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Israel In The Desert - Free Bible Teachings

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Israel In The Desert

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Israel In The Desert

Bible scholars estimate that some three million people followed Moses out of Egypt in the Exodus. Water and food in abundance were needed to sustain this vast multitude of people and their animals. God began to miraculously provide both water and food for Israel and having begun, He continued to supply the needs of Israel in this way until they entered Canaan, a land with abundant water and produce. Just as God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt became symbolic of this redemptive work through Christ, so God’s provisions for Israel became symbolic of the way God works to provide for His people in every time and place.

Approximately one month after their departure from Egypt the Israelites arrived in the wilderness. By this time the people had used up virtually all the food they had brought with them from Egypt. Faced with these harsh realities, the possibility that Israel would starve in the desert seemed very real.

The people, distressed by the hardships of their journey in the desert and angered by fear of starvation in the desert, directed their hostility toward Moses and Aaron, their two chief spiritual leaders. The complaining Israelites falsely accused the two of deliberately bringing them into the desert to kill them with hunger. With foolish sarcasm the complainers wished out loud that the LORD had killed them while they were still in Egypt and had plenty to eat.

God is patient and did not forsake them. Instead, He promised to supply their needs. We, like the ancient Israelites, may be too quick to jump to the conclusion that God will not help us. We should guard against rashly presuming that God deliberately seeks to make our life miserable.
Even when our circumstances seem the worst, we must learn to trust God and wait upon Him to supply our need.

Exodus 16:2-5

2And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness: 3And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full: for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger. 4Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no. 5And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.

Verse 4 says the LORD spoke to Moses revealing that bread would be rained down upon Israel daily, except on the Sabbath day. By sending bread in this way, God would test Israel to see whether they would trust Him and obey His commandments. He would give them twice as much on the sixth day in order that the seventh day might be a day of rest and worship.

Every morning after the dew had dried, every man went to gather one omer, about seven pints. Those who gathered little always had enough to last out the day and those who gathered too much, the leftover became useless.

Exodus 16:8

And Moses said, This shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD.

The manna was white and could be prepared in various ways. There was not only water and bread, but also meat was promised by the LORD. It was to be quail, the elegant game bird. Only the best for God’s chosen people! God gave them a well-balanced diet of nourishing bread, quality meat and refreshing water.

Just as God was merciful to the rebellious, unbelieving Israelites, so are the blessings of redemption to sinful men everywhere in all ages. Where God guides, He provides.

Numbers 11:7

And the manna was as coriander seed, and the colour thereof as the colour of bdellium.

Psalm 78:24, 25

24And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven. 25Man did eat angels’ food: he sent them meat to the full.

God is always concerned about more than merely giving us gifts. With the gifts He gives responsibilities and the challenge for self-discipline. He is concerned for our development and for our eternal good.

An old Jewish legend said that manna tasted like whatever you were hungry for. The Bible does not bear this out, yet is it not true in a spiritual sense of Jesus? If we need strength, He will be that to us. If we need guidance, He will be our Shepherd and Guide. If we need a friend, He is there.

Psalms 34:8

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

Through Moses, the LORD communicated to Israel the promise that they would eat meat in the evening and bread the next morning. From where would these provisions of food come? There seemed to be no source in the desert to make it possible for such a vast multitude of people to have food to eat.

By doing the impossible, by feeding the multitude in the desert, God would prove Himself to be the LORD Jehovah, the Supreme Creator.

In John 6:35-59 Jesus plainly taught that He was the Bread of Life, and like the manna, should be partaken of every day.

John 6: 35-42 (Jesus speaking)

35And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. 36But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. 37All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 41The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. 42And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?

John 6: 43-52 (Jesus speaking)

43Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. 44No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 45It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. 46Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. 47Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. 48I am that bread of life. 49Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. 52The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?

John 6:53-58 (Jesus speaking)

53Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 57As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. 58This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

John 6:59

These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.

Every man would be satisfied and spiritually nourished if he sought Christ daily in the morning and depended on Him for strength, health and sustenance throughout each day.

The story of Israel’s passage from Egypt to Palestine reads like a drama with many scenes. From one experience to another the new nation moves forward. God is never far off although His voice is raised repeatedly against unbelief and disobedience. His presence is ever with His people.

Whatever was needed, God provided. Each experience adds a new color to the developing picture of a maturing nation under the arm of God. As the drama unfolds, Christ emerges in picture form as the Son of God.

He is the Bread of Life, the Living Water and the Solid Rock. Even the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night are so suggestive of Christ who is the Light of the World.

It is important to remember, review and consider all the ways God has supplied our needs. If we are forgetful of God’s mercies, we will become ungrateful for His goodness. Always remember God is too wise to make a mistake and He is too kind to be cruel.

In spite of modern technology, famine continues to blight certain areas of our world. Far greater than man’s need for sustaining food, however, is his insatiable desire for meaning and purpose in life.

It is true. Man cannot live by bread alone; a full stomach is not enough to make a man a total person. God provided a balanced diet for Israel. Is this not suggestive of the completeness of His provisions?


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