Warfare and Worship

What can you do when the evil one stirs up persecution against the church? How do you handle it when the battle against your own sin seems to be faltering? Exodus 17:8-16 is more than just a snippet of Israelite history focusing on an obscure battle.

The battle is the Lord’s. The Amalekite attack was not just against Israel, but against the Lord himself. The people had just left Egypt, where they had been an enslaved nation. They were untrained for war. The Amalekites were a nomadic people, descendants of Esau, living to the south of the promised land. They attack from the rear, Deuteronomy 25:17-19. Their attack is a continuation of the plan of Pharaoh to destroy the Israelites. Moses has Joshua select men to fight, and sends them out to defend the people of Israel. Continue reading “Warfare and Worship”

Water from the Rock

Have you ever been really thirsty? You can appreciate the need the people of Israel had in Exodus 17:1-7—though not how they dealt with that need.

Don’t test God! Do not try to make God fit your expectations. Notice in Exodus 15:22-27, how quickly the people began to grumble and complain. They had just witnessed the powerful displays of God in the plagues against Egypt, through which they had been delivered. The song of Exodus 15 was almost still echoing in their ears when they began to complain against Moses because of their thirst. The giving of manna is bracketed by complaints about thirst. In Exodus 17 it is not just grumbling, which is an expression of lack of trust, but a quarrel, almost a legal dispute, focusing on Moses, but on him as God’s representative. It is rebellion against God. It is ultimately a demand that God meet their expectations. That is a pattern of thinking into which we easily fall. “In the story of the faultfinding when the people ran short of water, it was not the Lord who put the people to the test. In fact, it was just the other way around. Israel was testing the Lord, saying: ‘Is the Lord in our midst or not?’ This challenge was to force the Lord to show His love in the way they saw fit. Such a challenge was born of unbelief, not faith.” (S. G. DeGraaf, Promise and Deliverance, Vol. 1, p. 288). Continue reading “Water from the Rock”

The ‘What Is It?’ Diet: Food and Rest

What do you need to stay healthy? A good diet and rest. Exodus 16 is not about weight loss or building muscular strength, but rather about your relationship with your God.

Feed on the bread from heaven. God does give you your daily bread. The waters of the sea had barely closed over their enemies when God’s people started complaining. One essential in short supply was water, but here in Exodus 16 they complain about lack of food, even wishing they could have stayed in Egypt to die. The grumbling was heard, not just by Moses and Aaron, but by the Lord, whose glory was revealed in the cloud. That night the Lord sent quail, satisfying the craving for meat. In the morning he gave a strange flaky substance on the ground, causing the people to ask, “What is it?” (or manna).There have been a variety of attempts to explain a source for the food, but remember that the nation numbered approximately two million people. This food continued to be provided, day after day, for 40 years, until the people had entered the promised land. God is making clear that he graciously (in the face of grumbling) is concerned for and is meeting the needs of his people. God is concerned about all of our needs, physical as well as spiritual. Some 1,500 years later Jesus would teach us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” You don’t go outside each morning and gather up some “what is it” food, but no less than Israel God is providing for you. Like Israel, he is testing you as to whether you will depend upon him for everything you need. Continue reading “The ‘What Is It?’ Diet: Food and Rest”