The rest of Exodus 16 deals with the institution of a pre-Sinai Sabbath and the people’s response to this. I believe that the same theme of first half of the chapter can be easily brought over and extended into the focus on the manna and Sabbath. That is, we still learn here that true saints believe that God alone can satisfy their greatest desires.
The provision of food is the demonstration of the LORD’s covenantal presence and glory. It is to be a manifestation of God’s care for his people. It is the LORD who gives this food to his people, and the gift of food from God is intended to reiterate his love for them. The bread comes from God. It comes from heaven. The message of this story, the Lord’s message in the miracle of the manna is, “I am with you. You can trust me. Rely on me. Lean into me. I will sustain you. You can know that I will never let you down. I will keep my promises to you. You can be assured that I am your God and you are my people.” That is, true saints believe that God alone can satisfy their greatest desires.
The real force of the story is unveiled in the second part of v 25: There the LORD made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them. The LORD was leading his people. He was the one who led them to Marah. The LORD was the one who, in their desperate need for water, brought them first to the bitter waters. But v 25 is the divine perspective on these earthly affairs. Marah was a test. The Lord was trying his people to see if they would trust him. Thus the lesson from God’s Word is, in times of great difficulty, we must trust the Lord.
What do you do when you realize that God has saved you? You sing. Brothers, God’s people sing. In Gen 4, we learn that Jubal made musical instruments. Job mentions singing a handful of times. But this is the first time that singing appears canonically in the Scriptures. How appropriate that, after such a monumental event displaying God’s covenant love, that it is here that we see his people joining in song. The central point from this text for us is simply this: Sing to the LORD. But when I say that this passage urges us to sing to the LORD, I am getting after something more fundamental than mere singing. Indeed, I want us to have the heart to sing to God. My concern is that there is in each of our hearts joyful affections in Christ our Savior.
Today, we continue this exploration of the glory of God at the Red Sea. If God revealed to Moses that his purpose at the Red Sea was to get glory, he wants us to see his glory in this pivotal biblical event. So let’s attend God’s glory as highlighted by the Spirit of God who inspired Moses to write this history, this time in the Red Sea crossing itself.
The Lord himself tells us what the purpose of the Red Sea episode is. This is in v 4b: I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and all the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD (cf. v 17). The episode at the Red Sea, just like the plagues before it and the Exodus, is really all about God’s glory. God’s purpose in the salvation of his people at the Red Sea is also that Israel would know and glorify the Lord. And the Holy Spirit inspired Moses to write this account at the Red Sea so that we too see the glory of God and better love and believe him.
In our text for this Lord’s Day sermon, we see the Lord back up front and center. Moses wants us to see the care and love of God as his newly redeemed people depart for Canaan. How does God show his shepherding love for his people?
We have considered the Exodus from two aspects: what it teaches us about our Redeemer God and the response the redeemed ought to offer their God. We find these responses given by the Israelite’s example and the demands God lays out for them. The Exodus means that God is saving a people for himself. He wants the Hebrew people to know Him. He will dwell with this people and be their God. This means that things must be different for the Israelites. This week, we look at two more responses of redeemed people to their Redeemer.