Sabbath Food: Part 3
January 19, 2013
In the sermon time today, I would like to continue with Part 3 of our Sabbath Food Bible studies. Today, we are going to concentrate on Exodus 16.
I will not go over all that we have done so far, as we will be mentioning some of it as we go through.
Last month, in Part 2, we finished in Exodus 12, where we left our Israelite forbears in the Goshen district of Egypt. What were they doing there? They were re-learning God’s laws for the Spring Holy Days – specifically for Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Also, they were preparing their food for that Passover and for that exceptional Feast of Unleavened Bread when God was about to free them from Egypt.
Today, let us move on a little in time and place, and let us visit them again on the road.
Well, not really "on the road"; but out in the wilderness. I was reading a little about this journey in Barnes' Notes; and he says that the Egyptians did keep and maintain the route that the Israelites started out on as a road, and that it was a pretty serviceable road.
And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt.
So here we find our Israelite forefathers on the 15th day of the second
month – just one month after the First Day of Unleavened
Bread – just one month after the start of their long trek.
Perhaps appropriately, they were in the Wilderness of Sin. If you look
in a Bible Atlas or on the map in the back of your Bible, you will see that the
Wilderness of Sin is near the eastern shore of the Gulf of Suez. At that
time, the Israelites were between Elim and Sinai – Sinai, where they would soon, in a couple of days, arrive and receive the Ten Commandments
– codified and written on two stone
tablets – "cast in concrete."
But here, in Exodus 16, they were not at Sinai yet. This is an important detail as we read on. Here we see our Israelite ancestors just one month after their escape from Egypt.
Were they still leaping with happiness and with a high hand, as they had been one month earlier because God has so miraculously freed them from slavery (Exodus 14:8; Numbers 33:3)? The answer is No! Despite all the miracles they had so recently witnessed, what were they doing?
Verse 2: And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:
3: And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.
There is an old saying that "The first victim of war is truth." But, in this case, for these ungrateful, rebellious people, we see that the first victim of freedom was truth!
Can we really believe that they had been truly so very well fed back in Egypt? In a later round of murmuring (Numbers 11), the Israelites' memories had become even more faulty; they whined that they remembered the fish that they ate in Egypt freely; and the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions and the garlic. They were in a rebellious attitude and they were murmuring against God who had brought them out of Egypt. God probably should have rained fire and brimstone down upon them. But in His wonderful mercy, what did He rain down on them?
Verse 4a: Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you...
The Hebrew word for "bread" here is "lechem" which can also mean "food" or "meat." In giving them what they craved, He didn’t give them what they deserved. He was being merciful and loving; but He was also testing their attitude:
4b: ... 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.
He said: "in my Law, or no." Please remember those words “my Law” and please remember that they had not yet arrived at Sinai, and that they had not yet received the stone tablets with the Ten Commandments written on them. Yet God’s Law – and specifically the Sabbath Commandment – was in full force. Of course it was! Last month, in Part 2, we read that the seventh day was blessed by God, sanctified and set in force at creation.
Verse 5: And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.
This is the first scriptural mention of "the Day of Preparation." In this case it was a Friday – the day prior to the weekly Sabbath day. More accurately, it ran from Thursday sunset to Friday sunset. As we find in other scriptures, the Day of Preparation is also applicable to the annual Holy Days.
Verse 6: And Moses and Aaron said unto all the children of Israel, At even, then ye shall know that the LORD hath brought you out from the land of Egypt:
7: And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the LORD; for that he heareth your murmurings against the LORD: and what are we, that ye murmur against us?
God, through Moses and Aaron, gave the Israelites notice that two great miracles were soon to take place. The first one, which was to take place that evening, was the giving of quails for meat. The giving of the quail was a two-time miracle. God repeated it in Numbers 11. Whereas the quail miracle was a two-time one, the manna miracle was repeated every single day for forty years (i.e. God's miraculous provision of the manna six days every week and His miraculous withholding of it every Sabbath Day).
Verse 6 of Exodus 16, tells us that this quail miracle was intended to remind the Israelites that it was God who miraculously brought them out from their Egyptian captivity.
Verse 7 tells us that the recurring miracle of the manna was a strong, daily, and
weekly reminder of two things: Of YHVH’s glory and also that He could hear the complaints of the Israelites.
Not just their complaints; the omniscient God could hear all of their
words; He could see all of their deeds; and as we find in other scriptures,
He could even read all their thoughts!
Together, these two great miracles were a warning to the Israelites not to murmur against YHVH who had been so very good to them. Why bite the hand that feeds you? There is also a strong reminder to you and me as spiritual Israelites. What we are about to read now is important, because all of the experiences that happened to our Israelite forefathers is for our learning and our benefit today as we are clearly told in these important scriptures from the apostle Paul:
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
What were "the scriptures" that Paul was referring to here? The only scriptures that they had access to at that time were what we call "the Old Testament scriptures." God also inspired the apostle Paul to write to the wayward Corinthian congregation about the very time periods we have been discussing in Exodus 16 and Numbers 11:
I Corinthians 10:
1: Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea...
Verse 3: And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
The Greek word for "meat" here is "broma" which can also mean "food" or "victuals." Just like the Corinthians centuries later, the ancient Israelites' problem was a spiritual one.
Verse 6a: Now these things were our examples...
The things that the Israelites did, how they were punished, and the commands they were given; all these were for our examples and benefit.
Verse 6b: ...to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
7: Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
8: Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.
9: Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
This is a really interesting verse. As the Israelites tempted Jesus Christ, this is yet another proof that Jesus was the LORD (YHVH) of the Old Testament.
Verse 10: Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
11: Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
All of this was for our benefit! I wanted you to read these verses from the apostle Paul because I want you to know that what is written and commanded in Exodus 16, Numbers 11 and many other scriptures was not just to be applied to the ancient Israelites during that specific manna period of their wilderness wandering. Its application was not just limited to them; but it is for us as well!
Just one more quote from God through the apostle Paul, to show us that these Old Testament verses are applicable to us:
II Timothy 3:
14: But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
15: And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
What were "the holy scriptures" mentioned here? What were the scriptures that young Timothy had known since his childhood? They were the scriptures that we call "the Old Testament scriptures"; and they are applicable for our benefit today.
Verse 16: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Please remember these verses as we continue – not just today, but in future parts of this series, as well. We cannot take pieces out of the Old Testament and reject them. There is benefit for us in every single one of those scriptures. The book of Nehemiah is one that comes to mind here. Please do not discount Nehemiah as not applying to us today; because it does! We will be getting into it in more detail at a later date.
Proper observance of God’s weekly and annual Sabbath days, and their associated days of preparation are repeated, ongoing reminders to us how this same YHVH – this same “I AM” – brought you and me out of our slavery in spiritual Egypt. We were in spiritual Egypt and Jesus Christ, the YHVH of the Old Testament, brought us out of it. He brought us out of the world, out of spiritual Egypt, out of the way of life of the spiritual Pharaoh, which we know to be Satan.
Returning to Exodus 16:
Verse 8: And Moses said, This shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh (quail) to eat, and in the morning bread (manna) to the full; for that the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? Your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD.
9: And Moses spake unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before the LORD: for he hath heard your murmurings.
Moses kept repeating those words, "murmur" and "murmuring." He was not letting the Israelites off the hook. They were never to forget their chronic, repeated sin of murmuring. We need to learn this lesson as well.
10: And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto 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 spake unto Moses, saying,
12: I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God.
13a: And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp...
This is amazing! To cover the camp, there must have been millions if them! I was reading about this event in some of the Bible commentaries. I am not discounting these miracles at all; but apparently, the quails of that area still, to this day, travel in huge flocks. At different times of the year they move into that area. But what happened with those quail was a huge miracle.
Have you ever eaten quail? I ate some just once, years ago at a business dinner at a high-end Victoria restaurant. It is a very nice tasting meat. I believe that the North American quail are a lot smaller than the ones over in the Middle Eastern area. Anybody who has a fair appetite (as I do) would need at least two of the North American quail to make a decent-sized meal. Apparently, the ones in the Middle East are about the size of pheasant or a larger pigeon.
Again, it is my understanding that these quail were not an ongoing, miraculous food source from God for the Israelites, as was the manna. The quail miracle happened twice. This first time, in Exodus 16, was evidently meant as a blessing on the Israelites, as well as a warning and a reminder for them; but the second time in Numbers 11, it was a curse on them, because they had not learned the lesson from Exodus 16.
The second half of verse 13, shows us that the Israelites' ongoing, daily, miraculous source of food was the manna:
13b: ... and in the morning the dew lay round about the host.
The phrase, "round about the host" means the wilderness area immediately outside the camp. It is later referred to as "the field."
14: And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.
15a: And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna….
In the King James version, it says “It is manna”; but the English translation of "manna" is “What is it?”
15b: ... for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.
The Israelites asked, “What is it?” And we look back and we ask, “What was it like?” Moses describes it as round and as small as the hoar frost. Here is except from my encyclopaedia article on Hoar Frost:
Hoar Frost is also called "Radiation Frost" or "Pruina" and it refers to the white ice crystals loosely deposited on the ground or exposed objects that form on cold clear nights when heat losses into the open skies cause objects to become colder than the surrounding air. "Depth Hoar Frost" refers to cup-shaped crystals on the surface.
This cup-shape is really interesting because the term "Hoar Frost" in Exodus 16:14 is translated from the Hebrew noun ‘kephowr,’ which can also mean "basin" or "bowl."
This gives the idea that the flakes of manna were, perhaps, something like flakes of a breakfast cereal – something like Kelloggs "Special K." If so, then God was so good to them that it would be so much easier for the Israelites to collect the manna than if they were tiny flat things stuck to the ground, where it would be much harder to collect. God thought of everything. Still in Exodus 16:
Verse 31: And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.
And the manna was as coriander seed, and the colour thereof as the colour of bdellium.
Bdellium, I understand, is a pearly-white colour. We can imagine what it might have looked like – maybe like Special K, only white. But this was really special stuff! God gave manna the property of breeding worms and stinking after just one day’s storage. This means that it must have had much more to it than mere cereal; because cereal can remain relatively fresh for much longer than just a day. Also, if God designed this as a single, perfect food-source, it makes sense that He would imbue it with all of the necessary ingredients for the maintenance of good nutrition and heath. Although I haven’t really looked into this part of it, perhaps there is an even deeper symbolism in the short-term perishability of manna. Back to Exodus 16:
Verse 16: This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.
There have been arguments over the size of the scriptural omer of that time; but if we look at the regular
interpretation, it was approximately 3.64 litres or 3.2 quarts.
The wording of verse 16 indicates that each man-of-the-house (or man-of-the-tent!) would do the manna-gathering for his whole household. Probably, the wives and the young children would not necessarily have to go out to gather their own individual portions. That is the way that seems to be worded here.
17: And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less.
18: And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.
In the short time that they had in the morning to complete their manna collecting, all of them ended up with one omer per person. This is another miracle. In II Corinthians 8:15, by quoting the second half of Exodus 16:18, the apostle Paul reinforces the New Testament authenticity of God's Exodus 16 instructions as being applicable to the Church of God in the New Testament. We will get into this in more detail when we get to the New Testament Sabbath scriptures.
19: And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning.
This was a simple instruction, which even a child could understand. But guess what?
20: Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them.
21a: And they gathered it every morning...
There is one Hebrew word, “boqer” translated into the two English words, “every morning.” It means early morning, right after sunrise. The Israelites gathered their manna every morning after sunrise. Why?
21b: ... every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted.
Some believe that the manna flakes were so tiny and difficult to collect that it may have taken the Israelites the whole day, every day, to gather their omer. But this is evidently not the case. First of all, if they had spent most of every day gathering manna, they would not have been able to travel very far at all. Secondly, verse 21 tells us that each man was able to gather his allotted portion in the early morning while it was still cool, and before the air and ground temperatures became hot.
Once it was collected another miracle happened. It didn’t "go off" and it didn’t melt, even in their warm tents. Remember, they didn’t have refrigerators like we do. Even on their preparation days, they had ample time in the morning to gather their double portion:
22: And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.
I want to read a comment from Barnes' Notes here on verse 22:
From this passage and from Exodus 16:5 it is inferred that the seventh day was previously known to the people as a day separate from all others, and if so, it must have been observed as an ancient and primeval institution.
We know that that is true.
23a: And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD...
This is a landmark verse, because it is the very first appearance of the word ‘Sabbath.’ This very first appearance specifies the Sabbath time as being holy, in agreement with the day's sanctification (Hebrew: qadash) in Genesis 2:3. The Hebrew word for "holy" is “qodesh” and it means "dedicated," "consecrated," and "hallowed for sacred use." This is holy time!
The Hebrew word translated into the English "Sabbath" is "Shabbath" (Strongs 7676) which is a noun. This noun, "Shabbath" is related to the verb "Shabath" (Strongs 7673) which we have looked at already. The noun, Shabbath, stems grammatically from the verb, Shabath, which we discussed last month, and we know it to be frequently translated as the English word, "rest."
We see the word "rest" right here in verse 23: “To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD”; but here, the Hebrew word for "rest" is "Shabbathown" a Hebrew word translated in the King James as "rest" eight times, and as "Sabbath" three times. It can refer to the weekly Sabbath or it can refer to any of the Holy Days, as well.
Please remember that, at this point in time, the Israelites had not yet arrived at Sinai and the stone tablets containing the codified Ten Commandments had not yet been given to Moses. Nevertheless, it is evident from what we read here that this Sabbath commandment – as well as the other nine – was in effect, in force and holy at that time, and had been so all of the way through from creation.
Still in verse 23, what did God command the Israelites in regard to how they should prepare their manna on that Preparation Day, before the weekly Sabbath?”
23b: ... bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.
The old English word ‘seethe’ can mean "boil" or "roast."
24: And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.
This was yet another wonderful miracle, which proved the specialness of the Sabbath Day. Now, here are two huge questions for us:
The answer to the first question is quite simple. In fact, we have already alluded to the answer in God’s Word today; and I'd like to repeat the principle now. If it applied to the early New Testament Church, it certainly does apply to us, as well.
I Corinthians 10:
1: Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
3: And did all eat the same spiritual meat...
Verse 6: Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted...
Verse 9: Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents...
Verse 11: Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
How did the "church in the wilderness" (Acts 7:38) in Moses and Aaron’s
time displease God at the time of Exodus 16 and Numbers 11? First of all, by continually murmuring against
Him. They wouldn’t let up on that! Secondly, they blatantly disregarded His clear
instructions regarding His Sabbath days. He told them to collect twice as much
manna on the day before the Sabbath. Some of them didn’t do it and went out
looking for some on the Sabbath. Later on there was a man collecting
firewood on the Sabbath, and we will come to that account at a later date. The
Israelites blatantly disregarded the LORD's clear, simple instructions regarding His Sabbath days.
We had two questions here. One of them is: Does this command against baking, boiling and roasting on the Sabbath day still apply to the people of God's New Testament church? I believe that Paul's words in I Corinthians 10 strongly indicate that it does. Secondly, we asked, If so, how far does God want us to take it?
The answer to the second question is not so clear-cut as the first. So how far does God want us to take it? It seems as first glance to be quite simple. The words " bake" and " seethe" are quite easy to understand. So, on God’s Holy Sabbath days, do not do any baking of bread, cakes, etc. and do not do any boiling or roasting of meats, vegetables, etc.
I am sure that virtually all of us agree with these instructions, because these activities take quite a lot of work. If those kinds of foods are desired, then we should complete the preparation of them on the Preparation Day. But, because today we have the benefit of electric and gas powered cooking appliances, most of which are fully automatic and require little or no real work, then some tricky questions often come up. Here are some of them:
- Can I make toast on the Sabbath (charring previously-baked bread)?
- Can I warm up previously-cooked food items in a slow-cooker (crock-pot), regular or microwave oven?
- Can I use a slow-cooker (crock-pot) to cook fresh but previously-prepared ingredients?
- Can I boil an egg?
- Can I brew coffee?
- Can I boil water for tea, instant coffee or hot chocolate?
These are just a few of them. They are real questions and I do not ridicule or mock them. However, I am not totally sure that there is one clear "yes" or "no" for all of these questions. Some brethren would answer one way on some or all of these questions. Other brethren would answer the other way on some or all of them. If you are not sure, or even if you are sure, or feel that you are sure in your own mind, then God’s Word gives us two pieces of advice; and both of them are what we concentrated on in Part One of this series. Advice Number One is: Err on the safe side:
And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
Advice Number Two is: Do not unrighteously judge other brethren for their decisions which you might disagree with:
16: Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
I am going to "plug" this scripture every single time that I give a
message in this series, because it is very important. If we say, "Don’t let anybody else judge us with regards to these things," then we are not to judge other people about these things
Being a good example in this regard? Yes! Great! Knock-out! Judging people who disagree? No!
Let’s go back to Exodus 16 now, where we find our Israelite forefathers still camped in the Wilderness of Sin on the Sabbath Day:
Verse 25: And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field.
Here is another quote from Barnes' Notes:
The practical observance of the Sabbath was thus formally instituted before the giving of the Law. The people were to abstain from the ordinary work of every day life, and they were not to collect food, nor, as it would seem, even to prepare it as on other days.
This seems quite simple (even though Mr. Barnes probably kept Sunday!).
26: Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.
There are at least two implied commands here in these two verses. These commands,
I believe, were both to the ancient Israelites and to God’s church today:
On God’s Holy Sabbath days, do not do your daily work that is normally done on the other six days of the week! Do not do your food gathering!
In our modern day we do not have to collect manna. The equivalent food-gathering for most of us may include picking fresh vegetables from our gardens and grocery shopping. Also, by extension, if we are away from home, it could include the purchase and consumption of a restaurant meal.
What God is telling us here is that we will not be blessed if we do these things during His holy time. Quite the opposite, in fact! But guess what some of our Israelite forefathers did? According to their usual form:
27: And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.
At that time, the Israelites were totally and directly dependant on God for their food.
We are today too, of course; everything goes back to God’s provision.
But today we are note as directly dependant on Him as those people were during their forty years of total dependency on
His provision of manna.
Imagine the shock you would get if you went to your local supermarket one Sabbath day, "just to pick up a couple of items I forgot to get on Friday"; and you found it closed, with a sign on the door that read “Closed” because God had miraculously emptied the shelves.
Or imagine if, on your way to church one Sabbath, you stopped at your local Tim Horton’s coffee shop in order pick up your daily cup of java; and it was closed because God had miraculously spirited away all of the donuts, muffins and their entire stock of Columbian Dark Blend!
I jest, of course; but in effect, that is exactly what God did every single week throughout those forty years by giving the Israelites twice as much manna each Friday and withholding His usual daily provision of it on His Sabbath Day.
It was a great miracle! God did
it! I read an opinion somewhere that the manna was naturally occurring stuff that grew
on the bark of certain trees and that the vast flocks of quails were a natural phenomenon.
No! God did it! There is no doubt about it!
God performed this weekly miracle for the Israelites' own good. God made His Sabbaths for man (Mark 2:27) – for man’s benefit – for both the short-term and long-term benefit of man.
Now let’s look at what YHVH said that Sabbath Day when He saw the Israelites going out looking for manna. Again, this is another verse that is very, very significant for us:
28: And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?
God’s commandments and laws? Weren’t these just temporary rules for the provision and the receiving of the Sabbath food? Didn’t these rules just constitute a separate, temporary covenant that was limited to the forty year manna period?
If you can find any scriptural mention of any such temporary covenant, please let me know, because I
searched for one this morning, and I couldn’t find one. The word "covenant"
does not appear between Exodus 6 all of the way up to Exodus 19. There was certainly no specific, separate,
temporary covenant that covers this period.
No. These are not temporary commands limited to the forty-year manna period during which God miraculously provided manna for the Israelites. These are God’s eternally-binding commandments and laws. Right here, He says, “my commandments and my laws” – specifically relating to and expanding upon His fourth commandment, which He had not given them yet in codified, cast-in-stone format; but which was still in force.
Remember what we studied last month about Jesus’ magnification of His Laws? That He gives us the basics and then expands on them? That is basically what He was doing here. When He says, "my commandments and my laws," there is nothing about them being temporary.
Let us just blitz through a couple of other scriptures that prove that God’s commandments and laws are forever.
O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever!
The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.
44: So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever.
Verse 142: Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.
What I am trying to get at there with those few examples is that there is nothing temporary about God’s
commandments and laws.
Back to Exodus 16:
29: See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.
The last phrase of this verse has been ridiculed and
misconstrued to mean that God unreasonably confined the Israelites to their tents
– and later to their homes – on the Sabbath Day. That is not
true! We all know very well from Jesus’ example that they certainly did not sit at home every Sabbath day and do nothing.
This misguided idea likely led the Jews to come up with the very unscriptural
"traditions of the elders" with regard to something called the “Sabbath
Day’s journey” (Acts 1:12), which we will examine discuss this in detail in
a later episode.
This command in Exodus 16:29 was specifically relative to the attempted collection of manna as mentioned in the previous verses; and was a warning against going out on the Sabbath to do other work, as well. Here, YHVH was warning those who had neglected their Preparation Day duties, and was warning them not to go out of the camp – the tent community – into the surrounding countryside on the Sabbath Day in rebellious attempts to collect manna. Of course, the manna was not there anyway! So eventually, at the end of all of this, whether they liked it or not, they appeared to get the point. I am not sure that they totally did – as we learn from their continuing history; but at least they appeared to get the point for the time being. And what was that point? The point was for them – and for us – to imitate what God did at the end of His re-creation work.
The Israelites seemed to have been somewhat memory-challenged. But we sometimes are too! This is part of the reason why we keep the Sabbath every week – to remind ourselves about these things. Again, the point that we have to learn from all this is to imitate what God did at the end of His re-creation work:
And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
God "shabath'd" on the "shebiy" day.
So the people rested on the seventh day.
This verse is almost like a parallel scripture with Genesis 2:2.
At long last the people finally seemed to have got the point, and they too
"shabath'd" on the "shebiy" day. At last, they emulated God’s example.
At last, they obeyed His commandment.
Let us do the same. But let us do so without getting God upset at us, as the Israelites so frequently did. Let us learn from their bad examples. Let us stop fighting and resisting Him. Let us emulate God’s example and reject the Israelites example.
Let us obey His fourth commandment. Let us "shabath" on the "shebiy" day – on God’s "qodesh Shabbath" Day.
Let us rest on the seventh day – on God’s holy Sabbath Day!