We are also on week 2 of the "Bread of Life Discourses" in John 6. The day after the Feeding of the 5,000, a crowd travels follows Jesus to another community and initiates a conversation, hoping that Jesus will reproduce the miracle he did the previous day. But Jesus takes the conversation in a different direction...
As always, after each reading, I leave my commentary and questions in italics. If you have an insight to share or a question to ask, please leave it in the comment section below!
Exodus 16:2 - 4, 9 - 15
2 The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3 The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger."
4 Then the LORD said to Moses, "I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not.
9 Then Moses said to Aaron, "Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, 'Draw near to the LORD, for he has heard your complaining.'" 10 And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud. 11 The LORD spoke to Moses and said, 12 "I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, 'At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the LORD your God.'"
13 In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, "What is it?" For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, "It is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat.
- Exodus 16 is the second story after the Israelites’ dramatic escape from Egypt (ch. 14) and the resulting celebration (ch. 15). In the first story, the Israelites’ complained against Moses that they did not have enough clean water to drink. Now, not only are they complaining about the lack of food, they are also claiming that life was better as slaves in Egypt! It took that little time for the people to complain against Moses and against the Lord.
- The Israelites are in the midst of change. But now the change is getting difficult and the people are ready to quit. How often do we initiate change in our lives and in our communities only to quit when the process of change becomes difficult? As one speaker at the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering claimed, we must be willing to be uncomfortable if we are going to lead any type of change.
- The Lord’s provision of quail and manna (literally “What is it?”) lasted throughout the Exodus until the Israelites were established in the Promised Land and were harvesting their first crops.