If Only We Had Died by the LORD's Hand in Egypt

16: 1-3

    DIG: Given the miraculous departure from Egypt, how do you account for the people complaining so soon? If they hadn’t grumbled, would God have heard them? Why or why not? What does that tell you about the relationship with the LORD?

   REFLECT: What does this passage teach us about the authority of Moses and God? About stress? Obedience? Trust? Who or what usually gets the brunt of your frustration? Why? One of the seven things that are detestable to God is a person who stirs up dissension among other believers (Proverbs 6:16-19). How are you doing?

    And the people of Isra'el arrived at Dophkah after a one-month journey. The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt (16:1). They had been on their journey from Egypt for one full month (12:2, 6, 29, 31). No sooner had they set up their tents than they began to grumble about being hungry. In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron (16:2). This becomes a familiar pattern. God performs miracles on behalf of the Israelites, and their reaction is to grumble.

    Again they failed their test of faith. They grumbled and regretted ever leaving Egypt. Like those with Stockholm Syndrome, they celebrated their captors rather than ADONAI, crying: If only we had died by ADONAI’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat, ate all the food we wanted like fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks onions and garlic (Numbers 11:5). They continued to lay it on thick by saying: But you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death (16:3). They were doing more groaning in the Desert of Sin than they did under Pharaoh! When people wish themselves back to Egypt (a life of worldliness and sin), they forget both the bitterness of the old life and the blessings of the new.300 Two points here. First, from all the accounts of their life in Egypt, we never get the impression that they had plenty enough to eat, so they were really exaggerating. And secondly, it wasn’t Moses and Aaron that led them out of Egypt. It was God. And He was about to graciously answer their grumbling with a gift from heaven.

    Are we not like the people of Isra'el? We often find ourselves in difficult situations and we grow anxious and look back, full of regrets and wish things had turned out differently. But we need to understand that God will test us as He tested Isra'el. These trials may have great benefits for us as believers, such as increasing our trust and dependence upon the LORD, or bringing us back to the godly way of living and thinking, or many other reasons. So let us not rebel when things get difficult, but let us go to God in prayer and serve Him with all our hearts, souls and minds.301


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