In the desert

Sat, 08/03/2013 - 8:37am

When did God provide what the Israelites needed in the desert, food and water?

Ex. 15:22-25 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.[a]) 24 So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?” 25 Then Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became fit to drink.

And the manna and quail-

Ex. 16:1-5  The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. 2 In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” 4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. 5 On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.”

And then water from the rock-

Ex. 17: 1-7  The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?” 3 But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?” 4 Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.” 5 The Lord answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 And he called the place Massah[a] and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

It struck me that the Lord God or Moses did not move to help the people until they were out of food, hungry, out of water and grumbling about not having any.  Both the Lord and Moses could see the jars were getting low and bags of food diminishing.  Moses himself had to be getting hungry and thirsty so why didn't Moses ask God or why didn't the Lord just provide food and water as supplies ran low?

God, in that day, was out to prove to His people that He was God and Lord over the whole earth and He alone was sufficient to supply all their needs.  There were many false gods being lifted up and worshipped by even the Israelites in Egypt before they were led out by Moses and God's purpose was to, beyond a shadow of a doubt, prove the He was the only and true God and He did it in miraculous ways.

Observations:

God didn't provide water or food until Moses asked.

God provided what was needed as it was needed, not before.

God provided what was needed for the day, not in abundance so that the people would trust the surplus but had to depend on God to provide each day (except for the Sabbath).

If the Israelites gathered more food than they needed for that day, Ex 16: 19 "Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.” 20 However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them."  

How many times have I bought more "stuff" than I need and find it going to waste on the shelf or worse yet, losing it or breaking it because I'm not as careful as I would be if I did not have an abundance of something.  We buy more than we need sometimes as security, not trusting in God's provision for us and the "manna" becomes rotten, stinky and useless.