Today we begin Exodus Chapter 16.
For the Complete Jewish Bible, click here.
For the King James Bible, click here.
“They traveled on from Eilim, and the whole community of the people of Isra’el arrived at the Seen Desert, between Eilim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after leaving the land of Egypt.”-Exodus 16:1
We are told that the Israelites stayed at a place called ELIM for about about one month and then they moved on to a place called the SEEN Desert.
“ELIM” means “gods”.
Concerning the SEEN Desert, a lot of people mistakenly call it the SIN Desert.
This can be misleading because some folks might get the idea that it is somehow related to “sin” as in committing an act against God.
First of all, it is pronounced “S-E-E-N” with an elongated “ee” sound.
Second, in Hebrew this word means “thorn” and is actually the root word for “Sinai”.
“SINAI” is actually NOT pronounced “Sigh-nigh” but pronounced “see-nah’-ee”.
From the word “SIN”, “SINAI” becomes an adjective and means “thorny”.
Now the reason God is bringing the Israelites into the Desert of Seen is to “test them”.
Some translations might say “to prove them”.
Again, recall from a previous post, that the original Hebrew for “to test” is NACHA and it carries with it the judicial sense of being on trial in court before a judge.
What is going on here is that God is going to teach Israel how to live like a redeemed people.
And what constitutes living as one of God’s people?
It is obeying the rules and laws we are beginning to see formulated.
So in a sense, God is going to have an ongoing trial with Israel to see if they will listen to and obey Him.
And of course, we can see that difficult and trying circumstances are part and parcel of the “testing” of God.
In response, for the second time, we see the people grumble against God.
However, notice the tone of the Lord’s response.
“Here, I will cause bread to rain down from heaven for you.”
God’s response is not one of harsh disgust or anger but of compassion and kindness.
There are two takeaways here.
The first one is that we worship a loving Father who is slow to anger and will carefully lead us from one challenge to the next as we move forward in our walk with Him.
Second, the heart of growing in our walk with the Lord is whether or not we will obey His commandments in the midst of difficult situations.
Are we going to unfairly lash out at somebody because we’re irritated with them or exercise patience and respond in kindness?
When times our tough, are we going to try to escape by drowning our sorrows in alcohol or going on a porn binge instead of getting down on our knees and going to the Father in prayer?
Moving forward, let’s read this section of Exodus carefully because it will teach us much about not only WHAT walking with the Lord is like but also HOW to walk with the Lord, so that we may be victorious.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
In fact, this is love for God:
to keep his commands.
And his commands are not burdensome.
-1 John 5:3