Friday, March 11, 2022

2022.03.11 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 16:8–30

Read Exodus 16:8–30

Questions from the Scripture text: What will Yahweh give them at what times (Exodus 16:8)? Why—what has He heard? What does Moses then ask? Against Whom are they really complaining? To whom does Moses speak in Exodus 16:9? What is Aaron to say to whom? Where does the whole congregation see what (Exodus 16:10)? Who speaks to whom in Exodus 16:11? What has Yahweh heard (Exodus 16:12)? What is Moses to say to them? What will the people know when this happens? What came up at evening (Exodus 16:13)? What did they do? What was all around the camp in the morning? When the dew lifted, what was there (Exodus 16:14)? Who saw it (Exodus 16:15)? What did they say? What did Moses say it was? Who had commanded what to do (Exodus 16:16)? What were they to do? What was the result (Exodus 16:17-18)? And what did Moses command in Exodus 16:19? But what did they not do (Exodus 16:20)? With what result? How did Moses respond? What did they do from that point (Exodus 16:21)? What happened on the sixth day (Exodus 16:22)? Who reports this to whom? With Whose words does Moses respond (Exodus 16:23)? By what two descriptions does He name the next day? What are they to do with the manna today? And then what for tomorrow? How did this turn out (Exodus 16:24)? What did Moses say to do with it (Exodus 16:25)? Why? What wouldn’t happen that day (Exodus 16:25-26)? What do some people do on the Sabbath (Exodus 16:27)? Who responds (Exodus 16:28)? What does He say they are refusing? What two gifts does Exodus 16:29 mention? What command comes as a corollary to those gifts? So, what do the people do (Exodus 16:30)?

Extraordinary grace

One way that Hebrew narrative sometimes transitions from one scene to the next is by a repetition that closes the one and opens the other. That occurs here in Exodus 16:8. Yahweh is giving them meat in the evening and then bread in the morning, because He has heard their grumbling against Him. This is extraordinary grace, and it colors the rest of the passage. 

The summons in Exodus 16:9 is ominous. What ought those who complain against Yahweh expect when He summons them and says that He has heard them grumble against Him? Yet, the Lord’s response is to show them His glory—first in the cloud (Exodus 16:10), but then in the generosity and power of His provision (Exodus 16:12). 

The miraculous nature of the provision is highlighted even by the name of the bread. They had no idea what it was, so they would have baked or boiled (cf. Exodus 16:23) “what-is-it” to eat for the next forty years. 

Daily grace that demands daily trust

With the bread (Exodus 16:15) came a command (Exodus 16:16Exodus 16:19). The Lord would give just enough, every day. So they were to eat that day’s amount and not try to go a little bit hungry in order to have some for the next day. But they didn’t trust the Lord or listen to Moses (Exodus 16:20). Moses’s response of anger is not inappropriate; so, it highlights just how gracious God is being here.

Every evening, they had to trust that the Lord would be gracious again tomorrow morning. And we still have to do that today. He doesn’t feed us a day of manna at a time anymore. But He does teach us to ask Him for our daily bread. 

It is a good (both effectively good and morally good) answer to all anxiety to trust that the God Who has been gracious to us every day of our lives is able and willing to do it again in the morning. His mercies are new every morning!

Weekly grace that fosters divine delight

Something strange happens on the sixth day, and the all the rules of the congregation come and tell Moses (Exodus 16:22). Apparently, there was usually just enough for one day. This day, there was twice as much. The Lord performed three great miracles here: (1) He gave them twice as much on the sixth day; (2) He made it keep for the entire extra day; (3) He withheld the manna on the seventh day. 

Notice what he says about the day in Exodus 16:23. He gives it two names: “a Sabbath rest” and “a holy Sabbath to Yahweh.” The point isn’t the stopping. It’s not a day that is set apart for not gathering or baking or boiling. The reason that those things don’t happen is that the day is actually for something else: consecrated to Yahweh.  He establishes for us the pattern that when we think about keeping the day, we are not to focus on those things which are forbidden on the day, but rather the good purpose unto which the day has been designated as holy.

We can see this a little bit even in the language of Exodus 16:29: “Yahweh has given you the Sabbath.” The Sabbath is itself a gift. And in order to give us that day, He has ordained to provide for all of our needs by means of the other six days. If we say that we cannot provide for ourselves without desecrating the Sabbath, we both deny that the Sabbath is a gift and deny that the Lord has been faithful to give us the means of provision via the other six days.

It’s remarkable that, after showing patience with their complaining (Exodus 16:10) and even with their mistrusting (Exodus 16:20), it is when they violate the Sabbath just by going out (Exodus 16:27) that the Lord finally issues the rebuke (Exodus 16:28). Certainly, this gift of a day that is consecrated unto laboring in worship and enjoying worship is one that He Himself has placed special emphasis upon.

How has God shown patience with you lately? What situation is most testing whether you are going to trust Him anew every day? How does your manner of keeping the Lord’s Day demonstrate what a gift you consider it to be?

Sample prayer:  Lord, truly Your mercies are new every morning. How often You have borne patiently with even our most stubborn and ungrateful sin! Yet, every day You give us more grace, and every good and perfect gift. Forgive us for how we often prioritize Your gifts over You, the Giver. Grant unto us a delight in Your day that trains our hearts up to delighting in You, which we ask in Jesus’s Name, AMEN! 

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

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