Play a game with me for a moment, it is called would you rather. In this game, I propose two scenarios to you. You must choose one of them. For the purpose of this game, suspend any knowledge of Israel’s slavery in Egypt, or the Exodus.
Would you rather be slaves who have food, or free and hungry? Write down your first thought answer… is it hard? it would be for me, I assume it is for you. Why is it difficult? Because you don’t know all the details.
Now, I left out a major aspect of the game, you get to ask me questions about each scenario. Ask whatever questions you want, and when we are done, I will close the floor for questions and we will take a vote to determine which one this church body will choose.
Ask me a question about slavery…
is it harsh? YES
Will it end soon? nope
What is it like?
Now ask me some questions about being hungry…
When will it end? tomorrow
Did God lead me there? without a doubt
Ok, I am closing the floor for questions. Who wants to be a slave with food? Who wants to be free and hungry?
Lets look at what is going on in this story:
The people see a Grave Reality, and have a Grumbling Response
Their situation in the desert was grave, God had led them to this place, and by their own accounts, they were about to die there for lack of food. So they grumbled. they focused on the negatives of their current situation and remembered only the positive aspects of their previous enslavement. In that moment, they would rather be slaves with food, than free and hungry. So, what we see these Hebrews doing, is something that we all do from time to time, we focus on one small negative aspect of our lives, and forget two things: 1. it is not the whole picture. 2. God is the one who brought it to you. Which brings me to God’s Character in the midst of their grumbling.
God’s Reality is a Grace-filled Rescue. What the Israelites failed to remember in their grumbling was that it was God who brought them out of Egypt. They blamed Moses and Aaron, v. 2. God wanted them to remember yet again who it was that brought them out of Egypt. v. 6. In order to accomplish this God allowed them to be hungry. He was revealing to them an idol that they had still to let go of. They lost sight of a heavenly reality and began to look to earthly agents. v.8. They needed to be reminded that when they grumbled, it was not against Moses and Aaron, it was against God. So, he allowed them to be in a dire situation so that He might yet again be recognized as the sours of their lives. They had forgotten who they were following, and in order to shake them from clinging to their idols, God allowed them to feel hunger, so He could once again reveal His grace to them. Why is that necessary? because we are not affected by a show of power, unless it moves in our own situations.
So, what is the Trap that the people had fallen into? Well, it is really no different than the traps they had been falling into all along. They began to look to created things for a savior. They were looking to food, and they looked to Moses.
You see, very often, when people begin to trust their lives to God’s care, they begin to trust Him and follow his lead, but at some point in time, He brings about a difficult situation that in many ways is less desirable than that aspect of their life before they were Christians. maybe someone was very successful in business before they became a Christian, and sometime after being saved, they struggled to have the same success, and so they might be tempted to go back to some less than ethical business practices to try and restore what God has removed. There are many ways that we can as Christians look only at the difficulties that we face, and forget the reality of God’s hand and His plan as He provides for His people.
So, What can we draw from this story to help to keep us from having a Grumbling Response when we are facing a grave reality?
Recognize your reality… its ok to acknowledge your situation, to God and to People
Remember who is leading you… The israelites forgot who was really in control of their lives.
reflect on the Gospel…
This is Jesus Explaining that the story of God giving Manna was a foreshadow of Jesus, He is God’s ultimate Grace filled Response to our grave reality.