Exodus 16

Today's Passage: Exodus 16

When considering eternity, many of us struggle to picture exactly what things will be like. We think of wonderful passages like Revelation 21:4, that Jesus will “wipe every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Many times, while imagining eternity, I’ve thought more about what things will not be like. As I read Exodus 16, we witness many examples.

The first, and most obvious, example can be summed up in the word “dissatisfaction.” These people had just seen God perform miracles so great that they were to inspire fear and a humbling of hearts for every generation to come. The plagues, Passover, the Red Sea—but time passed and the awesomeness faded into grumbling. In verse 3, the people longed for slavery with full bellies.

Before we criticize too harshly, we must put ourselves in their sandals. Verse 1 says it was the “fifteenth day of the second month after they departed.” I’m sure they were tired from much walking. They were still reeling from extreme emotions, excitement and fear. Their food stores dwindled. They had no home, no identifiable plan, and no prospects for settling anywhere but a barren desert in the Negev between Egypt on one side and multiple pagan nations on the other. Yet, despite the danger from invaders, they faced the most dangerous of foes, uncertainty. Uncertainty preys on our fears and doubts. It’s a hard place to be, and even harder to stay. And as we read in verse 3, uncertainty is a breeding ground for dissatisfaction.
In eternity, as we see in the Revelation passage quoted, both uncertainty and dissatisfaction will be gone. We can sit thousands of years later and poke fun at the Israelites for not trusting that God would send manna from heaven every day, but what happened when people said toilet paper was running out in 2020? My family got a taste of the baby formula shortage and it was scary—we got down to only a couple days of formula and put out a call to friends and family. Can you imagine the life of your child hanging in the balance of a fine powdery substance collected every morning?

In verses 19 & 20, Moses told them not to save it, but they tried anyway. On the seventh day they went to collect and Moses was angry again (28). Uncertainty forces us to trust in God’s provision or else take matters into our own hands. Although that usually works out for us about the same as it did for the Israelites, how often do we keep trying? I think that in eternity our perspective will allow us to see how great our need truly is and how trustworthy God truly is.

In eternity, I think we will experience the fruit of the Spirit in a way we can’t even imagine now—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control. We’ve never experienced perfect love or peace. They’ve always been experienced through the filter of our flesh in a world corrupted by sin. Although we have been given those things perfectly, our experience of them has never met that same level of perfection. It’s that lack of Spiritual fruit on display in Exodus 16, but that we’ll all receive and practice perfectly in eternity.

What stood out in this passage?

In what ways do you relate to the uncertainty and fear they must have felt?

Written By: Tyler Short

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