Provision from God in the Wilderness

Scripture Passage: 
Exodus 15:22-27; Exodus 16:1-36

INTRODUCTION: God has delivered Israel from Egypt. But now the real test comes.  Israel no longer has the wealth of Egypt upon which to rely. Will they be willing to trust in the Lord for their provision? Will they find Him to be sufficient?

  1. THE WATERS OF MARAH (Exodus 15:22-27)
    1. Journey into the Wilderness (Exodus 15:22)
      1. Israel departs from the Red Sea.
        1. The Red Sea crossing is a picture of salvation and the leaving of the world (Egypt).
        2. It is only after salvation that they can enter the wilderness and begin to learn to trust in the Lord for daily provision.
      2. They went three days journey into the wilderness of Shur.
        1. This points to the resurrection and pictures their opportunity to walk in the power of the resurrection in newness of life.
        2. Of course, they fail miserably and instead picture the walk of a carnal Christian.
      3. God’s purposes for Israel in the wilderness are found in Deuteronomy 8:2-5. Especially significant is God’s teaching them that they are not to live by bread only (Deuteronomy 8:3).
    2. The First Trial (Exodus 15:22-24)
      1. The water troubles (Exodus 15:22-23)
        1. No water – “They went three days in the wilderness, and found no water” (Exodus 15:22).
        2. Bitter water (Exodus 15:23)
          1. When they finally found water, it was bitter and they could not drink of it.
          2. The location of the bitter water was named Marah.
          3. The experience of the Israelites with the bitter water (Marah) is similar to the experience of Naomi when she lost her husband and sons and changed her name to Mara (Ruth 1:20).
        3. After the miracle of deliverance from Egypt, they expected their life to be one of ease and comfort. However, three days into the wilderness they experienced their first trial—no water. This compares to the shock the new believer has when he faces his first significant trial.
      2. The murmuring of the people (Exodus 15:24)
        1. This is the first reference in the Bible to murmuring. Of the 40 total references, over half of them refer to the time Israel spent in the wilderness.
        2. The murmuring of the Israelites in the wilderness is a warning to us today (1Corinthians 10:10; Philippians 2:14).
        3. There are 6 specific incidents in the wilderness where Israel murmurs against Moses.
          1. Bitter water (Exodus 15:24)
            1. No accusation against Moses, though they did murmur against him
            2. No stated rebellion against God
            3. No mention is made of God consuming the people.
            4. The bitter water was made sweet (Exodus 15:25).
          2. No flesh (Exodus 16:2, 7, 8, 9, 12)
            1. The people accused Moses of bringing them out to kill them with hunger (Exodus 16:3).
            2. The murmuring of the people was against God (Exodus 16:8).
            3. No mention is made of God consuming the people.
            4. The people were rebuked (Exodus 16:8) and flesh was provided (Exodus 16:13-14).
          3. No water (Exodus 17:3)
            1. The people accused Moses of bringing them out to kill them with thirst (Exodus 17:3).
            2. The people tempted the Lord (Exodus 17:2, 7).
            3. No mention is made of God consuming the people.
            4. God provided water out of the rock (Exodus 17:6).
          4. Evil report of the land (Numbers 14:2, 27, 29, 36-37; Deuteronomy 1:27; Psalm 106:25)
            1. The people say it would be better to return to Egypt (Numbers 14:2-4).
            2. The people make accusations against God (Numbers 14:2-3).
            3. God desires to kill the people (Numbers 14:10-12).
            4. The people wander 40 years in the wilderness (Numbers 14:26-35).
            5. The spies die (Numbers 14:36-37) and the people are defeated in war (Numbers 14:40-45).
          5. Rebellion of Korah (Numbers 16:11; Numbers 17:5, 10)
            1. The people accuse Moses of taking too much upon him (Numbers 16:3).
            2. The people were gathered against God (Numbers 16:11).
            3. The Lord offers to consume the people (Numbers 16:20-22).
            4. Korah & his followers die (Numbers 16:31-35).
          6. Death of Korah and followers (Numbers 16:41)
            1. The people accuse Moses of killing Korah and his followers.
            2. The people anger the Lord (Numbers 16:41-42).
            3. The Lord offers to consume the people (Numbers 16:44-45).
            4. A plague kills 14,700 people (Numbers 16:49).
    3. The Provisions of God (Exodus 15:25-27)
      1. The tree (Exodus 15:25)
        1. Shown to Moses by God
        2. Type of the cross of Christ (1 Peter 2:24)
        3. Made the bitter waters sweet (Galatians 6:14; Philippians 3:10)
      2. Health to those who obey (Exodus 15:26)
        1. To have none of the diseases of Egypt
        2. To take all sickness away (cp. Exodus 23:25 with Exodus 23:22)
        3. Diseases to be given to their enemies (cp. Deuteronomy 7:15 with Deuteronomy 7:12)
        4. The opposite results for disobedience (Deuteronomy 28:58-61)
      3. A stop at Elim (Exodus 15:27)
        1. A place of refreshment after the trial
        2. A place containing twelve wells of water
        3. A place with seventy palm trees
  2. THE NEED FOR FOOD (Exodus 16:1-3)
    1. The Continuation of the Journey (Exodus 16:1)
      1. The people departed from Elim.
      2. The people came to the wilderness of Sin on the fifteenth day of the second month after coming out of Egypt.
    2. The Complaint of the People (Exodus 16:2-3)
      1. The people murmur against Moses and Aaron (Exodus 16:2).
      2. The people are hungry for food (Exodus 16:3).
      3. The people have a horrible memory as to the situation in Egypt (Exodus 16:3).
        1. They wish they would have died in Egypt.
        2. They remember sitting by the flesh pots in Egypt and eating bread to the full.
  3. THE PROVISION OF FOOD (Exodus 16:4-18)
    1. The Promise of Manna and Flesh (Exodus 16:4-10)
      1. The promise of manna (Exodus 16:4-5)
        1. Rained down from heaven (Exodus 16:4)
        2. The people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day (Exodus 16:4).
        3. Twice as much is to be gathered on the sixth day (Exodus 16:5).
      2. The people to know of the Lord’s deliverance (Exodus 16:6-7)
        1. At even, they will know that the Lord brought them out of Egypt (Exodus 16:6).
        2. In the morning, they will see the glory of the Lord (Exodus 16:7).
      3. The promise of flesh (Exodus 16:8)
        1. Flesh to eat in the evening
        2. Bread to the full in the morning
      4. Trouble for the people (Exodus 16:9-10)
        1. The Lord heard the murmurings of the people (Exodus 16:9).
        2. The glory of the Lord appeared in a cloud (Exodus 16:10).
    2. The Provision of Manna and Flesh (Exodus 16:11-18)
      1. The Lord’s provision (Exodus 16:11-14)
        1. At even the quails covered the camp (Exodus 16:13).
        2. In the morning the manna was on the ground (Exodus 16:13-14).
        1. The confusion of the people (Exodus 16:15)
          1. The people called it manna which means what is it.
          2. Moses informs the people that it is the bread which the Lord has given them to eat.
        2. The gathering of the manna (Exodus 16:16-18)
          1. Gathered in proportion (Exodus 16:16-17)
            1. An omer was to be gathered for every man (Exodus 16:16).
            2. The manna was gathered according to the home (Exodus 16:16).
            3. Some gathered more and some gathered less (Exodus 16:17).
          2. Gathered in perfection (Exodus 16:18)
            1. He that gathered much had nothing over.
            2. He that gathered little had no lack.
  4. THE DISOBEDIENCE OF THE PEOPLE (Exodus 16:19-30)
    1. None to be Left Till the Morning (Exodus 16:19-21)
    2. None to be Gathered on the Sabbath (Exodus 16:22-30)
  5. THE PRESERVATION OF THE MANNA (Exodus 16:31-36)
    1. Manna Laid Up Before the Lord (Exodus 16:31-34)
    2. Manna Provided the Duration of the Wilderness Wanderings (Exodus 16:35-36)

CONCLUSION: Not only did the Lord give guidance and safety to Israel but He provided for their needs as well. Unfortunately, Israel spent more time complaining about their needs than they spent praising God for His provision. We need to examine our hearts as well. Are you a murmurer or a praiser?

David Reagan and Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 23:6

Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: