The children of Israel are wandering into the “wilderness of Sin” which is obviously a geographical location, but I cannot escape the word “Sin” here. I get a picture of the Israelites who were just rescued from hell on Earth, yet still struggle in the wilderness of their own sins. They are found wandering, complaining, and once again wish that God had killed them in their captivity rather than allow them to live with the difficulties of being free.
I also love Moses’ response, which should ALWAYS be the response of someone who is doing what God told them to do. In Exodus 16:8, he says “what are we? Your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD.”
He beings with a humble question. “What are we?” Who do you guys think we are? Then immediately points out that Moses and Aaron are just following God’s Word, therefore, if you have a problem with it, then God is with whom you take issue.
I wish more pastors would take this line of reasoning. I wish more CHRISTIANS would. The problem, in my opinion, is that too many of us are NOT following God’s Word. Our pastors have been leading churches with more of a business model than that of divine inspiration. I know for a fact that some churches are more concerned with financial health and numerical audience growth than of allowing the Holy Spirit to guide their decisions. They have allowed themselves to be deceived that they are doing the “right thing,” but the lack of spiritual growth in their members says otherwise.
Our churches are more concerned with marketing than preaching the Truth. Christian universities are more concerned with pumping out copies of copies (a simulacra) of pastors who preach the same way (3-4 bullet points for about 40 minutes on a topical “sermon series” chosen up to a year in advance) from the same books (written by men, not the Bible) who were taught that the King James Bible is flawed and imperfect, thus, we have no access to the inspired, perfect Word of God unless we can speak and read Hebrew and a dead Greek language (Koine).
I take issue with Christians who pervert God’s Word and subvert His will. If we were all doing what we were supposed to be doing, like Moses and Aaron, then I would have no reason to murmur.
When the Israelites were starving, God provided food for them. Once again, miracle after miracle, and the children of Israel STILL couldn’t help but disobey when Moses told them not to leave their food out. It spoiled. When Moses did tell them to leave their food out, it remined fine. God preserves his bounty, so long as we follow His rules.
There is a “type of Christ” tucked away neatly in Exodus 17:6, “thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall water come out of it.” Jesus Christ is the rock, and he was beaten until blood (and actual water) came out of him.
Yet another “type of Christ” occurs in verse 12. In order for the Israelites to defeat their enemy, Moses had to keep his arms outstretched. This is a picture of Christ stretching his arms out on the cross to defeat sin.
Exodus 18 has some interesting gems in it as well.
The first of which is when Jethro (Moses’ father in-law) hears of the plagues and exodus from Egypt. He says in verse 11, “Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them.”
This is not something to overlook. Jethro clearly believes that the gods are actual beings. As I mentioned in my notes on Exodus 7-12, God challenged each of the Egyptian gods and won. Jethro says “in the thing wherein they dealt proudly” which seems to verify what I thought happened with the plagues.
The passage ends with a very dangerous proposition that happens to many Christians today. Moses was tasked with certain responsibilities. He was a prophet and military leader. However, he took it upon himself to also be a judge, rather than allow God to judge the Israelites or at least appoint judges Himself. Rather than listening to God’s counsel, Moses turned his ear to Jethro. His father in-law meant well, I am sure, but he was also just a man. Jethro advised Moses with sound human advice.
This is what we do way too often. We try to find the answers ourselves, and when we get overwhelmed we turn to our friends and family. They want to help us, but they are most likely not executing God’s wisdom. Taking their advice often leads to the same dead ends that we would have run into by doing it our own way. God wants us to listen to HIM, not our parents or best friends.
The result of Moses appointing judges, rather than allowing God to do so, slid down the slippery slope from removing God as the head of the nation to adding judges which didn’t go over well, and eventually putting kings in charge. A human king, as we see ample evidence of, is no match for the Heavenly King. Humans are full of corruption, while Christ is perfect and merciful.