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In this message, Pastor John Lindell draws truth from Exodus 16-17 to show how grumbling distracts us from recognizing God's grace. Our prayer is that this message encourages you to focus on God's goodness and keep your joy rooted in the Lord!
SeriesLed by Fire
Scripture ReferenceExodus 16:1 - 17:7
Grumbling & Grace
1st Vantage Point: Grumbling
1 Corinthians 10:1 (NLT)
I don't want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground. All of them ate the same spiritual food, and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ. Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. These things happened as a warning to us, nor should we put Christ to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites. And don't grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death. These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.
Exodus 16:1 (ESV)
They set out from Elim...on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and the people of Israel said to them, "Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger."
1. Grumbling occurs when we get close to the wrong people
That night the people of Israel left Rameses and started for Succoth. There were about 600,000 men, plus all the women and children. A rabble of non-Israelites went with them...
Numbers 11:4 (NIV)
The rabble with them began to crave other food
Numbers 11:4-5a (MSG)
The riff-raff among the people had a craving and soon they had the People of Israel whining, "Why can't we have meat? We at fish in Egypt – and got it free!
2. Grumbling occurs when we forget what God has done
Psalm 106:9 (NIV)
He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up; he led them through the depths as through a desert. He saved them from the hand of the foe; from the hand of the enemy he redeemed them. The waters covered their adversaries; not one of them survived. But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his counsel. In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wasteland they put God to the test.
Psalm 103:1-2 (ESV)
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,
3. Grumbling occurs when we view things from a self-centered perspective
Exodus 16:3 (NLT)
"If only the Lord had killed us back in Egypt," they moaned. "There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.
4. Grumbling occurs when spirit rebels against God and we begin to judge God
Your grumbling is not against us but against the Lord.
Exodus 17:1b-2 (NIV)
They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. So they quarreled with Moses and said, "Give us water to drink." Moses replied, "Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?"
Exodus 17:7 (ESV)
And he [Moses] called the name of the place Massah and Meribah because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
Psalm 106:32-33a (NIV)
By the waters of Meribah they angered the Lord, and trouble came to Moses because of them; for they rebelled against the Spirit of God...
2nd Vantage Point: Grace
1. God’s grace gave them bread
That night the people of Israel left Rameses and started for Succoth. There were about 600,000 men, plus all the women and children. A rabble of non-Israelites went with them, along with great flocks and herds of livestock.
Exodus 16:3 (ESV)
Then the Lord said to Moses, "Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.
Deuteronomy 8:3 (NLT)
He humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
John 6:30-35 (NLT)
They answered, "Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do? After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, 'Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, Moses didn't give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." "Sir," they said, "give us that bread every day." Jesus replied, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again.
2. God’s grace gave them a Sabbath
Exodus 16:26 (NLT)
You may gather the food for six days, but the seventh day is the Sabbath. There will be no food on the ground that day." Some of the people went out anyway on the seventh day, but they found no food. The Lord asked Moses, "How long will these people refuse to obey my commands and instructions? They must realize that the Sabbath is the Lord's gift to you. That is why he gives you a two-day supply on the sixth day, so there will be enough for two days. On the Sabbath day you must each stay in your place. Do not go out to pick up food on the seventh day.
Sabbath means quit. Stop. Take a break. Cool it. The word itself has nothing devout or holy in it. It is a word about time, denoting our non-use of it, what we usually call wasting time.
~Eugene Peterson, Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Ministry
1st We cease being worshipers.
The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
~Westminster Shorter Catechism 11-25-1647
2nd We lose our joy.
3rd We lose our perspective.
4th We lose our health.
3. God’s grace gave them water
Exodus 17:1 (NLT)
At the Lord's command, the whole community of Israel left the wilderness of Sin and moved from place to place. Eventually they camped at Rephidim, but there was no water there for the people to drink. So once more the people complained against Moses. "Give us water to drink!" they demanded. "Quiet!" Moses replied. "Why are you complaining against me? And why are you testing the Lord?" The Lord said to Moses, "Walk out in front of the people. Take your staff, the one you used when you struck the water of the Nile, and call some of the elders of Israel to join you. I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink." So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on.
Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV)
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
Isaiah 53:6 (MSG)
We’re all like sheep who’ve wondered off and gotten lost. We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way. And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him, on him.
John 4:14 (NLT)
But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life."