Exodus 15:22-16:9

February 5, 2018

“Prone to wander, Lord I feel it.


Prone to leave the God I love.” 


I am convinced those two lines in “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” hold about 99% of the enduring attraction of the song. And praise the Risen Lord Jesus for those lines because they never lose their freshness. We might turn our eyes to Hebrews 10, and humbly revel in the glory of Jesus’s once-for-all atoning death. No sooner do we confess and repent of one sin than we turn and commit another act of rebellion against the Creator. 


We often fall into the trap of if-I-could-just. 


If I could just have seen one of Jesus’s miracles. If I could just have been with Jesus when he walked on Earth.  If I could just see an angel. If I could just be healed of this sickness. If I could just have God save me from my financial state.


Then I would never doubt. 


“If I could just” at best comes from a heart of spiritual immaturity, and at worst, it seeps out of the mouth of the devil’s minions as they ooze poison into the ears. 


Scripture tells us of people who saw the power of God in such terrible and awesome display and still disbelieved. In the Exodus, God saved the children of Israel and let loose his judgment on their murderers and enslavers. He accomplished salvation and took his vengeance. The horse and the rider he hurled into the sea. Sadly, as a response, the redeemed of the Lord went out and complained despondently of God’s apparent lack of provision only three days later.


Three days into the wilderness certainly leaves a man, a woman, a nation hungry and thirsty. Have you ever hiked a trail and found yourself virtually inhaling your next meal? Human metabolism works in such ways, and these people constitute no exception human need and even weakness. Their bodies protested of hunger and thirst perhaps like most in the West never experience. The text never pronounces their predicament unchallenging. 


Yet, these remain the same people who just crossed the dry land where sea resided. They possessed a visible manifestation of God. God with them, fighting for them, and their first reaction at genuine hardship reveals the weakness of their trust in God. Still, God provides. Why does he direct Moses to throw a tree into the bitter water? As an erudite and subtle theologian, I must say: because he chooses to operate this way at this time. Perhaps it communicated something to the original readers of Exodus or to the people there with Moses that it does not to us. We do not miss anything—God provided for his people with a small miracle even after their weakness following one of his grandest displays of power in all of Scripture.


Still later, the people grumble again about lack of food, returning to the false notion of easy days in their enslavement. And God provides still.


The boundless love of God goes out to these weak people. 


Had God brought them out of Egyptian slavery, through the Red Sea, and onto the wilderness road to the Promised Land to starve and parch them to death? Had he spoken those words to Moses for Aaron to repeat to the people? How quickly did they forget what they had just seen? 


Christian, God did not save you to sell you out. When you repented and believed, he did not twist his mustache waiting for the day to leave you and forsake you. Yet, do we not see ourselves in the people of the Exodus? 


A pagan narrative exists, and it infects Christian thinking right into its core. The narrative of the trickster power, the one who reinterprets requests to the detriment of its devotees, the narrative of the fickle and capricious spirits or gods who abandon their people at a random infraction, does not exist in Scripture. God endures his people’s weakness; he remains patient with them. He carries on in his purposes. Disciple of Jesus, you have a merciful and faithful high priest who understands thirst, hunger, want of shelter, and all other human needs. He underwent temptation by Satan himself. Has he does these things that you would have no provision in your time of need? Has he gone to such lengths to save you only to discard you like dirty paper? 


In the provision of sustenance in the desert, see the shadow of the coming Lord Jesus.


The cross is sufficient. Jesus is enough. God has and will provide.


Even for you. 

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