Friday, June 23, 2017

unlikely nourishment -- part 1

Gathering Manna -- Exodus 16:14-31
(by Pastor Joe)
The Word for Today: Exodus 17
mark this: 1 Corinthians 10:3-4
"They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ."
Like the accounts of Genesis, the importance of the stories in the first half of Exodus cannot be understated. These first 70 chapters are the very building blocks for the entire rest of the Bible. If we don't get them, that is like showing up in Algebra or Calculus class not knowing how to add or subtract. Good luck with that.
In the past few days, we've learned from Franklyn how Passover teaches us the power in the blood, how hyssop teaches us that faith is merely the applicator, how the crossing of the Red Sea, a type of baptism, teaches us about deliverance and redemption.
Today and tomorrow, we are going to take a quick look at another lesson from the simplest of elements: bread and water.
It has been quite a whirlwind for the people of Israel since this fellow Moses showed up, claiming to have met with God. But God has backed up Moses' claims--in the plagues upon Egypt, in the final plague that lead to their exit, in the Pillar of Cloud and Fire, in the miraculous crossing of the Sea. But strangely enough, instead of being forever grateful, we find the Israelites grumbling against God and Moses.
First they whined about the lack of fresh water at Marah (1).
Then they complained about lack of food (2).
In today's passage they're back to bellyaching about water again.
Sadly, this pattern will continue for an entire generation.
But I want to focus not on all the griping, but rather on God's response. He takes these times to point His people, and ultimately us, to His Son. First the bread. God knows that His people have to eat, and so He develops an ingenious method: Manna. There's no better way to feed such a large group of wandering people.
What is it? Well, that's its name. We know what it looked like and even what it tasted like (3), but sadly the jar kept by Aaron is no longer available for a complete analysis. God took care of His people by raining down "bread from heaven (4)."
But this food, even though it was the "bread of angels (5)" could not ultimately satisfy. Instead, it points us to the ultimate Bread of Life, Jesus. He is our sustenance, both day after day, and for all eternity:
"I am the bread of life.
Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 

This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh." (John 6:48-51)
(1) Exodus 15:22-24
(2) Exodus 16:1-3
(3) Exodus 16:31
(4) Exodus 16:4
(5) Psalm 78:25

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