Continuing a plan to get through the entire Bible in a year, follow as I journal through the reading. I have chosen a straightforward approach that begins in Genesis and ends in Revelation. This will not be an in-depth study or a comprehensive commentary. There are plenty of sources for such material. This is stage one Bible reading, taking the text at face value and sharing impressions.
Today’s reading comes from the book of Exodus, chapters 16 through 18, chronicling the immediate aftermath of the exodus from Egypt. Some impressions from the text:
- Two months along in their exodus from Egypt, the Israelites all but forgot what God had done for them. They began to remember their captivity through a lens of longing. “Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” To hear them say it, you might think their slavery were actually the lap of luxury.
- The manna which God provided for the Israelites to eat had a particular character which served a particular purpose. The manna would not last more than a single day, and any not gathered by midday would melt under the heat of the sun. This left the Israelites in the position of having to daily gather God’s bread. That was intentional, and illustrative of the believer’s call today. Each day, we must take in our daily bread from God’s word. There is no substitute, no reading ahead, no stocking up good deeds.
- The omer of manna which was kept with the testimony in the Ark of the Covenant would be a remarkable artifact if found. It would be fascinating to examine this bread from heaven and decipher its properties. No doubt it provided a dense source of nutrition and calories for the persistently traveling Israelites.
- Israel’s battle with Amalek was the first of many military encounters which were tipped miraculous in favor of the Israelites. When I read these accounts, I think of the battles in the “Lord of the Rings” films, where seemingly impossible parries and blocks from physically inferior heroes somehow win the day. This was — yet again — God glorifying his name by delivering the Israelites in a manner they could not take credit for.
- Jethro, no doubt prompted by God, proposed what was quite likely the world’s first republic. Israel had no earthly king at this time. God was their king. Moses served as judge over them, but deferred entirely to God. Jethro’s advice was to delegate judgeship over lesser matters to other men who served smaller jurisdictions. “So Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said. Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And they judged the people at all times. Any hard case they brought to Moses, but any small matter they decided themselves.”
Return soon as we continue our year-long journey through the text of the Bible.
Catch up on the previous entries:
Moses gets a mission from God. – Exodus 1-3
God makes his name known by plaguing Egypt.– Exodus 7-9
“Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously…” Exodus 13-15