Each week we webcast Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, morning public worship at 11a, and p.m. singing and sermon at 3p (sermon at 3:45); and the Weds. Prayer Meeting at 6:30p

Friday, March 04, 2022

2022.03.04 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 16:1–7

Read Exodus 16:1–7

Questions from the Scripture text: From where do they journey in Exodus 16:1? To where do they come? Where is it? When? Now what do the whole congregation do (Exodus 16:2)? What do they say they would have preferred (Exodus 16:3-4)? What would they have wished to have instead of what(/Who) they have now? How would they have wished to die instead of how else? Who responds to the complaint (Exodus 16:4)? What will He do? Why? What will be different on the sixth day from the first five (Exodus 16:5)? What do Moses and Aaron say Israel will know when in Exodus 16:6? And what will they see when in Exodus 16:7? Against Whom were the complaints of Exodus 16:2 really made?

The ”Wilderness of Sin” comes to be ironically named—not that the word has that meaning in Hebrew, but they go from the oasis of paradise (Elim) into the wilderness and immediately plunge into sin. 

A complaining spirit is against God. The sin of Israel is to complain “against Moses and Aaron” (Exodus 16:2). But Yahweh hears their complaints as against Himself (Exodus 16:7). “What are we that you complain against us?” they say. What is anyone or anything, that we would indulge a complaining spirit? Even if they do us evil, is not God doing us good? Doesn’t our lot come to us in the providence of Him Who has given Himself for us and to us in Christ? And doesn’t the Potter have the right over us as the clay to do what He will?

Sin is a choice of perishing over paradise. The Lord had given them the choice of Egypt as a glimpse of perishing (Exodus 15:26) or Elim as a glimpse of Paradise (Exodus 15:27). It’s only been a month and a half (!!) since they left Egypt, and now they are remembering the hand of Yahweh against Egypt as being not so bad (Exodus 16:3a) and the oppression which had crushed them into crying out (cf. Exodus 2:23–24, Exodus 3:7) as the good ole days “when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full” (Exodus 16:3).

The forgetfulness is almost unbelievable! But aren’t we guilty of that forgetfulness every time we sin? Every time we choose worldly pleasure over a better pleasure in the Lord that we might have attended upon instead?

Every sin is a choice of “pots of meat and bread” over belonging to the Lord—like Esau’s “root of bitterness” (Hebrews 12:15) “who for one morsel of food sold his birthright (Hebrews 12:16). How forgetful and foolish can we be?! We don’t want to know the answer to that question. Instead, we must seek grace from God to worship God with reverence and awe (Hebrews 12:28), learning to prefer Him over the earthly playthings that our flesh would prefer.

How we respond to God’s good gifts is a test of what we prefer: God or His gifts. The Sabbath was already a test of whether we would learn to delight in a day consecrated to the Creator rather than the created things (cf. Genesis 2:2–3, Isaiah 58:13–14). Now the Lord doubles that effect to “test them, whether they will walk in My law or not” (Exodus 16:4). He will give them manna that lasts just one day, so that they show whether they will trust Him by not keeping any extra. Then, He will give them twice as much to last for two days, so that they will not gather on the Sabbath. 

Do we trust His provision, so that we are content with each day’s gifts? And do we especially trust that the Sabbath itself—as consecrated entirely to Him—is better than attempting to gather up for ourselves what is not lawful on that day? Whatever good gifts He gives us, are we determined to prefer Him Himself and His goodness by means of and above the goodness of the gift?

When are you most tempted to indulge a complaining spirit? In what sin do you most often make a choice toward perishing instead of paradise? How can you detect whether you’re enjoying the gift’s goodness or God’s goodness in the gift—how are you doing on this when measured by your attitude toward enjoying the consecratedness of the Lord’s Day?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You that You Who have redeemed us are the One Who uses Your providence to bring out of us the current condition of our hearts toward You. Forgive us for how poor that condition yet is, but give us more of that grace by which You have brought us as far as we have thus come! Grant that Your Spirit would persist patiently with us until we have been conformed completely to Christ, in Whose Name we ask it, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP131 “My Heart Is Not Exalted, Lord” or TPH429 “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”


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