Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 8
MANNA: GOD’S SAME GRACE SAVES US AND KEEPS US
Let’s go back to the Book of Exodus, Chapter 17. We come out of Chapter 16, where the children of Israel have been given the manna. If you can picture the Sinai Peninsula, and as the Israelites are making their way down that Peninsula toward Mt. Sinai, where most Bible Scholars feel was at the southern end of the Peninsula. They have been hungry and murmured, and God gave them the manna. Now they are thirsty again.
“And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink. Wherefore the people did chide (or argue) with Moses, and said, `Give us water that we may drink.’ And Moses said unto them, `Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD?’ And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, `Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?'”
Now, that must have been quite a group of people for Moses to put up with. In fact, at one point he said “God these are not my people, they are yours.” But you see Moses was only human, and I can see where he got exasperated.
“And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying `What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me.’ And the LORD said unto Moses, `Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go.'” Now, here is one of the most glorious verses in Scripture:
“Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb (Horeb and Mt. Sinai are one and the same. Also underline the word rock if you don’t mind marking in your Bible.); and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink….”
Of course, God was also aware of the fact that not only were the people thirsty, but also their livestock. So He supplied all of this water, and I believe it was like a river that flowed down that desert floor, and they all had plenty to drink. We have to identify the term rock. So come back to the New Testament to I Corinthians Chapter 10. Remember that all through Scripture, when the word rock is used in any symbolic setting, it will only refer to One Person and that person is Jesus The Christ. He is always the Rock. In another place He is called a stone of stumbling. We need to start in verse 1 to pick up the flow. Paul is writing to the believers at Corinth.
I Corinthians 10:1-4
“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud (the cloud that symbolized the very presence of Jehovah, by day, and that fire by night.), and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; (Manna) And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock (notice that the word rock here is capitalized.) that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.”
Now, there is another one in Matthew. It is a verse that, I think, is twisted all out of context, in order to make it say something that it doesn’t say. Again, simply because people do not maintain a Biblical rule of order. And that is when a word is used a particular way it is not used out of that context. Matthew Chapter 16, and most of you are so very familiar with it. I use it quite often to point out Peter’s confession – what was his mode of salvation, and that is verse 16, where he comes to the conclusion:
“And Simon Peter answered and said, `Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered and said unto him, `Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.'”
And again, we cannot comprehend spiritual truths unless God opens our understanding. That is just part of it. And that doesn’t take away our free will, or make us bound to a decision by God, that we will go to hell or Heaven. Nevertheless, before we can comprehend spiritual truths, God must open our understanding, even as Jesus said that God did here with Peter. Now verse 18, this is the verse I want you to see:
“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
There is a perfect example of using the term symbolically, Who is this Rock? Peter or Christ? Well Christ is, all the way through Scripture. How could the Scriptures suddenly make Peter the Rock? Well it doesn’t. The Rock referred to here upon which He will (future tense) build His Church is the only Rock in Scripture and that is Christ Himself. Now, let’s go back to Exodus 17, where this rock has been smitten.
There is also a great lesson in that as well, for you and I on this side of the work of the Cross. Remember, I’m talking about His death, burial, and resurrection. Why, or how, do you and I appropriate that finished work? Only by faith. But in order for us to appropriate these things by faith, what had to happen to Christ first? He had to suffer, and die. And according to the Old Testament, He was smitten. He was smitten for offenses. Keep that word in your mind when we get into the Book of Numbers (and you are all aware of the account), where the children of Israel are complaining again because of no water, and Moses is at the end of his patience. He takes his rod and contrary to God’s instruction, instead of speaking to the rock, he strikes it. And you don’t strike Christ twice, He has been smitten. The word in the Book of Hebrews over and over is “once.” He went to the Cross once, and He does not go again, and again, and again.
So we should always remember some of these basic truths of Scripture. After He has been smitten and has arisen from the dead victorious over sin and death, we don’t appropriate any thing more by another crucifixion, but now we appropriate it how? By fellowship, speaking, communication. That is why God has given us the power of prayer, that we can now speak with him, we can praise, and partition Him.
So, back to Exodus. Moses strikes the rock and out comes all this water. Then verse 8 will start out “Then came Amalek.” Now, you have all heard about the Amalekites, and who were the Amalekites? Amalek was the grandson of Esau. And the Amalekites became the continuous enemy of the Nation of Israel. Why do you suppose the Amalekites began to do battle with the Israelites at this point in time? Remember the setting: they are out there in the desert, there is very little water and it is a tremendous commodity. And the Amalekites see this abundance of water flowing out, as a result of Moses smiting the rock.
Now, it becomes warfare over what God has provided. And then, you bring this into your own everyday experience, Many of these things, like the Apostle Paul says, are written for our learning. Not for our doctrine so much, but our learning just practical experience. Just as soon as a person comes into that right relationship with God, and becomes a child of God, and we partake of that living water, what does the old flesh do? It begins to war. And the flesh wars against that new nature. The Amalekites are a picture of that, I think. They are a picture of the flesh warring against the Spirit. Here with Moses, we are not dealing with Grace, we are still with God dealing with Israel, and very soon into Law. Back here God would help them with their physical battles, but in our economy, how do we fight our battles? Spiritually. We don’t fight them with guns and swords, but in the realm of the Spirit. Now verse 8:
“Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said unto Joshua, `Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.’ So Joshua did… And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. You all know the story.
But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. And the LORD said unto Moses, `Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.’ And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi:” I have just thought of a verse so let’s turn to Zechariah Chapter 14:
“Behold, the day of the LORD cometh (remember this is prophecy about the battle of Armageddon), and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.”
“For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle (Do you have the picture? Lately in the news the world is just funneling arms and rockets and warfare material into the Middle East. And I don’t think they know why, except it makes for good economics. I think we see the same thing in our beloved America, How much of our economy rests on defense contracts? There is only one area of the world with the money to buy it all and that is the Middle East with all their oil money. So it is just a constant flow from all the nations of the world selling this war material to the Middle East. However, there is more to it than economics. The Sovereign God is still in control. But the day is coming when all the nations of the world will be gathered there for this last and final battle) and the city (Jerusalem) shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.”
“Then shall the LORD (the LORD is Jehovah in the Old Testament but in the New Testament it is Christ) go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.”
This is simply a reference of how many times in Israel’s history did God literally fight their battles. Now let’s come back to Exodus, as this is what made me think of Zechariah. Who really fought the battle against Amalek? – God did. God was in complete control using the Israelites. And this is why Moses in verse 15 built an altar and called it Jehovah-nissi: God is our Banner. In Chapter 18 all I would like to point out is this concept of first the natural and then the spiritual, and we see this all through Scripture. Here is another good example. Moses’ father-in-law Jethro, now comes on the scene, and he sees this multitude of Israelites and he see them besieging poor old Moses with one problem after another. and you read it in your own spare time. But Jethro tells Moses, “There is no way one man can do all of this alone. You must set up a system of dealing with their problems.”
“And when Moses’ father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, `What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even? (that is with their problems) And Moses said unto his father in law, `Because the people come unto me to inquire of God: When they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws.’ And Moses’ father in law said unto him, `The thing that thou doest is not good. 18 Thou wilt surely wear away,….'”
We would probably say today “Moses this is going to kill you.” Jethro, this Midianite Priest (I hesitate to call him a pagan, but I don’ t believe he is a believer in the God of Abraham, although he is a relative of Abraham) says.
“Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel,….”
(I want to tell you how to do this). But has God had anything to do with this? Now watch and see if you can find any place in the chapter that said “And the LORD said.” He is out of the picture completely. This is only a man speaking in the energy of the flesh, although it sounds very logical. There is nothing basically wrong with what Jethro is advising.
“And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do. Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, (Sounds good doesn’t it?) men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and ruler of tens:”
When they came out of Egypt they already had organization. They have a good system in place by tribes. But everything that old Jethro says just sounds so good. So verse 24:
“So Moses (What is the next word?) hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that he had said.”
This spiritual man Moses, who has such a close relationship with God, listens to this man; I guess I can call him pagan, and hope I am not wrong. Remember, God hasn’t said a word about it. This is all in the energy of the flesh. This is the natural. Now, let’s see the spiritual. Turn with me to Numbers Chapter 11:
“I am not able to bear all this people alone (this is in spite of the advice he got from Jethro), because it is too heavy for me. And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness.”
Old Moses had just about come to the end of his rope, hadn’t he? Now, here in verse 16 and 17 is the spiritual remedy:
“And the LORD said unto Moses, `Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel (Remember, 7 is the number of God), whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle (By now the Priesthood has been established and the tabernacle is in the midst of the camp) of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee.'”
“And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, (now, all of that power for leadership that Moses had, God is going to take some of it from him) and will put it upon them (the seventy); and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone.”
Now, do you see the difference? God has said he would come down and empower these 70 men, that they will have the same quality of spiritual leadership that Moses had from the beginning. None of that was indicated back there when Jethro came on the scene.
“And Moses let his father in law depart (He had given his advice; Moses took it for what it was worth, and it’s not long after that that God proposed His own solution); and he went his way into his own land.”
Now, as we come into Chapter 19, it is the month of June. Israel is gathered around Mt. Sinai, and God is getting ready to give them the Law and then the Tabernacle.