Moses is about 80 years old, he’s just led the biggest rebellion in history, God has defended them and provided for them and performed miracles every step of the way, and here we are, a little hungry, a little thirsty. Now, I know, people die in the desert real quick without water and food, and God devotes two whole chapters in the Bible to how He provides for His people. Exodus 16 & 17 – I’ll just read 2 verses – 16:3 and 17:3
“The Israelites [whined], ‘If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by pots of meat and ate all the bread we wanted. Instead, you brought us into this wilderness to make this whole assembly die of hunger!’”
“But the people thirsted there for water, and grumbled against Moses. They said, ‘Why did you ever bring us out of Egypt to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?’”
Oh yeah. They went there. And bought property. If I ever get that whiny, I want someone to punch me in the head.
Let’s go forward a bit. Remember, Jesus used a lot of food illustrations in the sermon on the mount. Read Matthew 6:25-34 -
“Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the sky: they don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they are? … So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.”
Jesus is reminding people what God has already done for them, and what he has promised them in the future. He’s saying, remember how God provided for your fathers and their fathers before them? They did remember – it was one of their greatest moments as a people – and he will do the same for us today!
How much do we miss by focusing on the wrong things? God provides what we need, when we trust him to do it, so that we can focus on the spiritual, on our relationship with him – so that he can give us the food and drink we need for our soul! God gave the Israelites all they ever needed and probably most of what they wanted, and he does the same for you and me. And do you think they were satisfied at that point? Are we?
Because of continued sin and rebellion, because of their fear and lack of faith, God told Moses it would be forty years before the people got to enter into the land. forty years wandering in the desert.
Why? Why would God take those people and leave them in the desert? He had brought them all the way there and there they sat, right in front of it, and they were being told forty more years you’ll be in this desert where you’ll basically walk around and around this one mountain the whole time. Why?
Have you ever asked that question? I know I have.
Why would you put me here, God? Why have you turned your back on me? I don’t get it! Why God? Why did I lose my job? Why is this so hard? Why am I not where I thought I would be? Why?
Why? Because the desert is the best place for the faint of heart. The desert is the best place for the lukewarm. The desert is the best place for the confused. In the desert your secrets are exposed, your soul is laid bare. In the desert you sweat it all out. You build character – just like Moses. And in the desert, you come to find that Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes out of the mouth of God.
Are you hungry? Are you thirsty? Do you hunger and thirst for a real, living, growing relationship with God? Are you in the desert?
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you! Use this time to develop yourself spiritually so that you can step out of the desert and into God’s promise for you, so that you can claim what he has always dreamed for you, so that you can stand humbly in his presence and boldly proclaim his mercy and grace to others.
This is your time. I challenge you today to have a hearty meal, drink deep from the well. Trust that Jesus is who he says he is, and can do what he says he can do – trust him and he will provide everything you need!