God’s care for His people is without question. That does not mean that He always gives us everything we ask for or that life will always be easy. Those are the promises of the false prophets of our day, not of the Bible. The most important thing we can draw from the reaction of Israel, as God brings them out of Egypt, is that God cares for His People faithfully, in spite of our unfaithfulness!
He Has Heard Your Complaints – SERMON AUDIO
Immediately after God saves His people and destroys their enemies (just the other side of the Red Sea) we read these words;
Exodus 14:31 “Thus Israel saw the great work which the LORD had done in Egypt; so the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD and His servant Moses.”
As we begin to read in Chapter 15 of Exodus, we see the people break out into a worship service as they celebrate their victory and God’s Great power, yet within three days of these great miracles and the great salvation that has been given to them by God, they seem to completely forget who He is;
Exodus 15:22-25 “So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23 Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah. 24 And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” 25 So he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet. There He made a statute and an ordinance for them, and there He tested them,”
Let’s not be too hard on them, maybe this was just a momentary lapse in their faith. After all, they had just seen God’s mighty arm deliver them with great judgments and profound miracles. Their enemies were utterly destroyed as they stood, completely unarmed on the shore of the Red Sea!
Exodus 16:2-3 Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3 And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
The miracles and the mighty power of God had apparently done nothing to bring faith to these people! Yer, in His own faithfulness, God carried them forward, feeding them with quail and manna and providing water from a rock. He endured their wickedness and folly for a thousand years as He prepared to hon0r His promise to their forefather, Abraham. Obedience was not in their nature, neither is it in ours! God tested them here to see (demonstrate to them!) that they were incapable of true obedience. God foretold that He would change that for them as He spoke through Jeremiah the Prophet;
Jeremiah 31:31-34 “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah– 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
Israel could not do what God required of them. They were sinful people! This was no surprise to God. But we, hard-hearted people, really struggle with the idea that we cannot pull it off. That God knew it is evident in the way the the Apostle Paul speaks of it in the Letter to the Galatians;
Galatians 3:7-17 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham. 10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT CONTINUE IN ALL THINGS WHICH ARE WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO DO THEM.” 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “THE MAN WHO DOES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM.” 13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 15 Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man’s covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. 16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “AND TO YOUR SEED,” who is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect.
Christ is the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham, all the way back in Genesis 12. He took the penalty of the broken law upon Himself so that we would not have to bear the condemnation of it. God put up with His rebellious people for 1,500 (Moses to Christ) years in order to keep His promise to Abraham! In order to keep the law for we who could not keep it ourselves. As we trust in what He has accomplished through Christ, we are given a new heart and an new Spirit that we can obey God out of love and gratitude. Not only does Christ bear our curse, but He gives us His perfect righteousness! (2 Corinthians 5:21). Can you trust a God who would go to that extreme to redeem and keep His people?
Romans 5:6-11 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
Yet, even now, we struggle at times to trust this God who has given His all for a bunch of traitors. God knows that this is the case as well. He has given us one another to encourage each other in the faith. The victory over sin is there and it is real, but until Christ returns, we too are being tested in the wilderness.
Hebrews 3:7-18 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “TODAY, IF YOU WILL HEAR HIS VOICE, 8 DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS IN THE REBELLION, IN THE DAY OF TRIAL IN THE WILDERNESS, 9 WHERE YOUR FATHERS TESTED ME, TRIED ME, AND SAW MY WORKS FORTY YEARS. 10 THEREFORE I WAS ANGRY WITH THAT GENERATION, AND SAID, ‘THEY ALWAYS GO ASTRAY IN THEIR HEART, AND THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN MY WAYS.’ 11 SO I SWORE IN MY WRATH, ‘THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.’ ” 12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “TODAY,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, 15 while it is said: “TODAY, IF YOU WILL HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS IN THE REBELLION.” 16 For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? 17 Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey?
Life will be hard, we will be tested in this life, but the God who saves us will bring us to the appointed end. If you only believe in God when life is easy then you won’t make it far! If you trust God to give you heaven, you also need to trust Him to get you there!
He Has Heard Your Complaints – SERMON AUDIO