Tuesday after the Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord
Scripture: Exodus 15:19—16:12 (NKJV)
15:19 For the horses of Pharaoh went with his chariots and his horsemen into the sea, and the LORD brought back the waters of the sea upon them. But the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea.
20 Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took the timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. 21 And Miriam answered them: “Sing to the LORD, for He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!”
22 So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23 Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah. 24 And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” 25 So he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet. There He made a statute and an ordinance for them. And there He tested them, 26 and said, “If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you.” 27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees; so they camped there by the waters.
16:1 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?” 8 Also Moses said, “This shall be seen when the LORD gives you meat to eat in the evening, and in the morning bread to the full; for the LORD hears your complaints which you make against Him. And what are we? Your complaints are not against us but against the LORD.” 9 Then Moses spoke to Aaron, “Say to all the congregation of the children of Israel, ‘Come near before the LORD, for He has heard your complaints.'”
10 Now it came to pass, as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud. 11 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 12 “I have heard the complaints of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the LORD your God.'”
Yesterday we saw how the Lord God saved the Israelites by bringing them through the Red Sea on dry ground, thereby establishing an image of Holy Baptism, which is for us Christians to receive for our deliverance from sin, death and the devil.
In today’s reading the Israelites experience hunger and thirst in the wilderness. The Lord God relieves their thirst by cleansing the waters of Marah and leading them to the twelve wells of Elim, where there was also shade from the heat of the desert. He relieves their hunger by promising to provide bread from Heaven and meat to fill their bellies. This relief is a picture of how the Lord God relieves us in this wilderness ruled by the devil, the world and our flesh.
For what do we hunger and thirst? How does the Lord relieve this hunger and thirst? We hunger and thirst in this evil world for relief from the pain and misery from sin, death and the devil. We desire to be free from the consequences of our sin, our guilt, our shame, and our prideful thinking. The good news is that the Lord provides relief through His holy Word. In the preaching of the Gospel we are reminded once again of the promises that our Lord won for us on the holy Cross and were bestowed upon us in the waters of Holy Baptism.
Therefore, on account of our hunger and thirst we come often to the Lord’s house to be reminded again and again that our sins have been washed away and the devil and his minions have no power over us.