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*Christ in the Old Covenant 22*
*Exodus 15:19 – 16:36*
!!! Overview of Text
Our text this morning is a very lengthy section, stretching from 15:19 – 16:36.
I want to begin by overviewing this section for you.
Remember that last week we studied the dramatic deliverance through the miracle of the Red Sea crossing.
Last Sunday night we moved ahead into chapter 15 and meditated on Moses’ inspired celebration song.
So we pick up the text at 15:19 READ 15:19-21.
Of course Miriam is also Moses’ sister, and she is called a prophetess here because God apparently put the same inspired words in her mouth that He had put into Moses’ mouth, and she leads the women in the celebration of this display of God’s power.
Many times in Israel’s history the men and women would celebrate together, but for some reason in this instance they celebrated separately.
But only days after this celebration, they face yet another major test of faith.
As they head into the wilderness, they are quickly running out of water.
Arriving at Marah, they discover that the water there is so laced with minerals that it is undrinkable.
Understand that this is not a minor inconvenience, like having Coldstone run out of your favorite flavor – this is a genuinely desperate situation.
But was this any more desperate than being pinned by the Egyptian army?
And Yahweh was still leading them – was He more than enough for this situation?
They grumbled again at Moses, and God graciously worked another miracle to change the waters so that they could drink them.
We’ll see the magnitude of God’s mercy here, as in both chapters 15 and 16 He responds to their grumbling by providing just what they need.
Verse 26 is not teaching that God’s people will never get sick.
The point is that if they were faithful to God they would not experience the same kind of plagues that they had just seen God pour out on the Egyptians.
Actually this is a warning: if you are stubborn and rebellious against me, you will taste the same things the Egyptians tastes.
At the beginning of chapter 16 they face yet another similar test of faith.
It has been exactly one month since their last night in Egypt, and now they are running out of food.
This is the third major test in a row: at the Red Sea, at Marah, and now in the wilderness of Sin (/seen/).
For the third time in a row, they grumble against Moses and Aaron, they grumble that they were ever taken away, and they wax eloquent about the good old days back in Egypt.
God responds with remarkable provision.
READ 16:8 A little sidetrack here, a principle: there is no such thing as grumbling against someone else without grumbling at God.
We can’t say “I’m not upset at God, I’m just upset at him or her.”
The God of providence brings every him and her into your life – and to grumble about them is to grumble about Him.
So Moses rightly says “Your grumblings are against the LORD.”
But the Lord whom they grumbled against is going to provide for them.
But first He will once again take their focus off of themselves, and get it back onto Himself.
Apparently something in the appearance of the cloud changed in some way so that it was evident that the glory of the Lord was there.
They could sense the glory of the Lord – they were unmistakeably reminded again that God was there, that God had led them there, that God was listening to their grumblings, that God was right in the middle of this situation.
God worked two miracles for them.
The first is only mentioned one time, though it is possible it happened other times.
But for one evening, God sent quail that covered the ground, an abundant supply of meat for them.
But the second miracle would happen six days a week for decades until the next generation entered the promised land.
Of course that is the miracle of the manna.
Each morning the manna was on the ground, and God gave them very specific instructions that they were to gather one omer per person for that day.
Of course some tried to gather more than one day’s worth, and found out that God wasn’t joking.
On Friday they were to gather two days worth, because there would not be any available on the Sabbath.
But of course some people went out on the Sabbath anyways expecting to find some, and found again that God meant what He said.
Honey was a real delicacy – they didn’t haul beehives around with them.
You had to find honey in small quantities out in the desert.
Wafers would be a thin bread like a cookie.
So wafers flavored with honey would be like a really special cookie.
Just think about the lovingkindness of God illustrated here: they get angry about being taken out of Egypt, they grumble about not having water, they grumble about not having food.
And what does God do?
He gives them food, but not just food.
All the meat they can eat – and then fancy cookies, free, every morning, six days a week.
Isaiah 55:2 /Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance./
What a wonder – that God would take rebels and pour out blessing upon them.
That God would delight in delighting His people.
How important it this?
At the end of the chapter God told them to save a jar of it so that they would not forget – and when the tabernacle was constructed that jar was one of only three things placed inside the ark of the covenant.
*/TRANSITION:/* Now I want us to focus on a key word that appears here in this text: that is the word /test/.
This is a very important word in the Bible – the only time we’ve seen this mentioned previously was in Genesis 22 when God tested Abraham with Isaac.
But from this point on this theme will be very prominent, as God develops His relationship with His people through testing.
In our text today God is testing the children of Israel – as soon as we get into chapter 17 the children of Israel are testing God, which we’ll talk about next week.
!!! Intro re: Testing
So if you look at READ 15:25b.
At Marah he tested them – tested them by allowing them to become very thirsty, and then come to a place where the water was not drinkable.
Then if you go down READ 16:4.
He tested them by sending the Manna.
This Hebrew word has the general idea of “testing or proving the quality of someone or something, often through adversity or hardship.”
It’s used in Daniel 1 – the Babylonian tested them for 10 days while they ate vegetables and water instead of the kings’ food.
The word is used in I Samuel 17 when David volunteers to go take on Goliath, and Saul suggests that David wear his armor.
/David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them.
So David said to Saul, "I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them."
And David took them off/.
So that’s the general idea of the word, but we’re talking specifically about God testing His people.
!!! Purposes for Testing
Why would God test His people?
There are many different reasons that overlap with one another – I’ll just mention a couple aspects of this.
First, there is an overarching purpose for tests: God takes rebels who hate God and run from God and by His tender grace turns them into people of faith who love God and trust God.
I Peter 1:6-7 teaches that God then uses testing to show off that faith – to display the priceless treasure of faith.
And the result will be praise and honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
That’s the big picture – but more immediately, I think the purpose we usually think of first is purification.
Tests help us grow and mature and obey.
TURN TO Exodus 20.
James 1 says that when testing finishes its work you will be mature and complete.
READ *Exodus 20:20* Through the testing they would understand God better and that would lead to holiness.
Did you notice that at the end of Exodus 15 and the beginning of Exodus 16, obedience was stated as a clear purpose of the testing?
So certainly one purpose of testing is holiness or Christlikeness or obedience.
TURN TO Deuteronomy 8.
One of the ways testing helps us grow and obey is by showing us our need for growth and our lack of obedience.
READ Deuteronomy 8:2.
God can test to humble us and to reveal what is in our hearts.
/To know/ it says.
But God doesn’t need to know – He already knows.
We are the ones who need to know: we are the ones who need humbled by a clearer view of our own hearts.
And testing often acts like a magnifying glass, showing us things we had not seen in our own hearts.
Simply put, God tests us to show us our spiritual needs.
TURN TO II Chronicles 32.
Hezekiah was a good king, who obeyed God and sought the Lord.
The Lord worked an amazing miracle to rescue him from defeat.
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