Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15
The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.’“ And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. The Lord spoke to Moses and said, “I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’“ In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.
Food For Thought:
When I read this passage, I think of how humanity is so quick to judge and be ungrateful. In this story, we are told that the Israelites had just left the land of Egypt (where they were enslaved), and they were beginning to grumble about not having enough to eat. I can understand. I get pretty hungry when I don’t eat (like the Snickers commercials, I turn into someone else). But they had just been in deplorable conditions and here they are complaining. I think this passage reminds us of how quick we are to be ungrateful for what we have. On the many mission trips and experiences that I have taken, the overarching theme is that the places where we go and the people we help have a deeper sense of gratitude to God than usually the ones that show up to help. I wonder how disheartening it is to God that we are so fast to whine, complain, and rant about our circumstances when there is much for which to be grateful. Think about your own life. What do you have to be grateful for? Write a list of things that you are grateful for today.
although we once were strangers,
you receive us as friends
and draw us home to you.
Set your living bread before us
that, feasting around your table,
we may be strengthened to continue the work
to which your Son commissioned us. Amen.
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