By Brooke Holt
“Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘Say to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, ‘Come near before the Lord, for he has heard your grumbling.’” And as soon as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. And the Lord said to Moses, ‘I have heard the grumbling of the people of Israel. Say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’” Exodus 16:9-12
Just four weeks before this day on which God miraculously provided meat and bread for the nation of Israel, he delivered them from their slavery in the nation of Egypt. For four hundred years, the Israelites dwelt in Egypt. Originally, Pharaoh and his people knew and loved them as they were family to Joseph, Pharaoh's second in command. But as the years passed, their status changed from treasured to enslaved. The new Pharaoh did not know Joseph or the story of the Israelites. Instead of treasuring them, he felt threatened by them. Just as God had promised Abraham, the Israelites had become as numerous as the stars of heaven (Genesis 26:4).
As slaves to the Pharaoh in Egypt, the Israelites were powerless to escape the heavy work burdens. In Exodus 2:23-25, they bemoan their enslavement, cry out, and God heard them. He had a plan for their deliverance, and he executed that plan. Four weeks from that great deliverance, the Israelites bemoan their situation in the desert. Hungry, they longed for those meat pots and bread in Egypt. Once again, they cry out, but this time they cry out against Moses and Aaron, against the God who rescued them.
One would expect God to be exasperated with these Israelites. Yet, God heard their cries and was quick to provide for their physical needs. He had not taken them out to the desert to die of hunger but to learn what it meant to be his beloved children. The Lord would reveal himself consistently as the God who heard them, saw them, loved them, and cared for them.
In this passage, Aaron speaks to the people about God’s presence among them. He called them to look towards the wilderness that they may behold the glory of God. God was present among his people as he revealed himself in the cloud that covered Mt. Sinai. All they had to do was turn their eyes towards him. Instead of reprimanding them for the lack of faith, God affirmed them: “I have heard the grumbling of the people” (Ex. 16:12). God’s glory was seen in the cloud, and God’s glory was displayed in his mercy and goodness towards his people.
Sure enough, God rained down manna in the morning for bread and quail in the evening for food. They had everything they needed each day. Moses did not provide; Aaron could not provide. God alone could provide bread and meat to his people in that desert. God alone could hear their cries and meet their needs.
As that held true for the Israelites in the desert, it holds true for you today. God invites you to turn your eyes from the things of this world and to behold his glory demonstrated in his Son. Through Jesus, you have everything you need for life and godliness.
Do you recognize God’s glory revealed in this world today? Do you daily feed on his mercy and delight in his provision for you? Are you crying out to him to meet your needs, or do you look to the people and things of this world? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Come explore the grand story of God as the one who knows and loves his people. In one of the greatest love stories ever told, The Book of Exodus reveals God as Yahweh, the Great “I AM.” He is the transcendent, all-powerful creator of all things who defeated the greatest powers of the earth. This same God would have his people know and love him in an intimate and personal way. The Great “I AM” – A Study of the Book of Exodus is a 9-week study consisting of a small group study guide combined with weekly video teachings. Come and meet The Great “I AM”.
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