Daily reading assignment: Exodus 16-18
The people began to murmur in the Wilderness of Sin, a desert area along the east shore of the Red Sea that we know today as the Arabian Peninsula. Here they accused Moses of leading them into the wilderness to starve (Exodus 16:1-3). Murmuring hearts and wagging tongues would be Israel’s nature throughout their wilderness years.
The LORD promised He would provide the people sufficient bread each morning for the day. On the sixth day, the day before the Sabbath; He promised bread for two days so the people would have no need of laboring and gathering food on the Sabbath (16:4-5). The LORD also promised to send the people meat to eat in the evening (16:8, 12).
In spite of the LORD’s provisions and promises of bread and meat, the people hoarded more than their daily bread and it spoiled in their tents (16:19-21). Only when they gathered two days provisions on the sixth day, sufficient for the Sabbath, did the bread and meat not spoiled (16:25-30).
Continuing their journey through the Wilderness of Sin, Israel came to Rephidim and finding “no water”, the people began murmuring against Moses (Exodus17:1-3). Moses cried out to the LORD who commanded him to strike a rock with his staff “and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink” (17:4-7).
The nation of slaves soon faced their first enemy in the wilderness when the Amalekites (descendants of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob) came against Israel at Rephidim (17:8-16). A dramatic scene unfolds as Moses stands on a hill overlooking the battlefield (17:9). Two men stood with Moses, Aaron and Hur, and they steadied the arms of Moses as he held high in his hands “the rod of God” (17:10-12). Joshua, Moses’ aid and successor, emerges as the commander who led Israel to her first battlefield victory.
I close today’s devotional with lessons for all, but especially Christian leaders. Jethro, Moses father-in-law, observed him serving as judge in the people’s matters “from the morning unto the evening” (18:13). Jethro asked Moses, “Why sittest thou thyself alone…from morning unto even?” (18:14). Jethro warned, Moses, you will wear yourself out; this is too much for one man (18:17-18).
Jethro suggested Moses teach the people the “ordinances and laws” (18:19-20) and delegate the responsibility of judging the simple, miniscule matters to others (18:21). Wisely, Moses judged the “hard causes”, the weightier matters that rose among the tribes (18:22-25).
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith