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God, through Moses, had already led the people out of Egypt and through the sea. God loved His children, and He wanted to teach them to trust, day by day by day, and walk with Him step by step by step, just like in the Garden of Eden. They didn’t have to know ahead of time how God would work things out — just that God would work things out.
So next He led them to… a desert.
Remember that tall cloud and fire that had led them through the sea? That tall cloud would lead them day by day in the desert, too. If the tall cloud stopped, the people stopped. If the tall cloud started moving again, the people packed up camp and started moving again, too. He led them just where He wanted them. God leading — perfectly cool, huh?
But this was a desert, which was not always feeling so cool. In fact, it was hot. It was dry. And soon the millions of people started to get thirsty. When they finally found some water, it tasted so bad that no one could drink it.
This sounds like the perfect opportunity to trust God, right? Do you think they trusted? No. Sadly, they didn’t. They whined, cried, panicked and pouted. It had only been three days since they had walked through the sea, and here they were fussing again, “Moses isn’t doing a good job. Waaa, Waaa, Waaa. How are we going to get water?”
Moses continued to love and be patient with the fussy people, even though they were saying mean things about him. Moses talked to God about the problem for them, and God showed Moses how to make the water taste sweet by throwing a tree into the water. Hooray! Sweet water!
Now everyone was happy again and continued across the desert following the tall cloud and fire.
But, it was not very long before the millions of people started to get hungry. Another perfect opportunity to trust God, right? Do you think they did? No, they didn’t. Instead they whined, cried, panicked and pouted. “Moses is trying to let us die out in the desert. We should have stayed in Egypt where we had big pots of soup and bread!”
Again, Moses talked to God about the problem. Of course, this issue of food was really not an issue for God — the real problem was the people’s hearts, not the food. God really just wanted them to see they needed more than just bread to live — they needed Him to live. But so far, they weren’t understanding this. It seems it was not occurring to them to just ASK God for the things they needed. They were just fussing at Moses.
But God knew they needed food, so He told Moses, “I’ll make it rain bread from Heaven for the people every day. Every day they can go out and collect just what they need for that day, and no extra. (Except the day before the Sabbath — that day they could collect two days’ worth.) That’s how I will know if they will trust and obey Me.”
And bread from Heaven was exactly what happened. A white flaky food appeared with the dew every morning. The people named it Manna. They would collect just what they needed every day and make bread or porridge with it. God had provided again! And He would continue to provide just what the people needed, day by day by day.
Later, the people got thirsty again and cried about not having water. When they cried about water, God told Moses to hit a rock with his staff, and when he did, water gushed out of the rock.
God wanted the people to trust that He would take care of them each day. He didn’t say, “I’ll dump tons and tons of food down, and I want you to store it up for the next year.” Nope, God wanted to take care of their needs, every day, one day at a time. Just like a loving Daddy takes care of his children’s needs each and every day.
That sounds like how God led the people with the tall cloud and fire, too, doesn’t it? That’s because that’s how God is! He’s a loving Daddy who leads and feeds His Children day by day by day.
You understand this, don’t you? As a child, you know it’s not your job to worry about what you are going to eat or drink or where you are going to go and what you are going to do. Your dads and moms take care of that for you, and you follow their lead. Pretty special, huh?
The people had many other perfect opportunities to trust God in the desert, but sadly, they didn’t. When they weren’t whining about water, they were crying about bread. When they weren’t crying about bread, they were pouting about meat! When, oh when, would these people finally trust God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength?
So yes, Moses had to be very loving and long-suffering to help deliver his brothers to the Promised Land. And it’s not like Moses had all the answers to take care of millions of people in a desert, either. But, Moses believed in God, and so he led the people just one day at a time. Moses had learned and changed a lot. He was no longer that young fella who thought he could just rush in and be a hero. Now, he humbly trusted God to help him, day by day by day. Moses believed YAHWEH, the CREATOR and ONE TRUE GOD.
The next time you are tempted to whine, cry, panic, or pout — like when you’re thirsty, or can’t do something you want to do, or you’re really hot — please don’t be a whiny, pouty person like these people were! Trust God, without fear, without doubt, without hesitation, without complaint, and without pouting.