All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. - 2 Timothy 3:16-17
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A Patient God
Based on Exodus 15–17

The ancients attribute everything that happens on earth to the gods. All conflicts are between the gods, therefore, the most powerful god is considered the true god.

The Lord reveals Himself as the true God to His people by defeating the Egyptian gods during the plagues, by freeing them in the Exodus, and by drowning Pharaoh’s army at the Red Sea. But He does not reveal His traits as a Holy God until the Israelites journey to Sinai.

Water

They travel three days into the wilderness of Shur without finding water—a life or death issue for them and their animals—and through this God tests them and begins to develop their faith. Reaching Marah, they find water, but it is bitter.

They complain against Moses, who cries out to God. Then, in His patience, He commands Moses to cast a tree into the water, turning it sweet. This is imagery of the original tree of life. God provides an option, and if they will follow Him and are obedient, He will not send any “diseases” (plagues) on them, as He did with the Egyptians.

Next they come to the oasis of Elim, with its twelve wells and seventy palm trees—the exact numbers of the twelve tribes and the seventy persons who arrived in Egypt with Jacob. Again, this imagery is not wasted on the Israelites.

Food, and More Water

In the wilderness of Sin the Israelites again complain of the hardship and wish they’d died in Egypt. They long for the pots of meat and plentiful bread, and again, with patience and mercy, God furnishes quail for meat in the evening and manna for bread in the morning.

When they see the food, they exclaim: “Manna,” literally, “What is it? The manna is white and small, like coriander seed. It has the flavor of wafers and honey, according to the ancient Greek translation. The Lord stipulates that about two quarts must be gathered per person each morning. Any extra will spoil—except on the sixth day, when a double portion is gathered for the Sabbath. The Lord also commands them to put a pot of manna aside and save it to be placed in front of the Ten Commandments in the Ark of the future Tabernacle.

After leaving the wilderness of Sin, the Israelites camp in Rephidim, where there is no water, and complain again. This time the Lord orders Moses to strike the rock in Horeb (Sinai) with his staff, and water rushes out. The place receives the name Massah and Meribah because they tempted the Lord, and murmured.

Enemies

Next, the Amalekites, descendants of Esau, attack the Israelites led by Joshua. Moses stands at the top of the hill holding his hands up to God in Heaven. As long as his hands are outstretched to God, Israel prevails; but when in weariness they’re lowered, Amalek prevails. Soon Aaron and Hur have Moses sit on a rock and support his hands until Amalek is defeated. Moses builds an altar and calls it “The-Lord-Is-My-Banner.”

The patience of God toward His stubborn and murmuring people is an amazing divine revelation. Instead of always punishing Israel for their murmurings, He patiently supplies their needs and protects them, ever attempting to grow their faith and reveal His holiness to them.

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