk in faith and believe God.  We do not lose sleep.   We are confident that God will do what he said. 

    It can be challenging to travel with a lot of bags.  Spiritually we need to travel light.   Christians do not want to carry a lot of stuff with us such as unbelief, anger, unforgiveness, lust and fear.  We do not want the pain of yesterday to slow us down today or hinder us today.  That stuff, the world’s stuff slows us down spiritually.  It hinders us from being all we can be.  The old scars can hold us back and pull us down.  Those old wounds can be healed and used for God’s glory.  I want to travel light.  I want to be strong spiritually.  I do not want to spend a lot of time looking at the old trash.   The Israelites looked back a lot didn’t they?  They carried some bags.  They had a lot to learn.  

      Moses waves his hand over the sea and then the waters return and the Egyptian army is destroyed.  At the end of chapter 15 they are out of drinking water and the water that is available is polluted.    They loaded up when they left Egypt but they are in their 2nd month of their journey.   This journey is out in the desert and it is hot.       I remember Death Valley being 128 degrees at 10:30 in the morning at the weather station on one of our vacations.

    I am listening to Perry Stone who shared some things that happened during the blood moons.  He said this last fall it got to 164 degrees in one place.  He said there were a lot of things that happened during the blood moons and he chided some of us for our negative comments.  It has been argued that the blood moons were signs for Israel.  Just because things did not happen here does not mean that some things happened.  We get too quick to be critical sometimes.  There was a heat wave.  One place recorded 164 degrees.  There was a 5 day dust storm.  There was flooding and hail the size of ice cubes that fell and during the time that Israel was celebrating a New Year during the time of the blood moons Russia was moving troops into Syria.  I suppose we could say so what. 

    I did not plan to preach in Exodus this week nor preach on prophecy but I started this so here we go. 

 Ezekiel 38 Verse 4, 5,  Persia  Far North   Moscow 8, last days Chapter 37   Verse 15 Why Russia come?  Crops , dead sea Perry Stone Oil23Same thing with Egypt. 

What is ISIS or ISEL trying to do?  China Russia USA  We may see things that are far greater than the plagues. 

     When it is hot water is important.   Water and food are very important and can run out quickly.  They come to Marah and they cannot drink the water because it is bitter. They did not pray and ask God to give them water.  They did not say Lord you will provide for us.  The people grumble and complain against Moses.   Moses cries out to the Lord.  God shows Moses a piece of wood which Moses throws into the water and the water becomes sweet.  God likes to heal things.  God provides for them even when they complain as God also does for us sometimes. 

    In chapter 16 we read that 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.”   It is the 15th of the second month since they left Egypt and they are complaining.   They are a tough bunch to lead.  Egypt and slavery is behind them and they are in the desert and before them is the promise of the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey.   They look back and complain.  They look back and forget the whips and the slavery and remember the food they had to eat. They have one foot stuck in the land of slavery.   They can’t cut away from the old life.  It does not help them to do that. It can be hard to look forward when the heat is on.  It is hard sometimes to focus on Jesus.  It can be hard to walk in faith when we are in pain. 

    They looked back and they should not have done that.  John Bunyan wrote in Pilgrim’s Progress of a man bending double over from his waist, sorting through a can of garbage, carefully extracting little bits of tinsel he finds there.  Behind him is standing an angel who is offering him a gold crown studded with precious jewels but the man is so engrossed in the garbage he never notices the angel.  Brothers and sisters our focus and our faith are so important.  What are looking for this New Year?   What do you want God to do for you?   What have you been praying for and asking God for?   Sadly many people are not looking to God for anything. Maybe it is worth some time to pray and seek God about it.   Lord what do you want to do for me this year?   I think we should. Be asking God what we can trust him for this year.  When you know God’s will you can rest in it.  You can say to the mountains be removed and be confident that the obstacle will go. 

  When Israel complained did it help them?   Is it true the squeaky wheel gets the grease?  I Corinthians 10:10 says and do not grumble as some of them did – and were killed by the destroying angel.  Ouch.   There is a word of warning for us.  God worked with them and God works with us.  God tested them.  God wanted them to mature and they failed but God was faithful and God is faithful with us.   Do you get angry at the Lord’s testing and correction. 

   This is from Ann Graham Lotz book My Heart Cry For More.  In our fears and struggles God is: Able, Benevolent, Compassionate, Dependable, Faithful, Good, Holy, Immortal, Just, Kind, Loving, Merciful, Near, Omnipresent, Powerful, Quick, Right, Sufficient, Truthful, Unique, Victorious, Wise, Exalted.