Exodus 16-17

Sunday Evening Bible Study

March 30, 1997


Four over four hundred years, the descendants of Israel have been in Egypt.

Now, as a nation of slaves, God has heard their cry for deliverance, and sent a reluctant man, Moses, to deliver them.

The long, hard process of deliverance began through the working of miracles.

After bringing ten different plagues on the land, the Egyptians finally drove the Israelites out of the land, as their own first born sons lay dead in their houses.

Yet once Pharaoh drove the Israelites away from him, he decided he wanted them back, and began to pursue them with his chariots.

God led the Israelites into a place where they were trapped by Pharaoh's chariots, with their back to the Red Sea.

When all seemed lost, God opened up the Red Sea, allowing the Israelites to go across on dry land, and then to top it off, , drowning the Egyptian army as the sea closed back up.


Joey and his Sunday School lesson....

Nine year old Joey, was asked by his mother what he had learned in Sunday school.

"Well, Mom, our teacher told us how God sent Moses behind enemy lines on a rescue mission to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. When he got to the Red Sea, he had his engineers build a pontoon bridge and all the people walked across safely. Then he used his walkie - talkie to radio headquarters for reinforcements. They sent bombers to blow up the bridge and all the Israelites were saved."

"Now, Joey, is that really what your teacher taught you?" his mother asked. "Well, no, Mom. But if I told it the way the teacher did, you'd never believe it!"

Exodus 16

:1 the wilderness of Sin

Preachers like to talk about this, and joke about them being in "sin", but keep in mind, there's a need to translate from Hebrew into English.

Here, the word "sin" (pronounced "seen") is a Hebrew word, meaning "thorn" or "clay"

:2 the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured

murmur - luwn - to grumble, complain, murmur

As we're going to see, this is one of the things that the Israelites did over and over again while they wandered in the wilderness.

Concerning the time in the wilderness, Paul wrote:

(1 Cor 10:5-13 KJV) But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. {6} Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. {7} Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. {8} Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. {9} Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. {10} Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. {11} Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. {12} Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. {13} There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

God takes our grumbling and murmuring seriously.

It demonstrates that we don't trust Him.

It's one thing to be aware of your need, and to cry out to God.

It's another to be complaining about it.

:3 in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots

Again, beware of looking back to the "good old days".

We have "selective" memory, and tend to only remember the good times, and forget what it was like living under slavery to Pharaoh.

The danger of looking back at the old life.

:3 when we did eat bread to the full

You have to admit, it would be a logistical nightmare to follow two million people through a desert, feeding them!

:4 that I may prove

God wants to see how obedient they are going to be.

:5 sixth day

So the people won't have to work on the Sabbath, they will be able to take twice as much of this bread, and eat leftovers on Saturdays.

:9 he hath heard your murmurings

God even hears our complaints. Hmmm.

I've heard it said by some that God only hears our prayers when we pray perfectly according to His standards.

Sometimes we tend to think that all the junk gets filtered out before it reaches God.

We probably get that idea from the verses that talk about how our sins separate us from God (like Ps. 66:18), and there is truth to this, to a point.


God even hears imperfect prayers.

As you'll notice, He even answers them sometimes.

That's not to say that it's okay to murmur.

Just be careful about putting God in a box and thinking that He's going to follow your little rules. He's bigger than any box we might put Him in.

:14 hoar frost

NIV - thin flakes like frost

:15 It is manna

better translated, "What is it?" (NIV)

They stood around and looked at each other and said, "What is it?"

Some feel that this is the general idea of what "manna" means.

Others feel that it is related to the word "grace", or "gift".

:16 an omer

a dry measure of 1/10 ephah (about 2 liters)

:20 it bred worms, and stank:


Spiritual "leftovers" stink.

If you think you can get by with what you heard from the Lord a year ago, forget it.

You need to receive from the Lord EVERY DAY! Fresh and new.

:21 they gathered it every morning

What a picture of our quiet times in the morning!

Every day, before the sun gets hot, spending time gathering today's "Manna".

Everyday asking the Lord "What is it" for today?


Early with the Lord.

I know I'm going to probably hurt some feelings, but I can't help but see a pattern in the Scripture, a pattern of God speaking to people early in the morning.

It's not that God doesn't speak later in the day, it's just that there's a pattern in Scripture.

Jer 7:25 Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them:

Jer 25:4 And the LORD hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear.

Looking at the life of Jesus:

Mr 1:35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

Maybe the whole point is to simply give God the first part of your day, whenever that starts!

:26 Six days ye shall gather it

God promised to give them enough on the sixth day to carry them over on the Sabbath day, without working for it.


Where God guides, God provides.

One of Pastor Chuck's famous sayings.

If God has the idea that we should rest on the Sabbath, then God will provide for us to do it.

And just watch Him do it, too.

:27 but they found none

Have you ever felt as if God was telling you to not do a particular thing, but you decide you're going to do it anyway?

And then you find that it was nothing but a waste of time, that there was nothing there for you?


Disobedience is frustrating!

It's much easier to float downstream, in the current of God's Spirit, than to try and swim upstream, against what God is leading you to do.

:34 Aaron laid it up before the Testimony

This would be in the future, since they haven't even built the Ark of the Covenant, let alone even gotten the tablets of the testimony from God.

A pot full of manna would be kept either before, or inside the Ark of the Covenant, as a reminder of how God had provided for them in the wilderness.


Remember God's provision.

Some of us have seen how God has provided wonderfully for us, even in the hardest of times.

Yet we tend to forget if we're not careful.

By Solomon's day, the pot of manna had disappeared.

(2 Chr 5:10 KJV) There was nothing in the ark save the two tables which Moses put therein at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of Egypt.

:35 until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan

When they entered Canaan, the manna ceased.


God's provision can change.

While in the wilderness, the people had no way of providing for themselves, so God provided manna.

When they get to the Promised Land, they'll be able to work, and so that's how God will provide for them.

Exodus 17

:2 chide

riyb - to strive, contend

They started fighting and arguing with Moses over the water situation.

I wonder if it ever occurred to the people to even think about asking God for help?

:6 the rock in Horeb;

Horeb is another name for Mount Sinai.

The people have arrived at the place where Moses is going to receive the ten commandments (coming in chapter 20)

:6 thou shalt smite the rock

Moses is told to take his famous staff, and go up to this big rock and hit the rock with the staff, making water come out of the rock.

Sounds simple enough.

There's actually more here than meets the eye.

Paul tells us that the "rock" was Christ:

(1 Cor 10:4 KJV) And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

And here Moses is told to "smite" the rock, and water will come out.

The idea is that Jesus would be "smitten" for our sins, and produce spiritual refreshment for us.

Later, Moses will be told to "speak to" the rock, and water will come out.

After Jesus died for us, all a person has to do is believe, to "speak to" the rock, to enjoy spiritual refreshment.

The only problem is, Moses is going to disobey the Lord and smite the rock a second time, blowing the illustration.

God's not going to be very happy about that.

:7 Massah, and Meribah,

The place had two different names.

Massah = "temptation"

Meribah = "strife" or "contention"


Don't harden your heart, worship instead.

There's a special Psalm that relates to this incident.

(Psa 95 KJV) O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. {2} Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. {3} For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. {4} In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. {5} The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. {6} O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. {7} For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, {8} Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: {9} When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. {10} Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: {11} Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.

Verse 8 can and should read:

(Psa 95:8 NASB) Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, As in the day of Massah in the wilderness;

We have a choice, hardening our hearts and testing the Lord, or yielding to Him and worshipping Him.

:8 Amalek

Amalek = "dweller in a valley"

These were wandering, nomadic people who lived in the desert south of Canaan (1Sam.15:7; 27:8), being descendants of Esau (Gen.36:12).

Some have suggested that Amalek is an excellent picture of the flesh.

They are at least not a very nice people.

Note that the Amalekites have attacked Israel first.

:9 Joshua

This is the same Joshua that will one day lead the conquest of the Promised Land.

This is just early ministry training for him.

:11 when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed

You can look at this as some sort of a magic thing.

But it's really a picture of prayer.

Whenever Moses lifts his hands in prayer, the battle is leaning towards the Israelites.


Our spiritual walk affects our physical life.

It seems that we spend so much time worrying about the things we can see with our eyes.

When the real battle is being won or lost in prayer.

I see it constantly in our own church.

The more we get people involved in prayer, the greater the work is.

That's why it's so important to me that we have people in our "prayer covering" ministry, praying while I'm preaching.

Paul said:

(Eph 6:12 KJV) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

The real battle is on our knees.

:12 Moses' hands were heavy

Mathew Henry said: We do not find that Joshua's hands were heavy in fighting, but Moses' hands were heavy in praying; the more spiritual any service is, the more apt we are to fail and flag in it.

It's not easy to fight a spiritual battle.

In many ways, it would be a lot easier working at McDonnell Douglas.

:12 Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands

Moses couldn't do it alone.

He needed help.


Support one another.

There are times when we're going to see other people faltering in the warfare.

Sit them down on the Rock.

Hold up their hands.

Encourage one another.

I need your support.

:15 Jehovahnissi

Jehovah-nissi = "Jehovah is my banner"

It's the idea the Yahweh is our "rallying point", He's the one we gather around, He's the one we fight for, He's the one who brings the victory.

:16 the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation

In a few hundred years, God is going to give a command to King Saul to wipe out the Amalekites -

(1 Sam 15:2 KJV) Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.

Saul isn't going to take God's command too seriously, and that's going to cost him his kingdom.

To obey is better than sacrifice.