Posts Tagged ‘Exodus’

Now while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. And those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron, and to all the congregation. They put him under guard, because it had not been explained what should be done to him. Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man must surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.” So, as the Lord commanded Moses, all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him with stones, and he died. Numbers 15:32-36Wrong Place/Wrong Time?

Occasionally we read a bit of scripture like this and suppose God’s behavior unreasonable. Other times we hear, “I thought your God was a loving God?” The truth of the matter is that God’s ways are perfect and we will fully appreciate their implications when we [Christians] get to Heaven. However, in the meantime, we can take great comfort in appreciating that God, in His grace and mercy, has provided us examples so that we might not repeat mistakes.

God Has a Plan

“…Having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth–in Him.” Ephesians 1:9-10

It seems like an obvious statement, but God has a plan and we can see it plainly outlined in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Everything we do is either in agreement with His will or in opposition to it–everything. We should further recognize that there is nothing we can do to thwart His plan, but there are things we can do to delay the blessings He desires to bestow upon us. Likely the best example we have is in post-Exodus Israel. God’s intent was to bring them into the Promised Land about a year after they left Egypt, but because of their disbelief they turned a week-long trip into a forty year journey. God’s purpose was not destroyed, just delayed. The experience is recorded, at least in part, as an illustration for us.

The Stoned-Stick-Gatherer

Surely there must have been other stick-gatherers; why weren’t they stoned to death? We might never know the answer to that question, but we do know this guy’s actions stand as our example today. You could say that this man’s mission in life was to be an example. Was he damned too? Not necessarily.

The truth of the matter is that a person might be saved, but because they opted to venture into sinful territory (maybe just one time), God opted to use him or her as an example for others. Suddenly their mission field is reduced to an illustration depicting what not to do. Is their salvation still secure? If they knew Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior it is, but their ministry to God ends up becoming a shortened or radically altered life.

Teaching Our Kids

Clearly these are things we need to know, but it’s imperative that we are driving-home this notion to our kids. Far too many of our saved children, particularly teenagers and young adults, are living lives with one foot on the narrow path and one in the gutter. They (we) need to know that while their salvation might be secure, there are always consequences and at the extreme-est level, their conduct may be converted into an example for everyone else. God is not mocked and everyone saved or not, will reap what is sown.

What if you Survive?

Not every Christian who stumbles in sin winds-up a dead example for the rest of us. The reality is that most of us, gratefully, do not. However, many of us become so distraught by the repercussions of our past behavior we become mired in spiritual depression that prevents us from being of any earthly good. This is precisely where the nation of Israel found themselves in the 15th book of Numbers. Our loving God offers a remedy…

“Speak to the children of Israel: Tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue thread in the tassels of the corners. And you shall have the tassel, that you may look upon it and remember all the commandments of the Lord and do them, and that you may not follow the harlotry to which your own heart and your own eyes are inclined, and that you may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy for your God. Numbers 15: 38-40

Blue is the color of Heaven and while our Father is not mandating that we adorn our garments, herein lies an application for the Church; a remedy for what ails us. When we mess up (and we will), let us be mindful to keep our eyes on the Heavenly prize eternal. There is no need to be anxious or distressed for those who are in Christ Jesus. Remember and do.

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:1-3

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And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. Exodus 34:6-7 (KJV)
What We May or May Not Know

When we read ‘LORD’ (in all capital letters) in the King James Version of the Bible, we can know that it signifies the vowel-less spelling of God’s name, YHWH. Some pronounce His name Jehovah and some Yahweh, but the reality is that we just do not know for certain. However, while God does not give us a clear pronunciation for His name, He does make clear the attributes of His name. With immeasurable quantity, God declares that He is merciful, gracious, longsuffering, good, true, and forgiving.

“If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” John 14:14

We all say it, “In Jesus name, Amen, ” but what are we actually proclaiming? Far too often these words of Jesus are taken out of context and many believe that at the mere utterance of His name prayerful requests come to pass. Contextually, Jesus is confirming that when our prayers line-up with the attributes associated with who He is, then and only then are they realized. In other words, at the mention of His name, we assert that deliberate thought has been given to God’s character in each of these areas and that our desire is allied with His desire. I should probably confess now that this is something I need to work on.

…By no means clear the guilty

The words, ‘the guilty’ are not found in the original Exodus 34 text, but added at a later time to make the verse ‘clearer’ to the readers. The problem however is that the meaning is clouded by this addition of this wordage. Understanding that the Lord is finishing a sentence and that He is still referring to Himself, a clearer reckoning of the phrase strongly suggests that He will not revoke the promise He has just made. That truth also helps us to understand the back-half of His remark…

…Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. Exodus 34:7

What God is not saying is that He will hold our children and our children’s children accountable for the sins we commit. That notion flies in the face of His nature and the attributes that He just declared about Himself! Consider the words of the Lord as recorded by the prophet Ezekiel, paying close attention to the last two sentences.

“What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying: ’The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children’s teeth are set on edge’? “As I live, ” says the Lord God, “you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel. “Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die. Ezekiel 18:2-4

This is a doctrine protracted by Jesus in the New Testament as well. In the Exodus 34 text, our Father is upholding that He will visit us to do whatever it takes to restore us—even to the point of sacrificing His only begotten Son on a cross. This is a generational promise—to visit our children and our children’s children, not to punish, but to re-establish us through His Son Jesus.

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Then you shall take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel: six of their names on one stone, and six names on the other stone, in order of their birth…And you shall put the two stones on the shoulders of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. So Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord on his two shoulders as a memorial…And you shall put settings of stones in it, four rows of stones: The first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and an emerald; this shall be the first row; the second row shall be a turquoise, a sapphire, and a diamond; the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; and the fourth row, a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper. They shall be set in gold settings. And the stones shall have the names of the sons of Israel, twelve according to their names, like the engravings of a signet, each one with its own name; they shall be according to the twelve tribes. Exodus 28:9-10, 12, 17-21Animals Do Not Do This

Human beings are not animals. That is not the direction of today’s blog, but I did want to point that out because there is a striving that takes place within a man’s soul to be singularly unique and universally accepted simultaneously; a trait demonstrated nowhere in the animal kingdom. The idiosyncrasy is best observed in any teenager (again, not an animal) with the irony being in their resolve to be one-of-a-kind, they typically end up looking and behaving like one another. As onlookers we might be quick to propose the behavior as inane, but the reality is God knowingly integrated this characteristic into our framework for the purpose of bringing honor, glory, and praise to Himself.

The garments of the high priest bear witness to this truth—the notion that both individuality and oneness go hand-and-hand within the body of Christ. As a body of believers; a corporate entity, Christ bears the weight of the Church upon His shoulders, much in the same way He bore His own cross. Because of His singular efforts, oppression and encumbrance are choices for the believer rather than realities—if in Christ we suffer in these things, it is because we have chosen to.

It shall come to pass in that day That his burden will be taken away from your shoulder, And his yoke from your neck, And the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil. Isaiah 10:27

And yet Christ still confirms our individuality, so much so we are portrayed in this priestly garment as being continually over His heart. We are sanctified; set apart both corporately and independently—one body, yet singular in composition. Individually we are as the gems on Aaron’s breastplate; all reflecting and refracting light differently, all valuable, but yet as a singular garment positioned over His heart eternally.

For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one…so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Hebrews 2:11-13, Romans 12:5

Do we see ourselves as God sees us; gems born upon the shoulders of His Son and across His breast? Do we understand that if we are sapphires, we cannot be amethysts and that both are of equal value to God? Do we see our brothers and sisters in Christ in this same light?

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Moreover you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine woven linen and blue, purple, and scarlet thread; with artistic designs of cherubim you shall weave them. Exodus 26:1Every Single Thread…

The Tabernacle was of course a actual structure built for an exact purpose and a specific people, but as we examine the construction piece by piece; thread by thread as it were, we see a depiction of Christ Jesus emerge. If there were but a few parallels, it might suggest mere happenstance, but the fact that the entire edifice and its furnishings speak practically and prophetically of Jesus is most assuredly a God-thing.

You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. John 5:39

Jesus the Tent

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

In the Gospel of John we discover our first clue. Inspired by the Father he wrote that Jesus became flesh and dwelt with us. The word ‘dwelt’ is key to us because in the original Hebrew text that word is translated ‘to tabernacle’ or to ‘tent with’. Again, if this was the only allusion to the Tabernacle itself, we might say in unison, “Coincidence!” but this is merely the tip of the iceberg. Graciously, as we unravel the Tabernacle we discover that it not only points prophetically to Jesus Christ, but also to us–what is true for Jesus is true for those positioned in Him.

Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. 1 John 2:8

Colors of Jesus

There were actually four layers of the Tabernacle’s outer wall, each layer having individual characteristics pointing to Jesus. We will focus on the innermost wall—the side that is seen by those who find themselves inside the Tabernacle. It consisted of four colors: white, blue, purple, and scarlet.

Throughout the Bible we stumble on attributes associated with those colors: white linen speaks to righteousness, blue to heaven, purple to royalty, and finally scarlet to sacrifice. The number four also speaks to the four Gospels of the Bible and they tackle those very qualities of Christ. Matthew speaks to Jesus the King (purple), Mark to His being the suffering servant (scarlet), Luke to His righteous humanity (white), and John to His deity of Heaven (blue).

Jesus the Worm

Jesus said that, not me.

But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people. Isaiah 53:6

I only repeat it here because it is paramount to developing and explaining the typology. Going back to the old Hebrew language we learn that the word for worm is ‘tolaith’ and further research reveals that it has a dual meaning–it is also defined as scarlet. It is not difficult to figure out why– the tolaith worm was ground-up to produce the scarlet pigmentation, thus the reason for the twofold definition, but it is in understanding this worm’s way of life will can appreciate Christ’s use of this expression for Himself.

The worm when giving birth affixes itself to a tree and in the act it dies and the infant worms feed on the flesh. As you might imagine, a bloody red stain is left behind. But then an odd thing occurs—in three days that red spot has dried out, turns white, flakes off and flutters to the ground as snow. I cannot help but think that was the exact image Jesus had in mind when He chose to identify Himself with the tolaith.

“Come now, and let us reason together, ” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18

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And you shall put into the ark the Testimony which I will give you. You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two and a half cubits shall be its length and a cubit and a half its width. Exodus 25:16-17I Barely Know Where to Start?

To say that the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant are symbolic illustrations that prophetically lend themselves to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is an understatement of biblical proportion—no pun intended. Every element and every detail point toward and speak directly of Jesus Christ.

Consider the Tent

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

I do not pretend to know why God did the things He did or why He continues to do the things He does, but still I ponder, ‘why a tent?’ I didn’t realize until my Bible study today that man’s conception of a tent transcends time and culture. We can benefit from the fact that the word ‘dwelt’ (from the John 1:14 verse) in the Greek means; to tabernacle, or ‘tent’ with, so in both the Old and the New Testaments we have this depiction of Jesus tenting among us—one prophetic and one fulfilled. But there’s more…

The Tabernacle was an impermanent, wilderness quarters, humble outwardly, but inwardly ornate. It was both God’s dwelling place and meeting place among men. In obvious parallelism Jesus was among us temporarily in this our wasteland, an outwardly unassuming man, yet inwardly perfect. His name literally means, ‘God with us’ and He is the sole intermediary between us and the Father. His Word bears witness to these facts—mull over this biblical anthology:

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel… He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him…Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head…let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them… For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus…He who walks in a perfect way, He shall serve me… Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 53:2; Matthew 8:20; Exodus 25:8; 1Timothy 2:5; Psalms 101:6b

The Wood

And you shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and shall make on it a molding of gold all around. Exodus 25:11

Wood in the Bible often speaks to our flesh; the pulpy part of our existence and gold speaks of deity. If the Ark is a picture of Jesus Christ (and it is), then we have in it a depiction of a man covered in deity—there is only One who fits that description. The fact that the acacia tree has thorns and its sap is used medicinally to heal can only add more detail to the portrait.

The Good News

And you shall put into the ark the Testimony which I will give you. You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two and a half cubits shall be its length and a cubit and a half its width. Exodus 25:16-17

The Testimony spoken of here is the Law; the Ten Commandments. God directs Moses to put them inside the Ark. The covering; the ‘Mercy Seat’ is not embellished timber this time, but pure gold. See the picture—the Law is covered by mercy. We are not in the Law, but in Christ. The Law is covered by Jesus and if we are in Him we robed in His righteousness, not by any effort on our part, but by the work He has done.

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness…For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Isaiah 61:10a and Ephesians 2:8-9

Is there any significance in knowing these things? Absolutely. Once it is understood that the entire Bible, both Old Testament and New, point directly to Jesus Christ, we are better equipped to understand and share that which we believe and in Whom we profess our faith.

You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. John 5:39

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Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” Exodus 20:19It Doesn’t Make Any Sense

The nation of Israel has just beheld the most magnificent, the most incredible, the most extravagant, divine display the world has ever seen and their reaction is bizarre to say the least. “Moses, ” they basically said, “God was cool and all that, but next time we would prefer to speak with you.” What? Did we hear them correctly? We cannot even begin to imagine such a peculiar scenario…Or can we?

I Don’t Wanna Die

Therein lies Israel’s reasoning. It was not God’s audible voice that scared them to death, but rather the things He had to say—God had given them the Law; the Ten Commandments. The very moment it was heard every person was convicted by their sin—the Law had done exactly what it was designed to do. God might as well have held up a huge mirror and said, “Lookie here…this is what a sinner looks like.” In light of that, we can scarcely blame Israel for not wanting to see that reflection; no wonder they would rather speak with Moses than God.

Nothing Has Changed

Our similarity to Israel in this regard is predictable. Too many Christians are attending feel-good churches, led by feel-good pastors, who only talk about a feel-good Jesus, just so they might feel better about themselves. Teachings regarding sin, separation, and hell can only lead to one place inevitably: ‘dying-to-self’ and nobody wants to go there, “lest we die.” Somewhere we have latched onto the false notion that if we hide from God we are somehow hidden from Him—an inane gesture on our part. The truth of the matter is that the ruse is ours alone–God cannot be deceived.

For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. Romans 8:13

The Whole Story

The standard reflected by God’s Law exposes every man for the sinner he truly is and avoiding it or God cannot negate that reality–evasion only prevents us from learning the solution to our sin problem—the solution found in Christ Jesus alone. Ironically, it is in our turning away from God that a person truly dies.

Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Galatians 3:24

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And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning…Exodus 19:11 + 16Feast of Pentecost

I copied this blurb from a website called JewFAQ Blog, more specifically from a page on the site referred to as ‘Judaism 100.’ I cannot attest to its accuracy, but needless to say I found it interesting.

Shavu’ot, the Festival of Weeks (*Feast of Pentecost), is the second of the three major festivals…Historically, it celebrates the giving of the Torah (the Law) at Mount Sinai…Passover freed us physically from bondage, but the giving of the Torah on Shavu’ot redeemed us spiritually from our bondage to idolatry and immorality. Shavu’ot is also known as Pentecost, because it falls on the 50th day; however, Shavu’ot has no particular similarity to the Christian holiday of Pentecost, which occurs 50 days after their spring holiday.”

No Similarity?

The notion that there is no particular similarity is illogical, given the scope of the Bible in its entirety. The historical event that occurred on Mount Sinai—the giving of the Law, is a picture of what was to come in the receiving of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost in Acts chapter two. The parallels we can draw between these two events are extraordinary.

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:1-4

As we read through Acts and Exodus 19, we can see that these two events are replete with similarity. God makes an appearance at both these events and we see smoke, we see fire, we hear His voice as a loud trumpet, and (by the power of the Holy Spirit) the speaking in tongues. Did you know that the Rabbis to this very day proclaim that when God spoke on Mount Sinai He did so in seventy languages? Amazing!

However, the most significant parallel is the one where we see the most dissimilarity. It is noteworthy because in their relationship—the combining of these two historical events, we see the Gospel message come full spiral. Understand that when the Law was given at Mount Sinai it brought death, for in it was a maxim that no man could achieve.

So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And about three thousand men of the people fell that day. Exodus 32:28

But in the receiving of Christ Jesus, the yoke of the Law was broken and those who believe have life everlasting.

Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. Acts 2:41

When the Law came down off the mountain, three thousand perished, but on the day the Holy Spirit came upon Christ’s disciples, about three thousand lived like they have never lived before! The Law destroys and Jesus saves—the contrast of those certainties binds these accounts not as one, but as an illustration pointing towards the redemptive course found in Christ alone. It is not a circle we navigate, but rather an escalating spiritual-spiral we traverse, one that takes us past places we have seen while simultaneously towards what lingers ahead.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

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Then all the congregation of the children of Israel set out on their journey from the Wilderness of Sin, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped in Rephidim; but there was no water for the people to drink. Exodus 17:1

The Feast of Tabernacles

The Feast of Tabernacles is a seven day celebration which commemorates Israel’s flight from Egypt and their subsequent forty year wilderness adventure. The truth of the matter is that God only intended this journey to last about one year, but because of faith-issues the mission was extended. For God, getting Israel out of Egypt was one thing, but getting Egypt out of Israel was quite another. Suffice it to say, the Lord brought Israel to seven separate campsites for the purpose of preparation and sanctification of His people.


Succoth was the first stop and where the Feast of Tabernacles gets its other name: Sukkot (or the Feast of Booths). The word Succoth could be defined as ‘tent-town’ and for Israel the lesson of this place was that we are just visitors to this planet. The Bible reminds us that we are as sojourners and pilgrims, just passing through this world; pictured here by Egypt. In this our journey our Lord would remind us to maintain our Heavenly focus.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:33


Etham was stop number two and it was located on the edge of the wilderness. It was an unwelcoming place, but the name Etham would remind them that God was with them. It was in this place God provided His guidance in the form of a pillar of cloud and one of fire that would safely lead them along the path

For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5b

Pi Hahiroth

Pi Hahiroth was essentially that place between a rock and a hard place; the two mountains of Migdol and Baal Zephon. With the Red Sea at their back, Israel was a vulnerable target for the pursing Egyptian army. The Lord purposely situated them in this place so that His power and His deity could be displayed for the entire world to see. The lesson of this campsite is that it has never been about us, but about Him. Believe it or not, God loves the Egyptian and would rather he be saved than destroyed

…For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13


Marah was the place on the east side of the Red Sea where Israel found bitter water. God used this place to demonstrate His miraculous provision and by so doing gave us a picture of Christ’s work on the cross. The message is found in our acceptance of His provision found in His Son Jesus, for to the degree we accept what He has finished on the cross is to the same degree we will lack bitterness in our faith journey.

“Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” Luke 8:48


Elim means mighty one and it is an oasis and a place of refreshment. The twelve wells and seventy palms speak to the Good News message and Christian service. In a peculiar yet godly way, as we share that which we have freely received there is a fulfilling replenishment. This is a work only our God can and will do—in giving we get back.

Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38


The Wilderness of Sin campsite was one of murmuring and dissension. In response God rained down upon His people manna so that no man had lack. Similarly, those who by faith have accepted Jesus Christ as the bread of life find satisfaction. In our flesh our tendency is to look back towards our worldly past and see it in a splendor that actually never was; in reality it was a desolate place. In our consumption of Christ Jesus we know contentment and have life.

For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. , John 6:33


Rephidim was to be the seventh and last campsite for Israel and it was in fact a rest spot; in many ways a picture of our Sabbath day of rest. No water was found here and God brings us to such a place so that we might thirst more for Him. It was here that God gave us a wonderful picture of Jesus our Rock. Like this rock in Horeb, our Rock Jesus was also beaten and from His side the water flowed. The Lord brings us to this place of craving so that we might more fully understand the Sacrifice that was made on our behalf.

Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:1-4

Spiritual Dryness

The truth is that we all find ourselves in one of these campsites at one time or another; after all we are pilgrims and sojourners. Identifying the camp we are in will better assist us in your spiritual journey. The worst thing to do is to leave the campgrounds before we are led out. The best thing to do is to relax and enjoy the lesson God has prepared for you, And oh yes–take notes.

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And they journeyed from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came to the Wilderness of Sin… Exodus 16:1aAt first glance, the Wilderness of Sin, the sixth campsite (in a series of seven the Lord will bring Israel) seems like a rotten place, but in reality it is a magnificent vista. It is a blessed location because it is here God gives His people the choice to receive provision. It is in Sin they were provided sustenance, for there they were given manna. And what seems like a coincidental play on words, it is in sin we too are given a comparable choice.

What is it?

“What is it?” is the literal translation of the word manna; for to Israel it was the most bizarre concoction they had ever seen or partaken of. The Bible will tell us that this manna was merely a picture of what was to come in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Isn’t it peculiar that, “What is it?” is the same query of the world today regarding our Jesus and His Word.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

The parallels between Jesus (the bread of life) and manna are wonderful. The Exodus text provides a basic prescription for the believer to follow in order that a meaningful, godly existence can be experienced—a life grounded in the word of God. And just to be certain that we’re on the same page, Jesus and the Word of God are synonymous.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. John 1:1-2

I find it very interesting to note that before Israel had partaken of the manna (a picture of His Word), they were delusional. In Exodus 16:3 they were quoted that (while in Egypt) they had pots of meat and bellies full of bread. In their murmuring they had forgotten that they were abused and tormented slaves in Egypt. However, once the manna was provided and they consumed it in the prescribed manner, their mutinous fantasies ceased.

The Lord God has given Me The tongue of the learned, That I should know how to speak A word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear To hear as the learned. The Lord God has opened My ear; And I was not rebellious, Nor did I turn away. Isaiah 50:4-5

The verse from Isaiah hints that morning is the best time to consume God’s word. As the day passes and life’s concerns begin to take priority, the opportunities to absorb the Word fall away. The Exodus passage reminds us that as the sun rises higher in the sky, the manna would melt away. The same is true for our opportunity to be sated with the Lord’s bread.

And Moses said, “Let no one leave any of it till morning.” Notwithstanding they did not heed Moses. But some of them left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them. Exodus 16:19-20

Finally, there is a tendency for the Christian to hoard God’s word, whether it is the person who gains knowledge for knowledge’s sake or the believer who hops from one mountain-top experience to another. The reality is that what God freely gives is not for our nourishment alone, but for His glory ultimately. If we greedily consume without sharing what we have received, we become fat and lazy blessers of ourselves. Under these circumstances we soon discover that what is gathered soon rots. Like an un-picked apple, it eventually falls pointlessly to the ground. To avoid this regretful occurrence, God tells us we should gather our bread daily and use it up, guided by His Spirit, by day’s end.

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And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” And the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. Exodus 14:13-15God, Aren’t You Paying Attention?

To some this is an unusual passage of scripture. It begins unmistakably with Moses speaking directly to the people; encouraging them not in themselves, but in the Lord. That is a good thing, right? So why (some might ask) does God then say to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me?”  if it is evident that he was speaking to the people?

The Big Cover-up

Moses is guilty of something all Christians do at one time or another—he is talking boldly to cover-up the fact that he does not believe what he is saying. For all intents and purposes Moses said to Israel, “Be strong in the Lord, ” but to himself he muttered, “God, where are you?” What makes the scenario even more peculiar is that Moses probably did not realize his own doubt and faithlessness. Whether it was consciously or unconsciously, his authoritative proclamation to Israel merely served to cloak the reservation harbored in his own heart.

Only God

…For You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men. 1 Kings 8:39b

The Exodus account serves to remind us that we (like Moses) are incapable of identifying our own heart defects and that in order to see them God’s eyes are required. Those who think they know their own heart are only deceiving themselves and are placing barriers in the path of their own spiritual development. It should be our habit to persistently and continually ask the Lord to search our hearts.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. Psalms 139:23-24

Moses could have fussed and debated with God at this point, “Father, you know I trust you and have no doubt. Didn’t you just hear what I said to Your people?” But rather Moses chose to accept God’s rebuke without quarrel and simply chose to obey the Father’s directive. His obedience served as his confession.

But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. Exodus 14:16

We know what occurred next (the Red Sea is parted and Israel safely crosses over), but in this verse we see a specific application for today’s church as it pertains to our heart issues. The rod in the passage speaks to the measure of authority each believer has received from God, a ‘stretched-out hand’ to our obedience, and ‘the water’ (throughout the Bible) speaks to the Word of God. We can discern our hearts and God’s plan when in His authority and in our obedience, we accurately divide His Word. In so doing the Father will faithfully and powerfully reveal Him self.

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

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