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Summary: Christians should be positive and optimistic people if they want to witness to unbelievers for no one likes a negative, pessimistic person. The Hebrews on their Exodus journey should have known better than to grumble against God and Moses after all the bl

Grace, mercy and peace, from God the Father and our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Exodus 16: verses 1 – 8 but especially verses 2 and 8

In the light of these words, it looks as if the Lord is suggesting an 11th commandment: ‘Thou shalt not grumble’.

Psalm 145, ends with these words in verse 21:

'My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord'; why?

because of what it says in verses 10 and 11:

'All you have made will praise you, O Lord; your saints will extol you'

and: 'They will tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might';

and with what result, according to verse 12:

'so that all men may know of your mighty acts

and the glorious splendour of your kingdom'.

...........................................................................................................................

Most people are attracted to positive, optimistic people,

and shun negative, pessimistic people,

so when Christians grumble, they put people off the Lord and His church,

but when they praise Him, they make the Lord and His church attractive,

and invite people think about what God and His love and grace

could do for them too.

...........................................................................................................................

A story is told about a certain man who attended his company’s Christmas party

with the intention of having a good time.

During the course of the evening he drank far too much alcohol.

He woke next morning feeling awful, with a pounding headache.

He was sick all day, and recalled in the sober light of day

what an absolute fool he made of himself the evening before.

He promised himself that if he recovered from this hangover

he would never drink again.

Fast forward a year.

This same man again attends the company’s Christmas party.

He again drinks too much, and his co-workers again have the opportunity

to see him making a fool and a nuisance of himself.

And the next morning, guess what,

he woke up feeling rotten and promising to amend his life.

...........................................................................................................................

The term for the all too familiar phenomenon just described is ‘selective amnesia’.

‘Selective amnesia’ is the incomplete recall of past experiences

that remembers good things, but conveniently forgets the unpleasant.

According to our reading this morning,

if ever there was a people who suffered from a corporate ‘selective amnesia’

it was the nation of Israel.

The first few verses of Exodus 16 provide the necessary context

for the rest of what happens in the chapter,

and reveals the first of what will be many, many other examples of the people of Israel suffering from ‘selective amnesia’.

The Hebrews journeyed from Elim, and came to the Wilderness of Sin,

on the fifteenth day of the second month after they departed from the land of Egypt.

Then the whole congregation complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.

And 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.”

Their grumbling and complaining would be laughable if it were not so tragic.

After 4 centuries of slavery in Egypt

God raised up a deliverer for the descendants of Abraham in the person of Moses.

The Lord brought plagues, and blight, and even death upon the Egyptians

until Pharaoh agreed to let the people go.

In Exodus 14 the Lord miraculously dries up the Red Sea

to allow His people to cross on dry ground,

and closes the Red Sea on Pharaoh and his army, drowning them all:

Thus Israel saw the great work which the LORD had done in Egypt;

so the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD and His servant Moses.

Then, in Exodus chapter 15 the Lord miraculously makes the bitter and poisoned waters

of Marah sweet and drinkable, so that His people would be refreshed.

...........................................................................................................................

Everything God had done for His people was done to demonstrate that

He was able to take care of them, and that He would always take care of them,

and yet here we find them in chapter 16, the recent recipients of so much grace,

so much miraculous provision, and so much loving care, grumbling and complaining,

and this grumbling was not a one-off; a ‘bad hair day’;

it would come to characterize the attitude of the nation of Israel

throughout the remainder of the Old Testament.

...........................................................................................................................

Complaining by non-believers is just a normal part of life,

but for Christians, who believe God provides, it is spiritually wrong.

...........................................................................................................................

The renowned Biblical commentator Matthew Henry wrote:

‘Discontentment magnifies what is past, and vilifies what is present,

without regard to truth or reason’

in other words, we all go on about how good things were in the past,

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