Greetings in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Praying for you, your family, your community, and the rest of the world. Right now, the whole world is suffering because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Let’s pray together to God, Our Ever-Loving Father, His mercy and protection on all, and God’s healing on those who are infected by the Coronavirus. We all believe God’s grace and love rest on all who look upon Him every moment with faith in Him.
“I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people” (Leviticus 26:12)
The people of Israel sang praises to God. Why? They had just passed through the Red Sea, and saw the Egyptian the bodies of the Egyptians washed up on the seashore!
“I will sing to the LORD,
for he has triumphed gloriously;
he has hurled both horse and rider
into the sea.
The LORD is my strength and my song;
he has given me victory.
This is my God, and I will praise him—
my father’s God, and I will exalt him! (Exodus 15:1-2)
The people of Israel experienced God and His power that rescued them from the hand of the Egyptians that day. They were filled with awe before God and gave their highest thanksgiving to God. They put their faith in God and His servant Moses. What a day! It was the day that God had prepared and provided to His beloved children, the people of Israel.
Before crossing the Red Sea, the people of Israel truly feared the Egyptian armies quickly approaching them. No more way to go because the Red Sea blocked their way. They were trapped between the Egyptian armies and the Red Sea. All of them thought they would be killed, and believed that it was the last day on earth. One loudly complained to God, and others heard it. Then one by one, people joined the complaint. Finally, all in unison complained to God.
In addition to their sinful complaint to God, they also praised their lives in Egypt where they lived as slaves. They shouted to God,
“Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!’” (Exodus 14: 11b-12)
If you were God, how would you have responded?
The people of Israel completely forgot what God did for them. God rescued them by God’s mighty but merciful hand. God punished the Egyptians with the ten plagues with His mighty hand while protecting the people of Israel amid the treacherous ten plagues by putting them in His merciful bosom. The ten plagues were curses to the Egyptians but were blessings to the people of Israel. This is how God took care of the people of Israel, His beloved people. However, God’s love was one-sided. God’s beloved people did not remember God’s love and what God did to them to take them out of Egypt. They just complained to God.
Moses was different. He was faithful to God although all did not trust God. The number of people who were against God was about 2 million. One person vs. two million. We all have experienced the power of the mass. Very few people could resist the pressure of the mass. Moses did not give in to the power of the two million, but he stood alone faithfully while firmly trusting God. Moses prayed fervently to God, and God answered. God asked Moses to raise his hand. Although his hand was so tiny compared to the endlessly vast Red Sea, Moses raised his hand in faith. Then God answered. God did what nobody ever dreamed of — splitting the Red Sea and opening up a way through the Red Sea. Then God let the people of Israel walk on dry ground to the other side of the Red Sea. The Egyptian armies also got into the Red Sea as they were chasing the people of Israel, but soon they were buried deep into the Red Sea like a rock as God made the Red Sea returned to where it was.
By the way, had the people of Israel passed through the Red Sea because they faithfully trusted God? No. It was God’s mercy. Spiritually speaking, God made them born again by passing through the Red Sea. The old selves were gone, and they became a new creation in God. All of the complaints and their sinful praises from their mouths were not even remembered by God. Instead, God led them through the Red Sea, which was God’s grace. God was faithful although the people of Israel were not.
God’s faithfulness was tested again by the people of Israel just three days later. The people of Israel complained again because they could not find water to drink. After the three day’s journey through the wilderness, they finally found an oasis, but the water of the oasis was too bitter to drink. The water of the oasis looked like giving them what they wanted, but it was not. The water from the oasis was bitter and utterly useless.
How many times have we chased down something that would provide the water that we craved for, but when we actually found the water, was it too bitter to drink? We ran to the oasis to drink the water from the oasis. However, the water in the oasis made our lives even more bitter than before as we drank the water of the oasis. Then how have we responded? What did we say to God? Did we raise our fists to God and complain? Or like Moses, did we pray to God and trust Him?
God has no rotating shadow. We have our own shadow that rotates as the sun moves. Thus, no one is faithful unconditionally like God. Not because we don’t have a good intention to be faithful continuously to God, but because we are mortal. As the situation changes, so we do. Thus, we are of the world. Trying to keeping our faithfulness to God with our might and strength has been like chasing the wind.
God again heard Mose and He answered Moses’ prayer. Moses’ faith was not shaken by the two million people’s complaints. It was the faith that pleased God. God used this faith of Moses and turned the bitter water into sweet water for the people of Israel to drink. God made all two million people fully satisfied. God’s mercy was greater than the two million people’s complaints. All were manifested by the unparalleled faith of Moses and his prayer.
We should strive for Moses’ faith that was rock-solid and not shaken at all by the two million people’s complaints. Surely, it was the victory of the faith of Moses, and God’s grace and mercy were manifested.
After being satisfied by God, the people of Israel set out from the oasis and journeyed into the wilderness of Sin between Elim and Mount Sini. It was exactly one month after having to leave the land of Egypt, the cursed land of slavery. God saved them from the Egyptians. Once God saved the people of Israel from the Egyptians, the Egyptians could not come close to the people of Israel. God put the huge chasm of the Red Sea between the Egyptians and the people of Israel.
This is what God does to us. Once the saving grace of God made us leave our prior eternally condemned cursed life filled, the old life cannot even get close to us because God put the greatest chasm between us and the old eternally condemned life. Indeed, we have become His beloved children whom God loves and protects forever. Then does this mean that we have become perfect before God? No! Absolutely not. We have just been born again in God, and the new life has just begun. We are far from perfect before God.
Back to the Israelites. There, too, the whole community of Israel complained about Moses and Aaron, Moses’ helper.
“If only the LORD had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.” (Exodus 16:3)
How many times have we said that we rather died before peacefully than taking this hardship of our lives? Of course, such a statement is truthful.
Being whipped, tortured, and killed as slaves was much bitter than having a small pain in the wilderness as free people. In fact, such an untruthful statement delights Satan our enemy. God is not God of the dead being whipped, tortured, and killed, but of the living being loved by God. Jesus told boldly claimed this to the opposing Sadducees who were sadly the religious leaders at that time.
He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!” (Mark 12:27)
Such a deceitful complaint quickly goes deep into our hearts.
The people of Israel were also deceived by their own complaint and trapped in their deceitful lie. A small temptation of craving for meat and bread made them fall. They even beautified their cursed life in the land of Egypt simply because they could not get what they liked to have in the middle of the wilderness.
Again, we are not so much different from the people of Israel. We always confront such a temptation in us, because our enemy tenaciously chases us to make us fail. We should not forget this cold reality — nobody is immune to such a temptation craftily devised by our enemy Satan. Thus, we have to be prepared and resist as soon as we notice that such a temptation is coming to us by the power of the Holy Spirit, not our own might and strength.
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
God, who loved the people of Isreal, again, used the faithful Moses, who again and again proved his faithfulness to God although the two million kept complaining to God with one voice. God said to Moses,
“Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they will gather food, and when they prepare it, there will be twice as much as usual.” (Exodus 16:4b-5)
How many times have we experienced that we hit the absolute bottom in our lives? The people of Israel experienced three times in just one month. They had a tough life. The Red Sea blocked their advance, the oasis of Marah gave bitter water rather than life-saving sweet water, finally, hunger came and they craved for meat and bread.
They left Egypt hurridly and they could carry out with them only a limited amount of food. First God satisfied their thirst, but soon their hunger was cutting into their lives. As the food shortage was getting severe, many yearned for food while telling that they used to eat meat and bread. This is also a human’s sinfulness that wants to beautify the past to make a good justification for our complaint. Our sinful heart skillfully puts together a lie and paints the past with all kinds of bright and lovely colors to make our God look bad, who gives our current hardship.
Let’s ask. Were the people of Israel really fed well in the land of Egypt where there were slaves? Of course, no. They were slaves. Their daily food was sorrow and their song was a pain as slaves in the foreign land. The actual past was far from what they said to God. Their lives in Egypt were extremely harsh and treacherous.
Even so, our God was merciful to the people of Israel. God again provided more than what they needed. What they needed was a basic food rather than meat and bread in the middle of the wilderness.
By the way, for this time, God did one thing different for the people of Israel. God told Moses to summon the entire Israelite. Thus, Moses said to Aaron,
“Announce this to the entire community of Israel: ‘Present yourselves before the LORD, for he has heard your complaining.’ (Exodus 16:9b)
Moses assembled the people of Israel in one place. God called this meeting because the people of Israel repetitively behaved like a spoiled child who cried out whenever he/she did not get what he/she wanted to have. If we were parents of such a child, then what would we do to such a child first? We would make a dialog with our child to make he/she understand how he/she should behave. It was what God did to the people of Israel.
Moses spoke to the whole community of Israel to look out toward the wilderness. The whole community could see the awesome glory of God in the cloud. The two million people of Israel together saw God’s awesome glory, which was much greater than anything that they had ever imagine. God was greater, bigger, stronger than anything else.
As looking at the awesome glory of God, the whole community started remembering what God had done to them with His mighty and merciful hand. Some of them broke into tears because they could vividly remember the water that stood high into the sky on both sides while they were walking on dry ground. If not, they could have had been killed by the Egyptians on the shore of the Red Sea. Instead, they saw the bodies of the fearful Egyptian armies washed on the other side of the seashore of the Red Sea. God truly protected the people of Israel. What a relief it was! God’s very hand saved them from the Egyptian armies. Some fell on the ground and praised God as remembering the joy and thanksgiving that they sang together on the seashore of the Red Sea. The Egyptians were no more, and they were truly free. The two million people started looking at each other and could see what they were wrongly doing to God: complaining to God and not trusting Him who saved them with His awesome power. They realized how faithful God was although they were not. Soon, the entire community broke into tears. They saw their sin and what they did to God without trusting God.
God’s faithfulness was immutable. That evening vast numbers of quail flew in and covered the camp. And the next morning the area around the camp was wet with dew. When the dew evaporated, a flaky substance as fine as frost blanketed the ground. The people of Israel were puzzled when they saw it. “What is it?” they asked each other. They had no idea what it was because it was rained down by God, not of the world, but of God.
And Moses told them, “It is the food the LORD has given you to eat. These are the LORD’s instructions: Each household should gather as much as it needs. Pick up two quarts for each person in your tent.”
So the people of Israel did as they were told. Some gathered a lot, some only a little. But when they measured it out, everyone had just enough. Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough. Each family had just what it needed. (Exodus 16:17-18)
Each family gathered, but what they gathered was exactly what their family needed for the day. This is God’s principle. Yes, some gather a lot, and some only a little. However, it was just a human measure. God’s measure is completely different. This principle also applies to our spiritual lives before God. Some do a lot for God, and some only a few. The amount that we have is not directly translated to God and His kingdom. Why? God sees our hearts, not what we have or did on earth as people can see.
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
By the way, there is one thing that God really does not want from us, because it is even worse than our complaint to God. What is it? Let’s follow what the people of Israel did.
Then Moses told them,
“Do not keep any of it until morning.” But some of them didn’t listen and kept some of it until morning. But by then it was full of maggots and had a terrible smell. (Exodus 16:16:19b-20)
The answer is disobedience.
If we disobey God’s command, it might look good initially, but in the end, it surely becomes a disaster because we are His children. Those who obeyed gather as God commanded, and ate up by the end of the day as commanded while trusting God that God would provide as promised on the following day. However, some of them did not trust God. They saved some for the following day according to their wisdom. They trusted their wisdom more than God. Then what had happened? What they saved was spoiled by maggots, and it even had a terrible smell. If we plan and do while not following God’s Word, the result is so obvious. All our toils will become reduced to nothing. Why does God do to us like this way? Because God loves us. God knows our future and God leads us accordingly to His infinitely good Will. Thus, we must trust God. God bless those who trust Him unconditionally and always.
Moses told them,
“This is what the LORD commanded: Tomorrow will be a day of complete rest, a holy Sabbath day set apart for the LORD. So bake or boil as much as you want today, and set aside what is left for tomorrow.” (Exodus 16:23b)
God set apart one day, a holy Sabbath day, and God wanted the people of Israel to take rest as God took rest on the seventh day after creating the entire universe for the six days. Indeed, the literal meaning of “holy” is “set apart.” In other words, the seventh day is holy and set apart for us. God wants us to take rest in Him from our daily work for six days, and to worship God by praising and giving thanksgiving to Him.
Again, most of them faithfully followed God’s command for the holy Sabbath day. But some of the people went out anyway on the seventh day. They found no food. God asked Moses,
“How long will these people refuse to obey my commands and instructions? They must realize that the Sabbath is the LORD’s gift to you. That is why he gives you a two-day supply on the sixth day, so there will be enough for two days. On the Sabbath day you must each stay in your place. Do not go out to pick up food on the seventh day.” (Exodus 16:28b-30)
God wanted to have a gift of God, but some of them refused to take. How many people even today do refuse to accept God’s gift: salvation? It is freely offered to all, but some do not believe this God’s gift of salvation. Instead, they go out and search for salvation for themselves. This makes God’s heart hurt. Let’s say. We prepare a banquet for all in our town, but some refuse to come to the banquet. Then how much would our heart hurt?
God already prepared ahead and told what they had to do. But some of the people of Israel did not listen to God, and they did what they saw right by saving for the following day. On the Sabbath day, some came out to gather more although God told them not to come out to gather food. God gave a gift of resting on the seventh day, but they refused to take. Both of them are sins, which deeply hurt God’s heart.
Why does God hurt so much? Because God wants a relationship with us. Once the relationship has been established by God as His children, God wants an ever-deepening relationship with us, as we continue trusting Him in all circumstances. As time goes by, the relationship with God is ever-deepening while getting stronger. Why does this happen? We are continuously being mold by God as we enjoy a deepening relationship with God, and we are steadily becoming the person that God truly wants us to be. This is called a sanctification process. In fact, we, God’s children, have already started this sanctification process – being like God as getting closer to God and by reflecting His character in our lives, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! (Galatians 5:22-23)
Who is our God? God who brought the people of Israel out of Egypt, not just to answer their prayer of being freed from their slavery, but to provide the much greater gift of God: the Promised Land. However, the Promised Land could be occupied only by faith in God. Initially, the people of Israel had no idea at all about this great plan of God. They behaved badly. Even so, God patiently led them one step by step while exhibiting God’s unthinkable patience and care in His unfathomable love. Yes, God was faithful to the people of Israel, but the people of Israel were not, not just once, but three times in just one month. Even so, God continued faithfully showing His love toward the people of Israel. Why? Simply because the people of Israel were God’s children.
We are His children whom God dearly loves. God continues leading us through the paths of righteousness to be holy like Him. This is our faith and hope that keeps us going through all circumstances on earth in Him. Give thanks to God for His immovable faithfulness and His unfathomable love that shines on us even today at this moment!
THE TRUSTING HEART TO JESUS CLINGS
By Eliza E. Hewitt
The trusting heart to Jesus clings,
Nor any ill forebodes,
But at the cross of Calv’ry, sings,
Praise God for lifted loads!
Singing I go along life’s road,
Praising the Lord, praising the Lord,
Singing I go along life’s road,
For Jesus has lifted my load.
The passing days bring many cares,
“Fear not,” I hear Him say,
And when my fears are turned to prayers,
The burdens slip away.
He tells me of my Father’s love,
And never slumb’ring eye,
My everlasting King above
Will all my needs supply.
When to the throne of grace I flee,
I find the promise true,
The mighty arms upholding me
Will bear my burdens too.
“There is no question of our having sufficient power in ourselves: we cannot claim anything as our own. The power we have comes from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5)