“Our God Rains for You”
PENTECOST 10 (PROPER 13), AUGUST 2, 2015
Our God Rains . . . for You!
Text: Exodus 16:2–15
“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you’ ” (v 4).
Have you ever seen the commercial? The one where the voice asks a guy who’s just won the World Series or the NBA finals or the Super Bowl, “What are you going to do next?” The answer: “I’m going to Disney World!” This television commercial first aired on Jan 25, 1987, following Super Bowl XXI: “Phil Simms of the New York Giants, you just won the Super Bowl. What are you going to do next?” “I’m going to Disney World,” he says. And they do! They really do go to Disney World.
So, picture yourself asking the people of Israel, after they have been rescued from slavery, what are you going to do next? Now a lot of stuff happened first. You’ve been enslaved in Egypt for 430 years to the day (Ex 12:41). God sent you Moses who said to Pharaoh, “Let my people go!” Pharaoh said, “No” over and over. But that, of course, was not the end of the story.
So, people of Israel, you’ve seen the plagues—the blood flowing, the frogs, uh, frogging, the gnats pestering, the flies flying, the animals dying, the boils boiling, the hail destroying, the locusts devouring, the darkness descending. What are you going to do next?
So, people of Israel, you’ve roasted your year-old, unblemished lamb. You’ve painted the doorframe with blood. You’ve heard the screaming throughout the night as the firstborn in every Egyptian house died. What are you going to do next?
So, people of Israel, you’ve left Egypt with all their valuables, the spoils, you walked off with their gold and silver and clothing (12:35). You, with the Lord’s blessings, have plundered the Egyptians (12:36). If you don’t remember this detail, the Egyptians were so glad the plagues were over and the Israelites were leaving that they said, “Here take our really expensive stuff.” God helped with this, of course, And then they followed the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. What are you going to do next?
So, people of Israel, you’ve walked across the bottom of the Red Sea with a wall of water to the right and to the left. You’ve seen the Egyptians who pursued you washed into the sea. You’ve sung, “I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him” (15:1b–2). So, people of Israel, what are you going to do next?
The answer is: grumble! complain! whine! What did they say here in our text? “Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger” (v 3). Grumble, grumble, grumble. And the Israelites also said, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness” (14:11–12). Grumble, grumble, grumble. Those ingrates. And if you are wondering, the Lord heard their grumbling!
Now we can sit here today and point our fingers at those dopes and think how ungrateful they were. Of course, you don’t grumble. Right? But of course we do. We grumble. . . when the price of gas is too high and when our miles per gallon are too low . . . when we get the job and when we don’t get the job . . . when the temperature is too high and when the temperature is too low.
We grumble . . . when our teams win 90% of the time and when our team wins 20% of the time. . .when the Republicans are in charge and when the Democrats are in charge. . . when the sermons are too long and when the sermons are too short.
We grumble. . . when we’re bored because we have too much time and when we’re rushed and frantic because we have too little time.
We grumble! We’re worse than Goldilocks. Our porridge is too hot! No, it’s too cold! It’s too much! It’s not enough! Tastes Great! Less Filling!
Even so, the Lord says, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you” (v 4). “He commanded the skies above” (Ps 78:23). God causes it to rain and snow, the wind to blow and the stars to twinkle. God commands the skies above. And so, God brought manna. “And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground. When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat’ ” (vv 14–15).
God commands the skies above. And so, in addition to manna, God brought quail. “At twilight you shall eat meat. . . . In the evening quail came up and covered the camp” (vv 12–13).
God commands the skies above. And so, God brought angels who filled the skies, who sang praises and proclaimed, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger” (Lk 2:10–12).
God commands the skies above. And so, there on Calvary’s hill we read, “It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this he breathed his last. Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, ‘Certainly this man was innocent!’ ” (Lk 23:44–47).
He was, and because He was He took your sins away and He took mine away. “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn 1:29). “[God] made him to be sin who knew so sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21). The Son of God breathed His last while the skies were dark.
God commands the skies above. And so, as the darkness lifted from the skies, the morning of the third day, the women went to the tomb and found it empty. “Why are you looking here? Jesus is among the living!” (cf. Lk 24:1, 5).
God commands the skies above. The skies were bright and filled with clouds. And so Jesus said, “ ‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’ And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight” (Acts 1:8–9).
God commands the skies above. “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you’ ” (v 4). He did; He does. Still today. God has promised to give us everything we need to support this body and life. He does give you your daily bread. “Daily bread includes everything that has to do with the support and needs of the body, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, animals, money, goods, a devout husband or wife, devout children, devout workers, devout and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, self-control, good reputation, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like” (Small Catechism, explanation of the Fourth Petition). All of that comes from God as He has promised.
Even more than that, He gives us the Bread, the Bread of Life, the Bread “who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world” (Jn 6:33). He gives us Jesus.
Here’s the deal. For a long time the dairy folks have had those ads out there that say, “Got milk?” And there have been lots of t-shirts made that have variants of that slogan. Up in Chicago, some of the comfort dog teams have shirts that ask, “Got comfort?” Therefore, my question to you now is this, “Got grumbles?” What do we really have to grumble about knowing what Jesus has done for us?
YOU HAVE NOTHING TO GRUMBLE ABOUT, FOR GOD SAYS, “BEHOLD, I AM ABOUT TO RAIN BREAD FROM HEAVEN FOR YOU.”