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Sunday, March 04, 2007

on exodus 16 and the wilderness

On Exodus 16...

Look at what happened in the situation of the hunger in the wilderness. It is very similar to the way God responded to their thirst.

God instructed Moses with "rules" that the people would need to follow. Again, God's deliverance is linked to obedience. God would provide meat (quail) and bread (manna). The obedience involved trusting God. The people were only to collect what they needed for one day. They tested this, and the food went bad.

I have two observations:

1. God could have transported them from Egypt through the Red Sea to the Promised Land, but he chose for them to endure the wilderness. Likewise, God could beam us right to Heaven when we come out of death through trust in Jesus Christ. But, God chooses for us to live a life between salvation and Heaven.

2. God could have provided them with lots and lots of food and water, but chose to give them just enough for one day. Often, God gives us just what we need for the moment or the day, whether that be peace, respite, help, or guidance.

Why did and why does God act in these ways? I believe it is to teach us trust. It is to train us in faithfulness - so we will become worshiping followers of God through Jesus Christ. If God gave me all the riches, health, prosperity, and power I need (or think I need), would I ever call out to Him again? Would I think I needed Him at all?

Should I send my children on to college now? No, surely they are not yet ready. Heather and I are training them, raising them up hopefully to be mature and godly young women. Along the way, we are enjoying the relationship of parent and child. God was continuing to reveal Himself to His people. He was not just miraculous Savior - they would understand that from the plagues and the Red Sea. He was also Lord of their lives - every moment and every day, and they needed to learn to trust Him in every moment, especially in the difficult ones!

God not only provided for His people's needs, despite their grumbling; He did so in order that they might know Him as their God. God was building relationship with them through trust, obedience, and His provision. That has significant implications for you and me. It means that our present concerns - our present "wilderness experiences" - are not meant to make us forsake God, but to trust Him!

Are you hungry? Are you thirsty? Are you in need? Is money scarce? Is your health failing? Is the way forward difficult or confusing? Does it seem like God is nowhere to be found, you're on your own, and there is little hope?

Listen, this is the Good News from God's Word. It is consistent throughout the Bible, from these passages in Exodus to Psalm 23 to John 14 to Revelation: God is here. God is with you. God loves you and desires a relationship with you. God is strong and has already accomplished salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. God desires your obedience and trust. God hears your prayers. And God is willing and able to give you what you really need - maybe not what you think you need - but what you really need... enough for today so that you might trust in Him again tomorrow. Know, too, that God is taking you somewhere. If you are following Him, you are not wandering in circles. If you are trusting Him, He is teaching you faith so that you will know Him and worship Him, and so that you will have hope in Him.

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