Message: The processes we are required to walk through are designed by God but enforced by authority figures and circumstances in our lives. They don’t make sense to us but they teach us valuable things we need to learn so when we complain about these processes and people we are actually complaining against God. When we try to manipulate and, take matters into our own hands, our efforts will not prosper-even if at first it seems they do. Some of the Israelites collected extra manna and they probably thought they got one over on God by disobeying his instructions, but it later developed worms and it smelled bad.
Command: Follow God’s instructions! God gave very specific instructions to the Israelites about how and when they were to collect the manna. When they tried to collect extra or hold extra to the side for later, it molded and worms grew in it. It’s foolish to think that we can cheat to gain something extra or to ensure God’s provision when all that we have came from him in the first place!
Promise: God heard their complaints and still had mercy on them by providing them with meat and bread.
Warning: When we are complaining against authorities both natural and spiritual in our lives, we are actually complaining against God because he put them there. If we don’t trust the process of God’s instructions our efforts to handle them our own way will not prosper.
Application: There is so much to draw from this! The very first verse of Exodus 17 fascinated me when I read that the Israelites wandering in the “wilderness of sin” was transliterated from a shortened version of “Sinai”. They literally wandered around in the wilderness while complaining about Moses and Aaron because they didn’t trust the process that God was talking them through. I related to this way more than I wanted to and I felt convicted that when I complain about the systems and the authorities in my life, I am really complaining against God because he put them in place and he requires me to learn to trust him through the process of it. The Israelites probably didn’t have the nerve to complain about God, but they felt pretty safe blaming their uncertainties on Moses and complaining about him. This wasn’t Moses’s plan, and he didn’t want to be chosen for it anyway, so in their deception they didn’t realize their complaints were really against God. Even still he met their needs by providing meat and bread.