Study Notes

Exodus 16:1-36

16:1 The Wilderness Of Sin

This wilderness is not called "sin," but "seen." Even though it appears the same in English, they are two different words. The word "sin" in Hebrew is "cha-tah-ah." The word "Sin" in Hebrew is "Seen"

They were on their way through the wilderness of Sin going towards Sinai.

16:2-8 The Congregation Grumbles

Here's the pity party again. "Why didn't you let us die in Egypt? We had it so much better there!" Unbelievable, and yet we're no stranger to this kind of attitude. Because, as we go through the Bible, we hear three words quite frequently: Murmuring, Grumbling, and Complaining. Unfortunately, in church we also are exposed to murmuring, grumbling, and complaining quite a bit.

"I can't believe the pastor said that."

"How could the church board make that stupid decision?"

"Why can't we do this the way we did it at our last church?"

"How come she's always the one who gets to do that?"

The book of Philippians warns and exhorts us:

Phil. 2:14-15 Do all things without grumbling or disputing; that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God...

If you're murmuring, grumbling, and complaining, you're not blameless. Neither are you innocent. You're in sin. And no matter who you're complaining about, you're complaining about God. Look at what Moses says:

Exod. 16:7-8 "...He hears your grumblings against the LORD; and what are we, that you grumble against us?" And Moses said, "This will happen when the LORD gives you meat to eat in the evening, and bread to the full in the morning; for the LORD hears your grumblings which you grumble against Him. And what are we? Your grumblings are not against us but against the LORD."

God hates murmuring, grumbling, and complaining. They are always sin. In Numbers 11, we're going to see

Num. 11:1 Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the LORD; and when the LORD heard {it,} His anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed {some} of the outskirts of the camp.

What is the fruit of these things? It is always death and division. If you have a problem, deal with it biblically. That means when you have a problem with someone, you talk to just two people: God, and the other person. That's it. As soon as you take it to anyone else, you're in sin. You can disguise it how you want:

"Oh, I just called for counsel..." "Please pray for me. My friend Janet is really upsetting me with her..." "Let me tell you where his heart is at right now..."

Sin, sin, sin! You talk to God first! You talk to the person if God tells you to. That's it! That's all! Fini! Murmuring, Grumbling, and Complaining causes death and division. Nothing good ever comes from it. If you really want a godly outcome for whatever problem you're dealing with, don't you dare grumble, murmur, or complain.

16:9-12 Wilderness & Glory

The Lord is so merciful. He certainly would have been justified in destroying them all. But instead, He blesses those who curse Him. Jesus told us to follow this example:

Luke 6:27-28 "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

Once again, the Lord brings reminder that He is the Lord, that He is in control. That He is their provider. Teaching them the lessons of walking by faith and not by sight.

He promises meat that evening, and bread the next morning. Remember that we're talking at least two million people here to be fed. You know the effort that Cheyenne goes through to feed folks fifteen or twenty thousand free pancake breakfasts - imagine trying to feed two or three million in the middle of the desert... every day!

16:13 The Quails

The Lord provides the meat for dinner, just as He promised. So many quails that they could just reach out and take what they were hungry for.

The next morning, there was a layer of dew around the camp.

16:14-31 Bread From Heaven

Bread from heaven. "Manna," they called it, meaning "What is it?"

It tasted like wafers with honey. They could bake it or boil it.

Num. 11:7-8 Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its appearance like that of bdellium (DEL-ee-um). The people would go about and gather it and grind it between two millstones or beat it in the mortar, and boil it in the pot and make cakes with it; and its taste was as the taste of cakes baked with oil.

(Bdellium is a gum-like resin from certain trees.)

There were directions regarding the gathering of manna. Each man was responsible to gather it for his tent - an omer for each person. (An omer is about a quart and a half.)

They couldn't hoard it. It wasn't to be left until morning, for if they did, it bred worms and became foul.

They had to gather it in the morning, because when the sun grew hot, it would melt.

The holy day, the Sabbath Day, they did not have to gather any. If they got twice the amount the day before, they were able to keep it as provision for the Sabbath.

Jesus, The Bread From Heaven

Now, as we read of these things, we must be reminded that Jesus said to the multitude:

John 6:31-35 "Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, 'HE GAVE THEM BREAD OUT OF HEAVEN TO EAT.'" Jesus therefore said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world." They said therefore to Him, "Lord, evermore give us this bread." Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

Jesus said that He was the bread from heaven. He is also described in Revelation 2:17 as the "hidden manna."

So what does it mean that Jesus is the manna, the bread from heaven? Think of the parallels:

* The people were in the wilderness, and would certainly die without intervention on God's part. He supernaturally sent bread from heaven. His perfect provision for what they needed. All the people of the world are in the same situation - in a wilderness of sin that is leading to our deaths. God intervenes and supernaturally sends down Jesus Christ. His perfect provision for exactly what we need.

* The bread had to be gathered, appropriated. It didn't jump into everybody's tent; each man had to gather for himself and his family. Whoever refused to gather it himself would certainly die.

We see the same circumstance with Christ. He is there, available. Anyone who desires the Bread of Life may gather it.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Rom. 10:13 ..."WHOEVER WILL CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD will be saved."

* If the men were faithful to gather it, then everyone in the house could eat of it as well. We see that principle in the work of Christ. If you as a father or single mom are faithful to gather the bread of life and bring it into your household, then each member of your family will have an opportunity to partake of it as well. Sure, they can be stubborn and refuse to eat, but without your gathering, they will surely starve.

Remember the circumstances of the Philippian jailer. When an earthquake shook the foundations of the prison that Paul and Silas were in, all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were unfastened. Thinking that the prisoners had escaped, the jailer drew his sword to kill himself.

Acts 16:28-34 But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Do yourself no harm, for we are all here!" And he called for lights and rushed in and, trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out, he said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household." And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. And he took them that {very} hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his {household.} And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household.

If the head of the house is faithful to gather the Bread of Life, then all in the house have their own opportunity to partake of that bread.

* They also couldn't hoard it. They couldn't load up on Monday to have enough for the week. The manna had to gathered every day. Old manna would rot and become foul. So too with our gathering the Bread of Life. We must appropriate Him every day. You can't eat from the devotions and reading you had last week. You can't depend on the Bible study and prayer that you had last month. You must seek Christ anew each day.

* It had to be gathered in the morning. When the sun came out, it would melt. This is an important principle to understand. David wrote in Psalm 5,

Ps. 5:3 In the morning, O LORD, Thou wilt hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to Thee and eagerly watch.

We must seek God daily in the morning. If you wait, if you think, "Oh, I'll catch Him on my lunch hour" or "Lord, I'll seek you tonight after dinner" then the opportunity for victory in your day will certainly be gone. The sun gets hot and melts it away.

What does the sun represent? Affliction and persecution. By the time lunchtime comes around, you've been afflicted with trials and tribulations. You've been persecuted. And you weren't prepared for it, because you didn't gather the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ, that morning.

Of course we don't just seek God only in the morning, but it is essential that we do seek Him in the morning.

* Finally, they didn't have to gather on the Sabbath morning. Their collection of it the day before was enough. How do we equate that with the church today? Think of it. If you're seeking God every morning, gathering the Bread of Life into your house Monday through Saturday, then on the Lord's day, you can come and be ministered to in church without fear of having missed your devotions.

(This also addresses the issue of the necessity and command of the Sabbath rest, which we will address further into the book of Exodus.)

You can study each detail, just as in the Passover, and see Jesus Christ. The fact that it was related to seed, and so is Christ. The fact that it was white and pure, just as Christ is pure, sinless, dressed in white, the fact that it was sweet like honey, and so is the Lord Jesus Christ:

Ps. 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good...

Another awesome study worthy of your attention and devotion.

16:32-36 Before The Testimony

Aaron placed this jar of manna before the Testimony. This is the first time we read of it in the Scriptures, so if you haven't grown up knowing about it, you probably say "huh? Testimony? What's that?"

The testimony hasn't been given yet. It was the two tablets of stone, written by the finger of God on Mount Sinai. The Ten Commandments.

In chapter 25, we read that as Moses is commissioned to make the ark of the covenant, he is to put the testimony in it. (That's why it's also called the ark of the testimony.)

Forty Years Of Manna

They would eat manna for the rest of their wilderness wanderings - forty years. We read in Joshua about when it finally stopped.

Josh. 5:10-12 While the sons of Israel camped at Gilgal, they observed the Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month on the desert plains of Jericho. And on the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. And the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten some of the produce of the land, so that the sons of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate some of the yield of the land of Canaan during that year.

Next week, we'll look at another picture of Jesus Christ, as we see the rock stricken to pour forth water.

Go to next study

Go to previous study