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Exodus: Grumbling and Gratitude; Blessing and Testing

Exodus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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He's doing something. We are his instrument. He seeks to do something in us before doing something through us. He is our purpose, strength, and provision.

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Title Slide

WE are getting back to a series we began the year with, looking at the book of Exodus and how God used ordinary people to bring about the rescue of His people, and along the way we get a first hand look at God's redeeming, righteousness, and restoration.
I shared with my small group this week that I had been in a dry place recently, that I longed to be closer to Jesus. Nothing major, just I had become acutely aware of how my love for me, gets in the way of my love for Jesus.
Triggers:
Triggers:
IT’s not really anyone’s fault…maybe mine, but that doesn’t help.
10:00 Michelle to Bed…me to Ice cream
Hardwired
There is a problem thinking about me.
But our response to triggers can change
Mess in the floor…complain about our messy kids…now it’s only me to complain about....so I stopped complaining about mess in the floor.
I was just complaining about it and they were nice enough to listen.
It's funny now that our kids aren't at home we don't have people to blame anymore...rather I don't have anyone to blame.
It's funny now that our kids aren't at home we don't have people to blame anymore...rather I don't have anyone to blame.
It's funny now that our kids aren't at home we don't have people to blame anymore...rather I don't have anyone to blame.
And that's unfortunate...because I was pretty good at complaining.
For instance I would start to complain about the house being a mess, then I’d tell them to clean up.
Sad part is now that they aren’t home much…I need to take my own advice.
Wouldn’t it be great if when we sensed things not being the way we think they should, it would trigger something in us other than complaining and blaming?
Sure, blaming some one else is easier I suppose. But it’s very effective at changing the situation.
What is better is doing something different.
There was a time when I could blame the kids for the mess...or for not cleaning up. Now, more than not, I'm the only one to blame.
What does it say about us that we always want some one...preferably someone else to blame for our situation, especially when our situation isn't pleasant.
What does it say about us that we always want some one...preferably someone else to blame for our situation, especially when our situation isn't pleasant.
Like in my relationship with Jesus, I don't have anyone else to blame. I could blame my work, or my dog, or my family for taking my time away from Jesus…but that wouldn’t be true, because it’s up to me what I do with my time.
We don't mind taking credit for success...but problems they are someone else's fault.
We don't mind taking credit for success...but problems they are someone else's fault.
And that's unfortunate...because I had much rather it be some body else’s fault. It's just better to blame some one else.
But in my relationship with Jesus, I don't have anyone else to blame. And that's unfortunate...because I had much rather it be your fault. It's just better to blame some one else.
********
But in my relationship with Jesus, I don't have anyone else to blame. And that's unfortunate...because I had much rather it be your fault. It's just better to blame some one else.
Complaining comes naturally. Some people are really good at it, but none of us have to be taught how to do it. It’s part of our belief that everything is about me.
Are you the same way? Do you find it easier sometimes to point the finger at others than it is at yourself?
Are you the same way? Do you find it easier sometimes to point the finger at others than it is at yourself?
Today, we are going to look at the life of the Israelite and hopefully, if everything goes right, we will discover a different response when we notice things aren’t as we think they should. Something different than complaining.
Today, we are going to look at the life of the Israelite and hopefully, if everything goes right, we will discover a different response when we notice things aren’t as we think they should. Something different than complaining.
Today, I want to help us point the finger at ourselves. Not in accusation....but as a reminder.
You need to know this, because we all like to complain.
Not you did it....but "remember he's doing something".
Go ahead...point to the person next to you and tell them Remember...he's doing something.
Because frankly too often we forget and begin to think the story of my life is all about me...and it's not.

Remember, He’s doing something.

*****

BEACH SLIDE

Because frankly too often we forget and begin to think the story of my life is all about me...and it's not.
You see this picture and think…nothing to complain about there. You are right.
Because frankly too often we forget and begin to think the story of my life is all about me...and it's not.
In today’s story, as we continue our look at the exodus, the story of God’s redemption, righteousness, and restoration, we get to see how the need of this reminder and the power of it’s realization.
In today’s story, as we continue our look at the exodus, the story of God’s redemption, righteousness, and restoration, we get to see how the need of this reminder and the power of it’s realization.
1. Run out of food
2. Moses complains too
3. God hears and answers

Grumbling and Gratitude

Elim…like a resort.
In today’s story, as we continue our look at the exodus, the story of God’s redemption, righteousness, and restoration, we get to see how the need of this reminder and the power of it’s realization.
.
Exodus 16:1-
Exodus 16:1–3 NIV84
1 The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. 2 In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”
Exodus 16:1–3 NIV84
1 The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. 2 In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”

Grumbling and Gratitude

Exodus 16:1–3 NIV84
1 The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. 2 In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”
Exodus 17:1
Exodus 17:1–2 NIV84
1 The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?”

Grumbling and Gratitude

Going into the desert was scary to many of them. But God was leading them. God had a plan for them. They had to go through the desert to get to the promised land.
Some of us need to hear this today. Sometimes you find yourself in the desert not because you are lost, not because you made a wrong turn, not because you messed up. Sometimes you find yourself in the desert because it’s on the way to the promise that God has for you. His purpose for your life requires that you go through the desert…there’s no other way to get there.
Soon after they leave their little resort on the beach, they run out of food. Their first instinct is to complain to Moses…why did you bring us out here??? Why did you set us free? We used to have all the food we could eat. Now they have seen all sorts of miracles. God has told them again and again, they are his people, that he has a plan for them, but they fail to trust him…they are in the desert for goodness sake.
Moses isn’t much better, he complains to right back. Don’t complain to me, it’s God's fault.
1. Run out of food
Gods response…he hears and delivers.
He tells them that in the evening he is going to send them meat to eat, then in the morning and every morning he will send them bread. He gives them instructions as to how to collect the bread.
3. God hears and answers

It happens just as he promised, That night God sends them quail to eat. They just fall from the sky. The next morning, the frosted flakes are all over the place, God explained to the people that they should pick up just enough for the day and make bread out of them, that tomorrow there would be more.

God provides…but we don’t get a sense of gratitude from them. In fact, the way many of the Israelites tried to horde the manna, still not trusting that God would keep his promises. They could have praised God some more for setting them free, but instead they were grumbling because the conditions of their freedom weren’t quite up to their standards.
Be faithful to the one leading you through the desert. He will make straight your path.
Chapter 17, the story continues.
Exodus 17:1–2 NIV84
1 The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?”
Exodus 17:7 NIV84
7 And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Blessing and Testing

Blessing and Testing

I shared with my small group this week that I had been in a dry place recently, that I longed to be closer to Jesus. Nothing major, just I had become acutely aware of how my love for me, gets in the way of my love for Jesus.
There is a problem thinking about me.
It's funny now that our kids aren't at home we don't have people to blame anymore...rather I don't have anyone to blame.
There was a time when I could blame the kids for the mess...or for not cleaning up. Now, more than not, I'm the only one to blame.
What does it say about us that we always want some one...preferably someone else to blame for our situation, especially when our situation isn't pleasant.
We don't mind taking credit for success...but problems they are someone else's fault.
But in my relationship with Jesus, I don't have anyone else to blame. And that's unfortunate...because I had much rather it be your fault. It's just better to blame some one else.
Are you the same way? Do you find it easier sometimes to point the finger at others than it is at yourself?
Today, I want to help us point the finger at ourselves. Not in accusation....but as a reminder.
Not you did it....but "remember he's doing something".
Go ahead...point to the person next to you and tell them Remember...he's doing something.
Because frankly too often we forget and begin to think the story of my life is all about me...and it's not.
GOD:
1. leave the resort for the desert
1. Run out of food
2. Moses complains too
3. God hears and answers
Seems like we have heard this before doesn’t it. The people haven’t learned much.
Ain’t learnt nothing
God leads them to the Resting place…instead of being grateful for his provision, for his guiding, they grumble, they complain.
1. They Complain about no water
Moses tells them, why are you testing God’s patience. Don’t y'all remember what we just had happen? I mean you do still have your mouth full of manna.
This time they suck Moses in. he goes to the lord grumbling as well. That’ show it happens to us. The people around us are grumbling and before you know it we are right in it with them. Moses didn’t push back with a call to praise, to be thankful for the manna. No he went to God. Why did you stick me with these people God. You see the stones in their hands. it’s about to get real up in here for your servant.
Lord you listening???
He was, he gave Moses directions on what to do for them to have fresh water.
2. Moses complains about their complaints
Then Moses named the place they were.
3. God hears and answers
Exodus 17:7 NIV84
7 And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
Is the Lord among us or not?

Is the LORD among us or not?

That’s really what they were asking…lord we are thirsty…Lord we are hungry. They were doubting that God was with them.
That's often our question isn’t it. God are you there. Instead a better question might be, am I following you Lord?
Not Lord where are you...but where are you leading me?
1. Perhaps our thinking should be...are we among the Lord?
You see God had declared them to be His people, he had proven that by their miraculous redemption and now they questioning God, testing his patience. Before we hear God respond to this ridiculous question, we discover the answer.
2. Not Lord where are you...but where are you leading me?
Just then in the story, they are attacked by the Amalekites. WE learn elsewhere in scripture that they attacked the weakest parts of the Israelite assembly were gathered, where the sick, wounded, weakest of the Israelites were.
3. In the blessing of provision...when we have just what we need today, we are tested to doubt that there will be enough for tomorrow
It’s certainly one of those times when Moses had to be tempted to ask…Are you there LORD? Instead of being triggered to grumble, he instead moves to glorify God.
Moses directs his assistant Joshua to gather an army. They didn’t have an army, they were freed slaves. Their army consisted of farmers, carpenters, cooks, gardeners, masons, and anyone else healthy enough to handle a weapon.
1. Joshua gathers an army
Moses says you gather an army, I’m going up the hill.
Moses hasn’t gotten direction from God on this, and we aren’t told why he does this. But I have to think that by this point, Moses knows something is very special about this regular old shepherds staff.
2. Moses goes up the hill
It’s been with him for over 40 years now. God used it to convince him as a shepherd to go back to Egypt. God used it to mediate miracles from the turning the nile to blood, parting the red see, to just now making water come out of a rock.
This staff is a tangible sign of God’s power. God has used it, just as he has used Moses and Aaron and now Joshua and Hur to bring about his Glory.
So these four instruments go up the hill to glorify God in this fight. Moses knows that God is at work in this. So he lifts the staff above his head. as he does he realizes that Joshua is winning, but when he puts it down to rest, they begin to lose.
so he takes it up th ehill to make glorify God in this fight.
Aaron and Hur sit him on a rock then they stand along side him holding is arms up until night fall.
This is a great image of being an instrument of God. Three guys in their 80’s and 90’s holding up a staff to glorify God, reminding the army and the Amalekites that they were the people of God.
Aaron and Hur are with him so they help him hold up the staff.
Great image of three old guys in their 80’s and 90’s holding up a staff to glorify God, reminding the army and the Amalekites that they were the people of God.
They may not be able to fight anymore, but they can do something. and their work is no less important than the fighting of Joshua. Both were needed. Faithful praise, and focused obedience.
2. Moses goes up the hill
3. Aaron and Hur join him
4. Lift the staff...reminding the people that they are under God
Exodus 17:15–16 NIV84
15 Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner. 16 He said, “For hands were lifted up to the throne of the Lord. The Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.”
Exodus 17:
Is God still among us??? Silly question.
He absolutely is. Not only is he among them, he is the one they follow. he is their strength. He is their purpose, their power, and their provision.
Is God among us?
5. Moses builds an altar.
1. God is for sure among them
2. He is their banner
1. God is their strength
It seems like such a silly question once you see the big picture doesn’t it?
2. They belong to God
Well since you agree, let me ask you a question.
6. It's his fight and we are his instrument
*******************

Where is your Massah and Meribah?

Where is it that you aren't seeing God work?
7. He is our purpose, power, and provision
Where do you often find yourself tempted to grumble and test?
Where are you that you doubt God is there?
Where do you need to remember that he's doing something.
Would the temptation to grumble prompt you to gratitude? Gratitude you say…why should I be thankful when I have no food, when I have no drink?
When things just aren't working out like they should…instead of launching into a pity party, consider this:
John 6:35–40 NIV84
35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
9. I am living water
10. I am the bread of life
11.
Jesus is the bread we long for. He is the living water that quenches us. When we praise him fr who he is…not just our banner, but our life is now in him.
But sometimes we forget. Where do you need to remember that God is doing something. That he has a plan and a purpose for you and
Where do you need to remember that God is doing something. That he has a plan and a purpose for you and
Like those old GPS things we used to use in our cars when we got headed in the wrong direction....recalculating.

God works in us before he works through us.

Where is your Massah and Meribah?
Sometimes we need to recalculate, because we need to remember that even though it may not seem like it, God is up to something. He has saved you for more than this. You are his child, and while it seems like everything is going wrong...He’s up to something
Where is it that you aren't seeing God work?
Where are you Grumbling and testing God?
I may be in the desert, but he is up to something.
Where do you need to remember that he's doing something.
Tell the person next to you God is up to something!

Recalculating…He’s doing something!

You see God may be calling you to simply be faithful right where you are. You know if you are following God. IF he’s leading you then be confident in Him. It might be good to praise him right where you are. Right here right now, you are to be at work as his implement…for his glory. You might need to surrender yourself to be under his banner. Because Jesus is your bread of life and Jesus is your living water. You have all you need when you have Jesus. Let’s praise him.
Where are you Grumbling and testing God?
What Moses did on that hill was temporary…what Jesus did on the hill to Calvary…that is permanent.
Where do you need to remember that he's doing something.
What Moses did was temporary…what Jesus did on the cross was permanent.
Is it a place where God might be calling you to be faithful? You to be at work? You to surrender to his Banner?
We want God to show up and do something...but often times, God says, I have shown up...you are there.
You may not feel worthy, or able...but God is alive in you, and under his banner, you can.
Do you know that? The next time you are tempted to grumble and complain, to test God. Let that desire to grumble spark some gratitude in you because God wants to do great things through you, but first he is going to do some great things in you.
*****************
Fears are unavoidable - there is no shame in that. We go wrong when we engage in fruitless complaining rather than trusting God in response to our fears.
Every desert doesn't end in death...every desert doesn't mean wrong turn...mistake. Sometimes desert is on the way.
God blesses us because we are his.
God tests us in the blessing because the mission is His.
2 kinds of houses that all the kids went to.
Through hard times...the blessing is, he is with you...The test is, how are you going to respond to the fear, anxiety you feel. Get mad...but don't stay mad, don't let your anger cause you to sin.
Be afraid, but don't let the fear of the what ifs paralyze you to the mission.
Be happy, but remember God is the source of your joy.
2 kinds of houses that all the kids went to.
one who's parents were never home so we could do what ever we pleased.
But the other one...that everyone spent more time at. The one that was healthy...the one where the fridge was stocked with pop tarts, frozen chicken nuggets and fries, and tons of cheap soda...those mom's knew how to reach kids.
Oh that we would be the place where the light is always on. Where people who are hurting and hungry for love will always find in us good friends who have more reason to be grateful than we ever do to grumble.
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