Message: Exodus 16 seems to be the first praise and worship song documented in scripture but also probably THE longest and wordiest song I have ever seen. Sarcastic me couldn’t help but wonder how they were all able to sing along with all of those words without the help of a projector screen. In a seriousness though, this chapter reminds me of the importance of celebrating what God has done in our lives. Sometimes it seems like we spend hours of our lives meditating on problems and praying for solutions, and when it resolves we might give a quick little “praise report” and move on to the next crisis. I wouldn’t say that Israel is the best positive example to follow, but in this case they had just watched God drown their captors into the Red Sea and they were celebrating well with song and dance. It really didn’t last long though because the next crisis was already lined up for them. Moses led them from the Red Sea to the wilderness of Shur and after three days they had not found any water. When they finally did find water, it was bitter and they couldn’t drink it. The people grumbled and complained so Moses cried out to the Lord and he gave him the solution. Who knew that throwing a tree into the water would make it drinkable? Not only that, God presented them a challenge with a big fat promise on it that if they would carefully obey the Lord, do what is right in his eyes, pay attention to his commands and keep all his statutes that he would not inflict on them any of the illnesses that were inflicted on the Egyptians. He introduced himself there as the God who heals. He put an extra cherry on top by leading them into a land with 12 springs of water and 70 date palms. I couldn’t help but notice that there was no mention of gratefulness or celebration there. Was this the beginning of entitlement???
Command: Carefully obey the Lord, do what is right in his eyes, pay attention to his commands, keep all his statutes and celebrate the victories!!
Promise: Just like the promise God made to Israel here, God has made promises to us throughout his word.
Warning: These promises come with very specific instructions, but for some reason we think God should hold up his end of the deal when we haven’t held up ours. When he does provide things out of his graciousness and compassion, we don’t tend to celebrate it or even thank him, but instead we become entitled!
Application: This is a huge reminder to me that my gratefulness and my celebration for the things God does in my life drives away an entitled attitude. As much as I want to believe I am a grateful person who celebrates victory, I see way too much of myself in this description of Israel. There is always a crisis of some kind that I am looking at, or a next step to the last victory that I am waiting to see. There are areas of my life that I am expecting God to be faithful in when I have not been faithful. I know he is good and compassionate, so I have this unspoken expectation that God should move in areas where I have been unwilling to do my part. In some areas, if I’m honest, I look at overwhelming issues in my life, and because I can’t accomplish it ALL by myself or at once, I act like I can’t accomplish ANY of it and God should just fix it for me. In some areas, I complain that the waters are bitter, but I don’t cry out to God like Moses did. I just complain about it. This is my reminder that God has promised a WHOLE LOT, but he made me a partner in those promises and if I want God to be able to do what I can’t do, I need to be willing to do what I CAN do.