Thursday, December 19, 2013

God: "Take This and See Me in the Morning" -- Exodus 16:9-12

--> Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, ‘Come near before the Lord, for He has heard your grumblings.’”  And it came about as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the sons of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud.  And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “I have heard the grumblings of the sons of Israel; speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’”
 
What great advice Moses wanted Aaron to share with the people – “Come near before the Lord, for He has heard your grumblings.”  Think about that.  When my grandchildren are complaining or moaning, as children they inadvertently want to be around their mother or father.  I guess misery likes to be heard.  As parents, or grandparents for that matter, we often say to them, “If you want to tell me something, go away, stop that grumbling and moaning, and then come back and talk to me properly.”  And I guess that is the difference between God and us when it comes to parenthood.  Moses is in essence saying, “God has heard your grumbling and He wants to address it, so go listen to Him.”  That’s our God.  Even when we grumble, He wants us to draw near to Him.  (This is yet another reason why I may well be changing my mind on how I feel about a person getting angry with God.  See my comments under Exodus 16:4-8.)
And sure enough in the morning, as Aaron was telling the children of Israel to draw near to God, they looked up and there “the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud.”  He was there, He heard the grumblings, and He was involved.  The text says He spoke to Moses.  Did the others hear Him?  We do not know.  My guess is they did not or else why would He tell Moses to speak to them about what He said.  While God was working for the Israelites, He was still working with and through Moses.  God tells him He has heard the grumblings of the people and He wants Moses to tell them so.  He also wants Moses to tell them what He has done in response to their grumbling, and why.  He would provide them with meat every evening and in the morning He would give them their fill of bread.  As a result the people will know that He the Lord is their God.
Ever wonder how Moses knew God had heard their grumbling (in verse 9), even before God told him so (in verse 12)?  Well, the answer lies in verse 3 when the people grumbled about not having bread and then in verse 4 God simply says He will rain down bread.  Moses did not have to tell God; neither did the people have to.  He heard them.  God is aware of our every thought and uttering, whether it is directed to Him or not.
In verse 3 of this chapter, the people had complained about having no meat, and not being filled with bread.  So God provides just that.  In the evening He gives them meat and in the morning He fills them with bread.  Why did He not fill them with meat, and just provide bread?  I do not know for sure, but may I suggest that oftentimes God gives us exactly what we ask for.  If we ask for something good and get it from God, then we can praise Him as He totally satisfies us.  If we ask for something that will not be good for us, God sometimes gives it to us so that later we become more reliant on Him.
But here is what I can tell you for sure.  Whatever God does, His intent for us is that “we know He is the Lord our God.”   That is the key reason for His doing what He does for us or with us.  If we miss that; if we think it is all about us; if we grumble because we are not getting our desires, then we have missed the purpose of our relationship with Him.  On the other hand, if we do not like those terms of His, well we miss out on such a relationship.  We do life and eternity without Him.  The Israelites had a choice, and so do you and I.  Our heart’s desire should be to take the ‘meat’ He offers us at night and see His glory in the morning.

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