1 Then they set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the sons of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departure from the land of Egypt.
2 The whole congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.
3 The sons of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
To properly understand the events of today’s passage, it is important to know a bit of the backstory of the people of Israel prior to this passage. At the beginning of Exodus, the people of Israel were enslaved in Egypt and oppressed by those over them. Exodus 2 tells us that God heard the cries of His people and remembered His covenant with them. In response to the people’s cries, God raised up Moses as their leader, through whom God would lead the people out of slavery into the promised land.
God worked powerfully on behalf of the people, sending ten plagues as judgment on Egypt for their oppression of God’s people. In Exodus 12, Pharaoh finally released the people. However, Pharaoh quickly changed his mind and pursued the people to recapture them. In response, God miraculously parted the Red Sea so that His people could cross. Then God brought the waters over Pharaoh and his army so that they were destroyed. To say that God had shown Himself faithful to Israel is a massive understatement.
At the beginning of chapter 16, immediately following the events summarized above, the people began to complain that they did not have food. It is almost comical that the people had so quickly forgotten God’s faithfulness and claimed they would have rather been back in Egypt where they could at least eat. In verses 4 and following, God responded again, showing His faithfulness despite the people’s grumbling, and sent literal food from heaven for them to eat.
The people had forgotten God’s past faithfulness, present power in their midst, and future promises to them. We are prone to do the same. We must continually guard against this by remembering the truth of the gospel, God’s continual presence with us, and His future promises that are guaranteed for His people.
• Where are you prone to grumble against God when things don’t go your way?
• How would remembrance of God’s past faithfulness in your life help guard against this?
• Thank God for His past faithfulness, present power, and future promises for His people. Pray that He would bring these things to mind by His Spirit, that you might not have a fickle heart before Him.