READ Exodus 16 (From Illustrated Ministry)
On the fifteenth day of the second month after they left Egypt, the Israelites set out and came to the Sinai desert. They complained to Moses and Aaron because they were hungry. The Lord told Moses, “I’m going to make bread rain down from the sky. Each day, the people can go out to gather just what they need for that day. I’ll do this to test whether they follow my instructions. On the sixth day of the week, they’ll gather twice as much as the other days.” Moses and Aaron told the Israelites, “Tonight you will see it was the Lord who saved you from Egypt. The Lord will give you meat in the evening and all the bread you need in the morning.” After Moses and Aaron spoke, the Israelites turned to look toward the desert and they saw the Lord’s presence appear in a cloud. That evening, a flock of quail flew down and covered the camp. And in the morning, there was a layer of thin flakes, like frost, covering the ground. “What is it?” the Israelites asked each other. “This is the bread the Lord’s given you to eat,” Moses said. “The Lord says to collect as much as each person in your household can eat today. Don’t keep any of it until morning.” But the people didn’t listen to Moses, and some of them took extra and tried to save it until morning. The bread became rotten during the night and filled with worms. Moses was angry the people didn’t listen. Each day when the sun grew hot, the flakes melted away. On the sixth day of the week, everyone was allowed to collect double the normal amount of food. Moses said, “The Lord wants you to rest tomorrow, on the holy Sabbath. Bake and boil what you want, and you can set aside the leftovers until the next morning.” So the people did what Moses commanded and the bread didn’t rot. Moses told them to eat it the next day on the Sabbath. On the Sabbath, some of the people tried to go out and gather more bread, but there wasn’t any. The Israelites called the bread “manna” (which means “what is it?”), and it tasted like honey wafers. They took one serving of the manna and put it in a jar so future generations would see how the Lord fed them in the desert. The Israelites ate manna for forty years while in the wilderness
- How many months passed between when the Israelites left Egypt?
- What kinds of things do you complain about? (Admit it, we all complain sometimes!) How does God answer the Israelites’ complaints?
- Why might the Israelites have wanted to take and store more manna than God instructed them?
- How has God taken care of you in your life? Name one or two things you are especially grateful for this week.
- What is your response to God’s care? How might you want to change, or keep the same, your response?
- Is there anything that confuses you about this story? Now is a great time to ask!
- Jar (or list) of Memories (inspired by the Family Bible Devotional) “The Israelites set up lots of ways to remember how God was faithful to them. In today’s story, they stored up some of the manna to show future generations the way God had provided for them. Collect things or write notes to remind you of how God has provided for you and your family (especially during this time of COVID-19), and place them in a jar (or on a list). Keep your jar of memories somewhere you can see it regularly to be reminded of how God has provided for you and your family.”
- Color Your Finger Labyrinth (click here for an online copy): The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for a long time. When we’re not sure about the future, it can feel like we’re in the wilderness too! Color the paths of your finger labyrinth. Trace the labyrinth with your finger. On the way to the center, think about anything that is worrying you. When you get to the center, ask God to take hold your worries for you. Leave them in the center, and then trace your way out of the labyrinth again, knowing that God will hold your worries and provide for you like God did for the people in the wilderness in our story today.
PRAY: Go around your family and share one thing you are grateful for; and at least one thing or person you would like to remember in prayer this week. OR PRAY: Gracious God, We praise and thank you for how you patiently and faithfully care for all of our needs. Please renew our trust in you and your promise to give us our daily bread. Amen.