miracles of the wilderness journey – manna from heaven – water from rock

Topic: The Miracles of the Wilderness Journey. Manna from Heaven. Water From Rock. Worship. Category: Power> The Miracles of the Wilderness Journey>
Bible Scriptures: Exodus 16:1-10, Exodus 16:13-15, Exodus 16:31-32 and Exodus 17:1-7.

Listen to the full sermon.


Following on from last week’s episode [Miracles of the Wilderness Journey – Death to Life] we will continue on through the wilderness journey with the Eternal One and the Ancient Israelites. After the Eternal One divided the waters to create a pathway to freedom for the Ancient Israelites, they journeyed to the wilderness of Shur. It was there that the Eternal One turned bitter waters of death into sweet waters of life. 

the wilderness journey

The Ancient Israelites continued their journey to another part of the wilderness. To a part of the wilderness called the Wilderness of Sin. 

Exodus 16:1-3 And they journeyed from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came to the Wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they departed from the land of Egypt. Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

They Ancient Israelites again lament, ‘Oh, that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt…’  They express their desire for the Eternal One to have killed them back in Egypt. This was an extraordinary statement. 

For it was the judgment brought upon the gods of Egypt, that resulted in the plagues and death in Egypt. The Eternal One passed through the land. His presence, signs and wonders exposed the lie of the gods of Egypt. 

The Eternal One made His mighty power known to Pharaoh and the Egyptians and Moses and the Ancient Israelites. Both the Ancient Israelites and the Egyptians had free choice. Either to remain under the judgement of the gods of Egypt or to come out of it. 

free choice

The Ancient Israelites at that moment in time chose to sacrifice a lamb and paint their doorposts with its blood. As a result the angel of death saw the blood and passed over them. They came out from under the judgement of the Egyptian gods. 

Now not long after that last night in Egypt, the Ancient Israelites had made a very different choice. They are saying they would rather have given their allegiance to the gods of Egypt and stayed under their judgement which resulted in death, than be with the Eternal One in the wilderness. 

This is the exact opposite to Moses’ choice. He gave up his Egyptian royal privileges, having been adopted into Pharaoh’s family, to be with the Eternal One in the wilderness. 

The miracles of the wilderness journey are all about allegiance. The Eternal One had already expose the deceptions of the gods of Egypt and the judgement that was upon them. As He continues to journey with Moses and the Ancient Israelites through the wilderness, the Eternal One reveals who He is. 

Yet out of His great love he gives each one free choice. The choice of death or life in whom or what we worship and give our spiritual allegiance to. 

death or life?

Exodus 16:4-8 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not. And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.” Then Moses and Aaron said to all the children of Israel, “At evening you shall know that the LORD has brought you out of the land of Egypt. And in the morning you shall see the glory of the LORD; for He hears your complaints against the LORD. But what are we, that you complain against us?” Also Moses said, “This shall be seen when the LORD gives you meat to eat in the evening, and in the morning bread to the full; for the LORD hears your complaints which you make against Him. And what are we? Your complaints are not against us but against the LORD.”

Again the Eternal One in His amazing grace and unending love hears their cries. He is with the Ancient Israelites  and in their complaining He still provides for them. 

In Moses’ response to the cries of the Ancient Israelites, he emphasises that both he and Aaron are ordinary people, with an extraordinary God. Reminding the Ancient Israelites that is the Eternal One who heard their cries for deliverance them from slavery to the Egyptians. It is the Eternal One who divided the waters creating a pathway for them to walk right through. Through His great love and concern for them, the Eternal One made the bitter waters sweet.

to know Him

Even though the Ancient Israelites had seen, experienced and benefited from all the miracles of the Eternal One, they still do not know who He is.

The text states, ‘And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.’

As the Eternal One knows all things He doesn’t need to test or prove anything or anyone. However the Eternal One out of His great love will prove to the Ancient Israelites that He is the one who brought them out of the land of Egypt. He is the one who heard their cries and He is the one who delivered them. The Eternal One knows the deceptions of their hearts. It is for the Ancient Israelites to choose whom they will worship. 

Even in their lament, complaints and false accusations against the Eternal One, He is there with them. Not only is He there with them, but He will reveal His glory to them. He will do this in an intimate and personal way. It will be in a way they can see the unseen and know and understand and reveal the deceptions of their own hearts.

The Eternal One reveals His glory to them in a way each one will understand. He does all this because He so loves. It is the Eternal One’s desire that all may know Him and choose to receive life in Him. 

from slavery to freedom

The Ancient Israelites shall know who it is who delivered them from slavery and brought them to freedom. 

Exodus 16:9-10 Then Moses spoke to Aaron, “Say to all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before the LORD, for He has heard your complaints.’ ” Now it came to pass, as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud.

The Eternal One revealed His glory with His presence in the cloud. He was there with them. Desiring they come close so that He can show them His glory. For the Eternal one is intimate and personal.

Exodus 16:13-15 So it was that quail came up at evening and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay all around the camp. And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground. So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat.

Exodus 16:31-32 And the house of Israel called its name Manna. And it was like white coriander seed, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. Then Moses said, “This is the thing which the LORD has commanded: ‘Fill an omer with it, to be kept for your generations, that they may see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.’ ”

faithful and true

So it was. The Eternal One did just what he said He would do. That is because He is faithful and true. He not only was there with them in their grumbling but provided sustenance for them. A bread like no other. It was sweet, like wafers made of honey. Manna from heaven that became a testimony of who the Eternal One is and all He had done for them. A testimony to this day.

Thousands of centuries later when Jesus became human, He said to His disciples. ‘When you pray to our Father in heaven pray ‘Give us this day our daily bread…’ In praying this Jesus is saying remember that time in history. When the Eternal One, our Father in heaven, provided for the Ancient Israelites, even when they did not know Him. He was there with them in their rebellion. He did it all because He so loves, so that they and the world may know Him. The one true God who brings salvation and life, healing and deliverance, freedom and identity.

Let us continue on with the Eternal One and His journey with the Ancient Israelites and the miracles of the wilderness journey.

the miracle of water from a rock

Exodus 17:1-7 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. Therefore the people contended with Moses, and said, “Give us water, that we may drink.”

So Moses said to them, “Why do you contend with me? Why do you tempt the LORD?” And the people thirsted there for water, and the people complained against Moses, and said, “Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?”

So Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me!”And the LORD said to Moses, “Go on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. Also take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.”

And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. So he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the contention of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?”

The Ancient Israelites had camped where there was no water for them to drink. Again they accuse Moses and ultimately the Eternal One of bringing them out of Egypt with the motive of killing them. Moses cries out, ‘What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me!’ 

God’s love

The Eternal Ones’ response is full of love and concern for all the people, including Moses. This is such a powerful moment.

In amongst the chaos and conflict the Eternal One speaks to Moses. The Eternal One brings order and unity and wisdom and grace. He instructs Moses that together with some of the elders of Israel, Moses is to take his rod and go ahead of the Ancient Israelites. For Moses to take his rod is significant. It is his rod which the Eternal One had anointed. God is using Moses’ rod like a royal sceptre. An emblem of identity, authority and sovereignty. 

In anointing Moses’ rod the Eternal One has identified himself with Moses. Moses has given his total allegiance and life to the Eternal One. He worships only Him. 

The Eternal One is faithful and true. He will stand before Moses on the rock in Herob. At that very moment when Moses is to strike the rock with his rod that the Eternal One anointed, the Eternal One will bring water out from the rock for the people to drink. 

So Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. The Eternal One affirmed Moses in the sight of the elders of Israel and at the same time provided water for the Ancient Israelites. But most of all, the one thing, the only thing for as far as Moses was concerned, the Eternal One is there with them. Not only there with them but that He is faithful to them. 

The Eternal One is the only one who brings salvation and freedom, life and nourishment, refreshing and sustenance. For He is the Eternal One.


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