July 7, 2019

Wander and Whine

And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not. — Exodus 16:2-4
Accompanying Sermon

In Retrospect

  • When Moses responded in conversations with YHWH in the early chapters in Exodus, what was his general tone?
  • What did the Israelites just experience in Exodus 14 and 15?

Community Reading

Exodus 16:10–18, Exodus 17:1–7

Begin Study

The Israelites enter the wilderness for the first time. Compared to Egypt, the breadbasket of the Mediterranean, entire families find themselves without food and water—a very scary situation. How will they respond? Will they use these “opportunities” to strengthen their faith, or to demonstrate their faithlessness? The New Testament writers use their response to these tests as a practical example for our daily living. We can learn a lot about ourselves by how we face everything from inconveniences to outright disasters. This story provides an opportunity for us to learn how we should view our trials and see how God provides.

Review Questions

  • Read Exodus 15:24, 16:2-3, 17:1-3. What were they complaining about and who were they complaining to? According to Exodus 16:8, who were they really complaining about?
  • Read Exodus 15:25; 16:11-13; 17:6. How does God respond to their grumbling in each situation? What does this tell us about God?
  • What are common triggers for grumbling in your life? Where do you typically do it most and why? Do you grumble with others or on your own?  
  • Read 1 Corinthians 10:1-4. This passage seems unusual since it is linking two very different times. Who was the rock and what might that mean? What do you think the Apostle Paul was trying to achieve by writing this (keep reading through 1 Corinthians 10)?
  • The writer of Hebrews tells us that however great Moses was, Jesus the Son is better! Using the Israelites as an example, he warns us to obey from the heart. Read Hebrews 3:5-14 and identify situations that might make your heart go astray. List some practical ways to avoid these by utilizing your church community.
  • God already knows you and your faith intimately. Read James 1:2-4 and 1 Peter 1:6-7. What benefits do you see in the testing of your faith? Describe a time you experienced these benefits and what you learned about your own faith.
  • Read Philippians 4:11-13. What makes you content or even grateful? What makes you grateful when you are in a difficult season? What stops your contentment?


It’s easy to condemn the Israelites for their grumbling. But are we really that different? When we complain about our job or paycheck, are we not complaining about God’s provision? When we complain about our neighbors, are we missing God given opportunities to love? When we grumble about any situation, are we any different from the Israelites?

Confess some areas of discontent and let others pray with you and exhort you to grow in the faith.