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Summary of the Journey of the Israelites from Egypt to Canaan

Quiet time alone with God during the day is much needed to grow and rest spiritually. It allows fellowship to be made to God that can only be made with intention. Upon reading through Exodus 16 this morning for my quiet hour, I ventured into the story of the Israelites wandering through the Wilderness of Sin after departing from the Red Sea and how God supplied Manna from heaven for them for 40 days as they walked through the vast wilderness as a way of testing the Israelites and to humble them. This post will focus on a k Exodus 16:19-23 and form a summary of the journey of the Israelites from Egypt to Canaan..

Devotional Reading

"Then Moses told them, 'Do not keep any of it until morning.' But some of them didn't listen and kept some of it until morning. But by then it was full of maggots and had a terrible smell. Moses was very angry with them. After this the people gathered the food morning by morning, each family according to its need. And as the sun became hot, the flakes they had not picked up melted and disappeared. On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much as usual--four quarts for each person instead of two. Then all the leaders of the community came and asked Moses for an explanation. He told them, 'This is what the LORD commanded: Tomorrow will be a day of complete rest, a holy Sabbath day set apart for the LORD. So bake or boil as much as you want today, and set aside what is left for tomorrow" (Exodus 16:19-22, NLT).

Historical Context Summary of the Journey of the Israelites From Egypt to Canaan

Seen from my previous post, "The Account of the Exodus," the book of Exodus is believed by scholars to have been written between 1450-1410 B.C. This particular passage of the book details the Israelites journey through the wilderness of Sin after they had crossed the Red Sea and God had drowned Pharaoh and his army.

The Exodus had occurred toward the end of Chapter 12 and the destruction of the Egyptian army occurred in Chapter 14. At the beginning of chapter 15, the Israelites sing a psalm of deliverance to God and towards the end of the chapter, it is mentioned that Moses then led the people into the desert of Shur where they traveled for three days without water. They arrived at an oasis that was later named Marah, meaning bitter, since the water was too bitter to safely drink. The Israelites complained to Moses that it would have been better to have stayed in Egypt than to die in the wilderness, being ungrateful for the deliverance that they had finished singing about earlier.

They journeyed then to Elim where 12 springs and 70 psalm trees were found and there they camped. From here, they journeyed through the wilderness of Sin, between Elim and Mount Sinai. The details of this journey might seem overbearing or not worth noting, but there are always reasons God reveals (or sometimes, hides) details of a journey. I'll attach a video to this post detailing the journey. In Exodus 16:4, God tells Moses that He will provide manna for the Israelites and gave Moses specific details on how the Israelites were supposed to gather the food.

"Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Look, I'm going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go down and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they will gather food, and when they prepare it, there will be twice as much as usual" (Exodus 16:4-5, NLT).

Moses instructs the Israelites that God will provide meat in the evening and bread in the morning. He then directs the people to present themselves before God as He has heard their complaining. Upon hearing the Israelites, God gives this second decree to Moses below.

"I have heard the Israelites' complaints. Now tell them, 'In the evening you will have meat to eat and in the morning you will have all the bread you want. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God'" (Exodus 16:11-12, NLT).

From this decree, Moses instructs each household to gather as much as it needs, two quarts (this is an Old Testament measuring system; In the Hebrew, this is understood as an omer, about 2.2 liters) for each person in their tent. Here brings us to the devotional reading text mentioned at the beginning of the post. Upon seeing the bread in the morning, the Israelites didn't know what to call the substance at first and named it "manna," Hebrew for "what is it?".

Above video by posted by The Ryan Mauro Show on Youtube.

The Israelites didn't listen fully to the instruction of God and had gathered more than they needed and God allowed their feast to turn sour, filled with maggots and inedible, as a visual representation of how God views their sin. There is much to learn from this passage alone in Scripture. For more on the details of manna, visit Bible Study Tools article entitled "Manna" below.

Lessons from Biblical History

It is often said that "when history is not listened to, people are doomed to repeat it." While this is true, it is also true that when one finds satisfaction with sin, they are doomed to run back to it. Even for the Christian, sin is still prevalent in life due to the fallen nature of humanity. The difference is that for the Christian, they can rest assured that this battle of sin reigning in life has already been won due to Christ's sacrifice on the Cross if they truly believe in the God who fulfilled the debt for them. However unfortunate, oftentimes even the Christian will choose sin over God. Ray Comfort said it best in his book, "How to Bring Your Children to Christ. . . And Keep Them There."

"Explain that Jesus said we should love God so much as all of our other affections--for our parents, siblings, and even our life--should seem like hatred compared to the love we have for the God who gave our loved one and our life to us (see Luke 14:26). It has been rightly said that if the greatest Commandment is to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength (see Mark 12:30), then the greatest sin is the failure to do so. To help your children understand what this means, have them give you a toy or other small gift. Then pretend to love the gift more than you love the giver. Tell the giver to go away, because you want to spend time with the gift. Explain that is is what we have done with God. He has showered us with gifts--giving us our life, freedom, food, family, eyes, ears, and a mind with which to think--and yet we love all these gifts while ignoring the Giver. We show what we truly love by how we spend our time and attention." --Comfort, Ray. "How to Bring Your Children to Christ . . . And Keep Them There," Genesis Publishing Group; Bartlesville, Ok. 2005. Page 94. Print.

To highlight the above message and the devotional text, I'll tell a real story about cleaning my husband and I did yesterday.

Textual Application

This story is in no way taking away from scripture. It instead will highlight the above illustration.

Yesterday, my husband and I had finished eating dinner and cleaned up the kitchen and the dining room. We then proceeded to get things ready to go fishing at a nearby dock. Upon inspecting his fishing rod, which had been stored by a trash can by accident, my husband found that there were dead maggots and spider webs on it. As we went to clean the rod and apply a new line, we found that there was an unbearable stench in our garage from the garbage. Wheeling out the trash can and opening the lid, there was an infestation of maggots and flies with an aroma that would be enough to make the most seasoned vomit, awaiting us.

After dawning gloves and a mask, my husband went to cleaning the trash can as smells have a particular effect on women that are pregnant, much in my case. After assisting him, we had to double bag our trash after stripping the trash bin clean and spraying it out with water. God had a lesson in this for us that day.

After cleaning and getting into the car to go get bug spray to spray around the perimeter of our house since we also found we had an ant issue, my husband stated that he felt God had a lesson in the cleaning. Image the trash can as sin and we are the maggots. God sees sin as viler as we view trash or the smell of it. Much too often, we are like the maggots that feed continuously on the trash, believing we are filling ourselves when in reality we don't see the pit we are stuck in. God is the one that has to step in and rinse out the situation and deliver us from the sin, cleansing us from our impurity. When we think of ourselves as higher, remember all have fallen short.

Closing Thoughts

The Israelites disobeyed God and took more for themselves than what was needed in Exodus 16. They complained God would let them die in the wilderness and would not deliver them, yet were talking about a God that heard their cries in Egypt and delivered them from their enemies. Much like the Israelites, we can be ungrateful and scornful towards God, caring more about the blessings that are given rather than the Giver. When we don't love God more than anything we have on earth, we are committing the greatest sin for everyone has fallen short of the glory of God and there is not one person who is holy enough to save themselves. Let us not take for granted the blessings that are bestowed.

For similar articles, see the below publications.

  • Restoration Promised

  • The Hush of 2020

  • Tested by Fire

  • American Gospel

  • Through the Valleys

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