If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee. — Exodus 15:26
We had just settled into the snug little lakeside cottage that was to be ours for a whole blissful week. Disregarding the admonition of our parents, my brother, sister, and I headed for the huge pile of driftwood on the beach. Why shouldn’t we climb on the logs? What could be the harm in that? While Mom and Dad were resting, we would just climb a little around the edges.
I will never forget the fear that stabbed my heart when I heard my sister scream. One look at the blood pouring from a huge gash on her leg sent me running across the sand, faster than I had ever run before, calling for my parents. I was sure my sister was going to bleed to death before they could get to her!
She didn’t. My parents came to the rescue and after a few stitches and the application of a major bandage at the local hospital, my sister was back at the lakeside cottage. But that day I learned two important lessons: listen to what your parents say, and do what they tell you to do.
In today’s focus verse, God gave the Children of Israel instructions that revolved around the same two thoughts: “hearken” and “do that which is right.” If these two simple requirements were followed, they were promised freedom from the diseases that had come upon the Egyptians. Obedience to God will bring His blessing!
Many of the laws God gave the Children of Israel were designed to keep them free from sickness and harm. They may not have fully understood why God instituted some of His requirements, just as my siblings and I did not understand (at our young age) why it was not wise for us to climb on the logs unsupervised.
Satan would have us grow careless about obeying God, and think there is no reason we shouldn’t do things our way instead of God’s way. But God always has good reasons for His commands, and we place ourselves in grave spiritual danger when we consciously or carelessly disobey them.
Let’s make careful obedience to God the pattern of our lives.
Although the Children of Israel murmured and complained, God sweetened the water of Marah for them and provided manna as their food.
After arriving on the east side of the Red Sea, the Hebrews encountered the wilderness of Shur. Because the group included women, children, and livestock, their progress could not have been rapid; they may have traveled from thirty to forty-five miles in the “three days in the wilderness.” When they came to Marah (which means “bitter”), they found no good drinking water, so they complained. After making the water sweet (drinkable), God gave His people “a statute and an ordinance” — an instruction to obey and a promise of blessing if they would. Their next encampment was at Elim, which had wells and palm trees. Elim is generally thought to have been located in present-day Wadi Gharandel, an oasis about sixty miles southeast of Suez, Egypt.
God continued to lead the people south along the Sinai Peninsula. A month after leaving Egypt, they complained of hunger, and God provided quail and manna. The term manna likely arose from the Hebrew word man hu which means “What is it?” — the question the Children of Israel asked when they discovered the food God miraculously provided for them (Exodus 16:15). The Children of Israel were nourished by this divine supply for forty years. According to Joshua 5:12, the provision of manna did not cease until they entered the Land of Canaan.
The manna had a number of unique characteristics that proved its miraculous nature. It did not appear until God had Moses tell the people that “bread” would be provided “to the full” on the coming day. It came six days a week in a large enough quantity to sustain about three million people. Any manna kept overnight developed worms and stank, except for the two-day supply which was gathered on the day before the Sabbath. Manna melted in the sun, so obtaining the day’s food required early diligence on the people’s part. It could be baked or boiled (seethed). God established a portion size, and commanded an omer to be gathered for each person. An omer is thought to have been equivalent to about three to six pints.
God’s simple instructions regarding the manna were a test in order to “prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no” (Exodus 16:4). Many failed the test and left God asking the question, “How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?” (Exodus 16:28).
Observance of the Sabbath as a day of rest would have been impossible for the Children of Israel while they were slaves. God used the manna to help teach His people that He wanted them to observe the Sabbath in a special way. They were to set aside one day a week for rest and worship.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
III. The migration of Israel to Sinai
A. The wilderness of Shur (15:22)
B. Marah (15:23-26)
C. Elim (15:27)
D. The wilderness of Sin (16:1-36)
1. The murmuring (16:1-3)
2. The answer (16:4-12)
3. The provision (16:13-34)
4. The summary (16:35-36)
If we want God to take care of us, we must listen to Him and obey His directions. In short, we must “hearken” and “do that which is right.”