Summary: Working through the book of Exodus using consecutive expository preaching. Exodus 16:2-5. Teaching Sheet for the bulletin included at end of text.

Sermon Series “Exodus”

Exodus 16:2-5

“Complaints and Miracles”

Pastor John Bright

Exodus 16 “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.””

A young married couple were having a fight – each one complaining about what the other had done or not done. Finally, the wife blurted out, “I wish I had taken my mother’s advice and never married you!”

Startled, the husband said, “Do you mean to tell me that your mother tried to stop you from marrying me?”

She nodded.

“Wow!” he exclaimed. “I take back everything I ever said about that woman!”


In my 27 years of ministry, one once did a couple come to me for help with one big thing. Most needed help because they all the little things build up… with no forgiveness – only new complaints that piled up week after week and month after month.


So far in Exodus there has been three times the Israelites complained:

#1 –Moses caused Pharaoh to make things worse for them – Exodus 5:1-22 – this leads to 10 miraculous plagues.

#2 – No way out with sea on one side and army on the other – Exodus 14:11-12 – this leads to the miraculous parting of the Red Sea.

#3 – The people complained about the bitter water – Exodus 15:22 – another miracle follows when God makes the water good to drink.

At this point, they have traveled for one month. They come to the Wilderness/Desert and now there is a new complaint. Have you ever had a child in your home ask “How long until dinner is ready?” No matter your answer, it’s the same response – “I’M STARVING!!!!!!!!!!!!!” It’s the same here - “You have brought us out to starve.” v. 3

This complaint brings two actions from God: Testing and a Miracle. Let’s deal with the testing first. Just so we are clear – God can test you but never tempt you. James 1:13 “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.” Temptation is satan’s way to keep us chasing our tails. Testing, on the other hand, is good for us.

For example – let’s say you were foolish enough to pray for God to increase your patience. He would have to arrange situations to test you. Situations that demand patience on your part. At the same time, satan will keep tempting you to do what you have always done. Ever go to the grocery store and there are three lines open at check out. You do some mental calculations and choose the one that is guaranteed to get you out the quickest. Then that line you picked grinds to a halt. You see the other two lines moving. What is your response? Complaining!


Exodus 16:4 “…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.”

Will they follow the instructions? Not for long – Ex. 16:19 “And Moses said, “Let no one leave any of it till morning.” 20 Notwithstanding they did not heed Moses. But some of them left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank.”

Imagine walking between the tents and then you smell the horrible odor coming out of the tent. You know what they did! They didn’t follow the instructions!

Did Adam and Eve follow the instructions? NO!

What about us? If I could convince you this morning that God does not want His people complaining, would you stop?

Guys have a reputation for not reading the instructions. I was visiting my grandson and he wanted help putting all the stickers on the large Millennium Falcon toy he got for Christmas. I never liked doing that when my kids were little – told them they could decorate their toys any way they wanted. So, I helped him – he wanted them exactly like they were on the instructions. When we were done, I asked my son if he still needed the instructions. He started looking at them and discovered there were several hidden features of the toy they had never found.

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