Focus: As believers, God ledads us through periods of testing to teach us to trust in him and not in what we can see and have control over.
Function: To motivate the hearers to seek after God while trusting him to care for them.
Text: Exodus 15:22 - 17:7
I. Introduction A. The semester is over. What is the purpose of tests? B. This mornings text can help to answer that question. II. Exodus 15:22-25 A. There he “tested” them B. Was purpose to try and tempt them to mess up? 1. No. God was not angry when they grumbled. 2. So what is the purpose of God’s test? C. If I don’t do well on a test, is it the end of the world? No. Try again next time D. What God says next v.26 gives further light on the nature of his “test” 1. God wanted them to learn to give “earnest” heed (really listen) 2. ILL: Nursery full of babies, could tell which one was ours 3. We are to be tuned into God’s voice E. So, testing is for “learning” what his voice sounds like in order to listen to it!! F. Calls himself a “healer” What does that have to do with testing? III. What is a “healer” A. Definition of healer (Hebrew: rophe) 1. To mend, repair, or make whole 2. Examples: a. Hos 6:11 - God will “restore” the fortunes of Israel b. Jer 33:1-7 - Healing involves restoration of relation to God c. Hos 14:4 - I will heal their apostasy d. Jer 3:19-23 - (v.22) - I will heal your faithlessness B. “Heal” their faithlessness and make it faith-fulness (to make “whole”) C. So a “teacher” is a “healer” (we sometimes think of them as experts at torture) D. He is trying to teach them trust in him. E. Verse 27 - God leads them to an Oasis. He would not let them die F. Is the tests all over, are they ready to graduate? Let’s see III. Exod 16:1 A. (v.1-3) 2nd crisis - No food to eat. They grumble B. (v.4) God’s response is not anger. He is still “testing” them C. What is the purpose of this test? (v.5-12) 1. So that you will know that I am the Lord your God. What?????? 2. Haven’t these stupid people got it down yet???? IV. We are often very hard on Israel A. Not only oppressed without intervention almost all their life, most were probably henotheist 1. Most in teh ancient world believed in patron deities 2. Yahweh proved he was boss in Egypt, what about in the desert? 3. They still needed to learn that Yahweh was universal B. How many of you aspire to do missions in Africa, or New Guinea? 1. Many say no. Why? Snakes and lions and tigers and bears 2. Head hunter, cannibals, medicine men, disease, native food 3. Lo I am with you to the end of the earth. Will you go to end of earth and really believe this promise? C. I don’t think we would have faired a whole lot better than them. D. Are ther more tests while in the wilderness of Sin? VI. The Manna is especially significant - A memorial portion left before the Ark A. v.18 - Everyone had just the right amount when they gathered it B. The text says that they were to gather it every day, except Sabbath 1. They were not to keep any overnight for the next day (spoiled) 2. GAther double on day 6, rest on the Sabbath (no manna) C. (v.28-30) - For the first time, God rebukes them - What the big deal? D. Several things they are to learn 1. Daily trust (Lord give us our “daily” bread - daily trust) 2. The importance of rest -- WORKAHOLICS 3. Patience, not instant gratification. E. So, are they now ready for graduation? VII. (17:1) Next crisis, no water A. Hey, we’ve had this test already. We know the answers!!! B. Did they pass? (v.2-3) Test anxiety? Maybe a learning disablity? C. How did Moses react? (v.4) What I am going to do with these people! D. (v.5-7) God seemed to be a little more patient. He provides water E. God allows retakes of tests. --- But there is more going on here..... VIII. Dt 8:1-8 - Sheds light on what was going on here in the Wilderness A. v. 5 - Discipline - God was trying to teach them to trust in him B. Not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from his mouth 1. God’s word caused everything to come into being 2. When they come to the land of plenty, they not to forget where the abundance comes from, his word C. What about the word for us as Christians? IX. The “word” of God is very significant for us as Christians A. Jesus was also tested in the wilderness 1. Quoted Dt 8 - not bread alone, but by every “word” - trust in God 2. All substinence comes from the word of God, physical & spiritual B. John 6 - Jesus again in wilderness with a bunch of other people 1. Jesus out in the “wilderness” with 5,000 people, 2 fish, 5 loaves 2. He feeds them with their “fill of bread” 3. Jesus says “I am the bread of life that gives life”, and they grumble (v.41) (sound familiar?) 4. (v.47-50) - Jesus alludes to wilderness experience a. The concern is still “faith” even (v.47) b. Jesus is the living bread from Heaven. What that mean? 5. (v.63) Explains that the bread is “his words” a. True life not come from physical bread b. True life comes from his words (no live by bread alone) 6. Still needed to learn to tune into God’s voice and trust him C. What about us? X. We are still in the wilderness A. We have passed through the water and are in our period of “testing” B. Mt 6:25-34 - Seek first “his” kingdom, God will take care of the rest C. For now, trust in him - He is our healer, the great Physician 1. Give earnest heed to his voice (Ex 15:26) 2. Seek first his kingdom (Mt 6:33) - It’s the doctors orders D. Rubber meets the road. What that mean? 1. How do you give earnest heed to his voice? a. If lkive by every word of God, do you know word? b. Do you listen to him even if means giving up control? 2. How do you seek first his kingdom? a. Do you seek first his kingdom, or your accomplishments? b. Make mental list of the week and what you seek after 3. What is your “ambition” in life? Perspective of a life of trust: 1 Cor 5:7 - “we walk by faith, not by sight.....therefore we have as our “ambition”...to be pleasing to him Phil 3:18-19 Phil 4:11-13 - I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH HIM WHO STRENGHENS ME. (He is our healer. Man shall not live be bread alone, but by his word. Trust him today, and you’ll be ready to graduate)