“Say what you mean and mean what you say” General George Patton is credited with this famous quote, but God is the only One Who can say what He means and means what He says.
Exodus 16:28 And the Lord said unto Moses, “How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?” this is our question for today.
God questioned Moses, who represented all the Israelites He just rescued from the Egyptians in a fantastic way. They started on their trek to the promised land and had begun their murmurings against Moses and thus against God. Their forgetfulness was a hinderance to seeing what God was doing for them on a daily basis.
From scripture, we have proof that God says what He means and means what He says: Numbers 23:19 God is not a man that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath he said, and shall He not do it? Or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?
His word creates and makes no mistakes: Psalm 33:6 By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.
What God speaks is powerful and wise: Hebrews 4:12-13 For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do.
Isaiah 55:11 So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
(From these verses we can see that God says things and they are true, real, and not to be reckoned with).
God spoke with Moses, and Moses told the people what God said: Take the manna every day but on the day before the Sabbath, take twice as much, for the next day you are not to do any work.
He meant it too. And the people soon found out that God was not kidding around. If they took too much and tried to save it for the next day, it had worms in it and was stinky. But on the Sabbath this did not happen. They were told to bake it or boil it for the next day.
16:4 Then said the Lord unto Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.
This was a test to prove His people. This wasn't the first test though. The first test nearly did them in. The people murmured against Moses. The waters were bitter!!! Waah, waah, waah!
God wanted to prove his people 15:25 “And he (Moses) cried unto the Lord and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into water, the waters were made sweet: there He made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there He proved them.” God wants to prove his people.
To prove means to test. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary says: to try; to ascertain some unknown quality or truth by an experiment.
It's hard to believe that God did not know this (unbelief, murmuring) was going to happen. He knew the people would complain and forget all that He had just done for them. This was a training exercise, like boot camp for them. He had serious things to teach them about Himself and the reality of the covenant He made with them that no matter what, He was going to keep His side of the covenant.
The Lord by His “proving” was using the best methods of teaching/training to coach this people to know Who He is and that He means what He says. He was instructing them in the unknown quality of His faithfulness to His covenant. He was showing them the truth by these experiments. God knew the people’s hearts. But they didn’t really know His. (Examples of Israel’s murmurings Exodus 16:2; 7; 9; 12)
Listen to The Lord
15:26 “… If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord, thy God, and wilt do that which is right in His sight, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.”
16:4b “ …that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law or no.”
16:16a “This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded…”
16:20 “Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses…”
It’s interesting that God was asking this question of Moses. He had an influence on the people, but they still had a free will. And they exercised that along with their ability to complain and murmur. Moses was their go-to-man. God spoke to Moses and Moses relayed the answers to the people. As usual with this process, the people on the receiving end questioned or doubted the person that was “in charge.”
It reminds me of a (good) parent, babysitter, teacher, or any authority figure in a child’s life. We expect the child to mind these people. But there is usually a time of testing: Complaining, murmuring, and unbelief often happens before there is a time of understanding authority, building of trust, walking in faith believing that the person in-charge means what he says and says what he means.
This takes time. God took forty years of His time in the wilderness with the Israelites. He had to establish His authority with the people. He is incredibly long-suffering and patient. We have the book Exodus to study to see how God proved them. God has kept His covenant with His people and with us. He never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and for ever.
When God speaks to you, does He really mean what He says? Will He completely carry out His side of the covenant? Do you trust Him after all you have been through together? When He is proving you, do you notice, or do you complain? How long will you refuse His commands?
If this has made you think about a time you were tested by God, and you figured out that He means what He says, please share to help others with their “proving” time in life.
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