It's a new day and a new people. Life as freed people begins in today's readings. They have much to learn about what it means to be God's people, but God will show them. God still shows us!
- Jewish commentary suggests this is when they ran out of the cakes the left Egypt with.
- Another complaint
- The bread from heaven, in part, will be a test of the people's obedience. I bet none of us can guess how that test is going to go.
- God had heard their cry. Now, God has heard their complaining.
- So far, God hadn't said anything about meat.
- "Then you shall know" is odd if you consider what happened a little over a month prior to this. How could they not already "know" that God was their God?
- When they ask, "What is it?" they literally say "manna."
- There's a covenant already?
- Complaining has turned into quarreling. The escalation makes Moses fear the people stoning him (Verse 4).
- How will God be standing there? We've seen a burning bush and pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire. Does the cloud rest there?
- Their first battle is initiated by an outside group. Perhaps their wandering is seen as a threat.
- We're first introduced to Joshua. His first task is battle.
- Once again, Moses' staff will be a sign of power for the people.
- How long before they figured Moses was having an influence of the battle?
- He had told Joshua he would stand on the top of the hill to watch. So, the stone put under him probably allowed him to rest comfortably in an upright position. Aaron and Hur take their supportive positions around him.
- Their work proves victorious.
- Jewish commentary says that when Moses first met Aaron in the wilderness, when Moses was first returning to Egypt (Exodus 4:20, 27), Aaron told him not to allow his family to go to Egypt because it would only add to the number of people who were suffering.
- Moses doesn't seem to greet his wife and children. We're only told about him and Jethro.
- Moses has great respect for his father-in-law. Perhaps this is a continuation of the relationship they had before. Perhaps Moses recognizes that everything that happened in Egypt began with Jethro's blessing.
- Israel's triumph over Egypt stands as a witness for all people to the power of God.
- Jethro has the respect of Moses. Enough that Moses is willing to listen to what he has to say. Jethro tells Moses that the way he is dealing with the people, taking all the responsibility himself, is "not good." It is not something he can do alone for long without sacrificing his well being and the well being of the people.
- If you're a leader in the church, listen up! Don't just lead people, teach them.
- It is obvious the psalmist is in great distress. Even so, his song of pain and suffering turns into a song of praise.
- The opening words of the psalm are words Jesus used on the cross.
OTHER OBSERVATIONSWe recall that the main reason God delivered the Israelites was so that they could be free to worship God. Now that they have been saved, they begin their journey. Their first lessons were tests of obedience. There will surely be other tests to come. Unfortunately, not everyone listened.
What I find interesting is how the Sabbath in emphasized so early. You would think that they needed to do what they could to hurry along and get where they needed to be. That's just like us. Look at our calendars and what fills our days and you see how much we are hurrying along.
But God's command to rest is one of the first that we learn in our new life. To be sure, rest is not merely taking a nap, vegging out on the couch. It's more than that. Moses first called it "a day of solemn rest." It is a holy rest. That's why the people would later reorganize their lives in a way that freed (see what I did there?) them to observe that day.
Free people rest. God's people are free. So, God's people understand the importance of keeping, protecting their day of rest. Moses told the people that God gave them the sabbath. So, holy resting is a gift from God. Chores can wait. Paperwork will always be there. You can't be the free child of God that God made you if you don't take a day of holy rest.