Summary: Message 11 Following 1 Corinthians 10 and Revelation 12 this message shows how Israel's forty years in the wilderness is comparable to our lives with God today. There are struggles but in them God is with us and uses them to make us trust and obey Him


Exodus 15:22 - 19:1

1 Cor. 10:5-6 / 11

“God was not pleased with most of them because they were overthrown in the wilderness. These things are warnings to us, not to crave evil things like they did / These things happened to them as warnings to us and were written down as a warning and were written down to teach us.”

D. The Steps to Sinai (15:22-19:1)

1. The Murmuring (15:22- 17:7)

2. The Marauders (17:8-15)

3. The Management Problem (Ch. 18)

4. The Mountain of God (19:1)

When the songs of Israel’s “Independence Day” celebration ended the people, for the first time in 430 years were free from Egypt. A good parallel is our salvation – the term means “to deliver or rescue or set free”. We are freed from the guilt of sin by the cross of Christ (Rom. 3:24-27); the dominating power of sin in the new birth (1 Jn. 3:1-10) and one day, when we are in heaven we will be delivered from the very presence of sin (Rev. 21:27,22:15).

It is no wonder then that Paul, writing to the sin riddled city and church at Corinth, used Israel’s deliverance and their years in the desert as an example of how we should live as Christians. We will draw some lessons today from the wilderness years as a whole and then turn to their three months walk to Sinai.

I. THE LONG JOURNEY (Ex. 15-Josh. 1)

1. A Time of Suffering

The trip to Canaan on foot would take two or three weeks. All you had to do was walk up the super highway by the sea. But imagine the surprise when Moses turned to East, to the desert he once live in and which he called a “burning furnace” (). God took them the hard way.

They found water holes made bitter (15:22-27). They saw their food run out (16:1-36). In the first months they were attacked by the wild nomadic Amalekites (17:8-16). They had rebels in their ranks to lead them away for God’s way.

2. A Time of Strengthening

Struggles like this are intended to make us strong. Romans five tells us suffering produces endurance, which means waiting on God and not worrying and staying on God’s road laid out for us no matter how hard it gets.

This produces character or godliness that gives us hope and love. After a hard life with much suffering (2 Cor. 11:21-33) Paul said he had fought a good fight and finished his course (2 Tim. 4)

The Babies We Are

The struggles and sufferings in the will of God home the hard way - the way of struggle, seduction and sorrow because it was the way of strengthening. Deuteronomy eight says it was to humble (8:2) and discipline (8:5) them for the battles it would take to remove the powerful, giant Canaanites (13:17).

The Babies We Are

God looked back at this time and said through Hosea that this was when He taught Israel to walk like a mother or father holding the hands of their little child. It was also when he said it broke his heart to see them walk away in rebellion against Him (11:1-3).

Every pastor knows the heartache of seeing beautiful children in his church singing in the children’s choirs who grow up to lead filthy lives. God, the Father in the parable of the Prodigal son knows it too (Lk. 15)

When we are born again we are baby Christians. The Bible says, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation. . .” (1 Pet. 2:2).

Nothing is more helpless than a baby. It can do nothing for itself; all it can do is cry for help. The longer we live with the Lord when we come on to hard times we are humbled by our weakness and know Jesus is right when he says, “Without me you can do nothing.”

3. A Time of Sinning

Sins Werd Present

Sadly these desert years were a time of sinning. Suffering is intended to make us better but it makes some people, like these Israelites bitter and disobedient.

Before the parting of the sea they blamed Moses and wanted to go back to Egypt. And then soon after God parted the sea in answer to prayer, they forgot all about this and complained when the drinking water gave out (16:1-3)

They complained a few weeks later when the water hole they found was bitter and the food was gone.(Ex. 15:24; 17:2). They complained the entire forty years (17:3-4; Nu. 11:1-6; 14:1-4; etc.). On more than one occasion they wanted to kill Moses (Ex. 17:4; Nu. 14:10).

At Sinai, with Moses gone, they built a golden calf to worship and had some kind of wild orgy (Ex. 32; 1 Cor. 10:7). When Moabite women came up and seduced the Hebrew men to have sex with them, they gave in gladly (Nu. 25).

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