ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH GOD’S GIFT
Exodus 16:1-7, 14-15; Numbers 11:1-9
Exodus 16:1-7 (NKJV)
Bread from Heaven
16 And they journeyed from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came to the Wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they departed from the land of Egypt. 2 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.”
4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not. 5 And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.”
6 Then Moses and Aaron said to all the children of Israel, “At evening you shall know that the Lord has brought you out of the land of Egypt. 7 And in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord; for He hears your complaints against the Lord. But what are we, that you complain against us?”
Exodus 16:14-15 (NKJV)
14 And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground. 15 So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was.
And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat.
Numbers 11:1-9 (NKJV)
The People Complain
11 Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; for the Lord heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the Lord burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp. 2 Then the people cried out to Moses, and when Moses prayed to the Lord, the fire was quenched. 3 So he called the name of the place Taberah, because the fire of the Lord had burned among them.
4 Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: “Who will give us meat to eat? 5 We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; 6 but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!”
7 Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its color like the color of bdellium. 8 The people went about and gathered it, ground it on millstones or beat it in the mortar, cooked it in pans, and made cakes of it; and its taste was like the taste of pastry prepared with oil. 9 And when the dew fell on the camp in the night, the manna fell on it.
Do you know what the most despised gift that is given during the Christmas season in the United States is? Is it a new tie? No! Is it a new pair of running shoes? Is it a new hand-knitted sweater? No! What it is, is fruitcake! Lots of people give those nasty things to lots of other people who hate them. They hide them in their closets, use them to scotch their cars tires, use them as doorstops, save them up and use them to brick their houses, throw them at stray dogs, or best of all, the mean one will re-wrap them and give them to some other poor, unsuspecting person. So their Christmas celebration can be ruined too!
But, when someone gives you a fruitcake, you take it don’t you? You even say, “Thank you!” I hope you ask for forgiveness! We accept it graciously, and even tough we may not like fruitcake, we are thankful for the expression of love from the giver. That is what grateful people do, even with a gift they do not like.
But, have you ever been around someone who received a gift from someone else and rudely rejected it out of hand? I have seen that happen and it is a hurtful thing to watch. It breaks the giver’s heart! It is amazing the people can be so cruel and mean, but they can!
The passage in Numbers 11:1-9 shows the people of Israel to be ungrateful for the generous gift of God. They reject Him and His gift! It is a sad tale of pride, arrogance and foolishness. Yet, I want to look into it today, because I fear that there may be people in this very group who have and are rejecting God and the gracious gift of salvation.
I want to take these passages and show to you a people who were not satisfied to receive the gift of God. I want you to see what happened to them and what it means for us today. Let’s think for a while about this question: Are You Satisfied With God’s Gift?
I. Ex. 16:2-3 THEY ENCOUNTERED A GRAVE DILEMMA
A. As the children of Israel journey toward Canaan, they meet with a legitimate need. They needed food! Mankind has three basic physical needs. He needs food, water and shelter. These people had shelter, but they lacked water and food. Over two million people need to eat and drink. This was no small problem, for they were pilgrims, hence they could not raise crops. Their livestock could never have reproduced at a rate sufficient to sustain them. They were journeying in a desert environment, so water would have been a constant problem for them.
They were helpless and the future, at least to them, appeared hopeless! They simply could not help themselves! They needed divine intervention to be able to remain alive. They could not save themselves!
(Note: They had a legitimate need, but they tried to meet it in an illegitimate fashion. Instead of trusting God, they murmured and complained against Moses and Aaron.)
B. In this setting, the children of Israel are a good picture of lost humanity. As lost people live their day to day lives, they have needs. In our country, most people can take care of the basic needs of life for themselves. Most folks can provide themselves with food, water and shelter. Of course, I know that God is behind them being able to do all of that.
However, they have other needs that they can never meet on their own! Food, water and shelter may get you through this life, but they cannot help you in the afterlife! Lost people need spiritual bread and spiritual water. They need a spiritual shelter for their souls and they, out of their own resources, can never provide what they need.
C. Just like the children of Israel, lost people seek to meet the legitimate needs of their soul through illegitimate means. People try to scratch the itch within their soul by moving deeper into sin. They try to fill the void in their hearts with money, good times, friends, sex, drugs, drink and many other things that can never satisfy. What they all need is divine intervention!
They need the scales removed from their eyes, 2 Cor. 4:4! They need the quickening power of the HOLY Spirit to operate within their hearts, Eph. 2:1. They need the provisions that only God can provide!
II. Ex. 16:4-7 THEY EXPERIENCED A GRACIOUS DELIVERANCE
A. They Experienced God’s Mercy – Even though they are after help in the wrong way, God still moves in power to meet their need! What a picture of grace and mercy! These people deserved judgment and wrath, yet God reached out to them in love, grace and compassion. He extended divine grace to them, when they deserved something far different!
(Note: Every person who is saved today, or who will ever be saved in the future, has received far better than we deserved! In fact, the Bible is clear that we all deserve to be in Hell, Psa. 9:17; Rom. 6:23. But, God is a God of grace and love! You see, in spite of our sinful condition, God loved us anyway, Jer. 31:3. He proved this love by the gift of His Son, Jesus, on Calvary, John 3:16, Rom. 5:6-9. He demonstrated His grace toward us when He sent conviction to our hearts, John 6:44.
The fact that Jesus Christ went to Calvary, died in agony there, arose in victory three days later, ascended back to Heaven as our great High Priest and promises to save all who will come to Him, Rev. 22:17; Rom. 10:13; Matt. 11:28; John 6:37!
Friends, never doubt the mercy and grace of God! It is the only reason who can be here today! It is the only reason you have made it this far in this life. It is the only chance you have of salvation! There is no doubt that God loves you. The question is, do you love Him?)
B. They Experienced God’s Manna – As I just said, God moved in response to their need and sent them exactly what they needs. He sent them bread from Heaven. He sent them the manna! This bread, that lay upon the ground in the morning for 40 years, sustained them as they traveled toward the promised land.
Evidently, the Manna was everything they needed for good health and satisfaction. Just what they needed, was just what God sent to them!
(Note: In the Manna, we can see a clear picture of Jesus Himself. He even compared Himself to the Manna in John 6:35. Notice quickly the way the Manna points ahead to Jesus Christ, the genuine Bread from Heaven:
1. It Was Small – Exodus 16:14 – This speaks of Christ’s humility.
2. It Was Round – Exodus 16:14 – This speaks of Christ’s eternal nature, John 1:1.
3. It Was White – Exodus 16:31 – This reminds us of the sinless, holy nature of the Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Pet. 2:22; 2 Cor. 5:21.
4. It Came At Night – Exodus 16:13-14 – Jesus came to a world lost in spiritual darkness and gave them light and life.
5. It Was Misunderstood By Those Who Found It – Exodus 16:15 – They called it Manna which means, “What is it?” Jesus was misunderstood by the very people He came to save – John 1:11; John 10:20.
6. It Was Sufficient For Every Man’s Need – Exodus 16:17-18 – This reminds us that Jesus is the all-sufficient Savior. He meets the need of man’s soul. Some go deep in the Christian life, others get in but chose to play around the edges, but wherever you find yourself, as long as it is in Jesus, you will find that He is sufficient to save your soul.
7. It Was Sweet To The Taste – Exodus 16:31 – Those who partook of the Manna found it sweet and satisfying. By the same token, all those who receive Jesus as their Savior find Him to be sweet to the soul and satisfying to the life. That is why we are encouraged by David to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalm 34:8.
8. It Was To Be Kept And Passed On To Others – Exodus 16:32 – Jesus is the same way, He is to be shared with those who cross our path.
9. There is more that could be said about The Manna, but that is enough to let us see that it is an excellent type of the Lord Jesus.)
C. Just as He did for Israel, God has provided us with everything we need for good spiritual health and perfect satisfaction. Jesus, and Jesus alone, can save and satisfy the soul the soul, Acts 4:12.
III. Num. 11:4-9 THEY EXHIBITED A GREAT DISAPPOINTMENT
A. V. 4-9 Their Judgment Of The Gift – By this time the people have been eating Manna for nearly two years. Everyday, except the Sabbath, the Manna was there on the dew when they awoke. The Manna had fed them, sustained them and had met their need for food. Someone has said that it would have taken approximately 240 box car loads of Manna per day to feed two million people! Yet, God sent it everyday, faithfully, sufficiently and graciously.
But, Israel did not appreciate the gracious gift of God! Verse 4 tells us that the mixed multitude wanted more! The Israelites picked up on the refrain and joined in with them in demanding meat.
Verse 5 says that they looked back on their days in Egypt and the foods they had there! They esteemed the provisions of Egypt superior to the gifts of Eternal God!
Verse 6 they compared the Manna to nothing! They despised it and wanted no more of it. They wanted meat to satisfy their lusts and they were ungrateful for the manna which God, in His grace, had given them!
Verse 8 tells us that they tampered with the Manna in many ways to make it more appealing to their taste, but their efforts only robbed the Manna of its sweetness and left it tasting like oil. When it was tampered with, it lost its ability to satisfy!
(Note: What a picture of the Gospel of Christ! When the Gospel is accepted and taken in just as God gave it, it has the power to bring life out of death. It has the power to convert the sinner and save the soul. It has the power to alter one’s eternity. It have the power to make all the difference in the world!
But, when it is tampered with, it loses it’s power to save! When the Gospel is added to, or when parts are taken away from it, it cannot convert the soul! Yet, so many people and churches today and guilty of tampering with the Gospel.
They grind it, they beat it, the bake it all in an effort to make it more appealing to the flesh! But, it will never work! The Gospel was never sent to make man feel better about himself! The Gospel was given to show man that he is a sinner in need of a Savior!
The Gospel was given to show man that he is guilty before God and is in danger of the judgment of God in the fires of Hell! The Gospel is not pleasing to the flesh! It is openly opposed to the flesh. It stands in sharp contrast to the world!
The demands of the Gospel are clear: “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”, Acts 20:21! If you want the salvation God has to give, then you will come to Him on His terms and in His timing!
(Ill. Sinner’s prayers, decision cards, shaking the preacher’s hand, joining a church, being baptized, etc, is not part of the Gospel! Salvation is a lost sinner turning from his sins and placing his faith in Christ Jesus alone for the saving of his soul, Acts 16:31.)
(Note: People and churches and denominations can alter the Gospel message anyway they wish, but they rob the power from the Gospel when they do! (Ill. Denominations and choices about homosexuals!)
This thing is bigger than what version of the Bible someone uses. It is bigger than women wearing pants to church, how long a man wears his hair, whether he has earrings or not, or what kind of music they use in their services. This issue is about the Gospel! When we change the Gospel in any fashion, it loses its power to save the soul!
The Gospel of grace is just what the name implies! It is God moving on a lost heart, calling that person to come to Him by faith and when they do, He eternally saves them and changes their life and eternal destiny, Eph. 2:1-10!)
B. Their Judgment By The Giver – God was not pleased by what they did! He answered their request for meat, v. 18-20, and He judged them severely for their lack of gratitude for His gracious provisions, v. 31-35. It may seem harsh to us, but what these people were saying was, “We don’t like how God is treating us! We would be better off without Him! We don’t want His Manna and we don’t want Him!” Their rejection brought a high price. Many of the people perished because they rejected Him and His precious gift!
(Note: Here is the application. You can have another plan if you want it. You don’t have to receive Jesus. You don’t have to be satisfied with Him. You can modify God’s Gospel anyway you wish. But, know this, everything you try will fail and in the end, you will still face the judgment of Almighty God!
There is only one way to avoid facing God in judgment. That way is for you to receive His gift! I am talking about Jesus Christ! He is bread for the soul, John 6:36. He is water for the soul, John 7:37-38; John 4:13-14. He is the only shelter from the wrath of God, 1 John 5:12; Phil. 3:9.)
(Note: Not everyone in Israel was guilty of this sad show of the flesh. There were some people in the camp who quietly gathered the Manna, thanked God for His provisions and lived. Thank God, there are still some even in this godless day who have partaken of the Bread of Heaven and are saved and satisfied in Jesus! What about you?)
God is offering us something far more precious than a fruitcake, or a new tie, or a new pair of running shoes. He is offering every lost person in the world the opportunity to be saved.
He is offering you the opportunity to come to Jesus Christ, receive Him by faith and have your sins forgiven. He is offering you life! He holds out His hand and extends the offer to you. What will you do about it?
Will you receive Him, or will you reject Jesus and His death on the cross? Will you come to God, or will you continue on the road to Hell?
If God is calling you to come, then you do that. You come to Him and receive the gift! Don’t wait until you face Him in judgment, for then it will be too late!