After the enormous blessing at the oasis by the springs and palms of Elim, YHVH led His flock out of the desert of Shur to the next stage of their wilderness wondering. This time to a region called “Sin”. In English that sounds quite appropriate (even though the name doesn’t mean “sin” in Hebrew), as the Israelites continued to murmur and complain against Moses and Aaron, but this time it was a food issue. Again they accused Moses and Aaron of having taken them to the desert only in order to do away with them. Something very important about their and our hearts is being revealed here by YHVH. This was not only about complaining and discontentment, the Israelites’ state of mind was even worse than that; Egypt/the world still had (and has) more of an attraction than the vision and promises of Elohim. The world of slavery had far more to offer them than their present condition: "Oh that we had died by the hand of YHVH in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full”! (Exodus 16:3), they mourned. This newly freed crowd had forgotten about the cruelty and sufferings of slavery. They were hungry, thirsty and fearful for their lives. They were therefore willing to trade their freedom for a “pot of flesh”. Notice, though, how they still believed in the sovereignty of YHVH who, as far as they were concerned, should have taken their lives in Egypt, as long as there was food there.
What an example for our lives today as believers, those whom YHVH has transferred out of the kingdoms of this world and into the kingdom of His beloved Son! Even though we are in the desert of the nations, Yeshua is the reigning King in our lives, and His spirit is leading us to His ultimate destination. With the above example before us, we then should ask ourselves: “Am I complaining that YHVH’s provisions are not sufficient and still deeming that the world of sin and inequity has more to offer than His righteousness?”
I like to repeat Jeremiah 31:2 as a reminder that in spite of the heart condition, “Israel found grace in the wilderness”. However, YHVH’s favor was granted not because the Hebrews earned it, but because of who they were as “His People”. Remember that YHVH said to Moses to tell Pharaoh: “Israel is My firstborn” and “let My people go”. This was not about the great assembly there in the wilderness. This was about a covenant keeping Elohim, then and still today.
So, in the present situation YHVH tells Moses: “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you” (Exodus 16:4). Many a time in Israel’s history YHVH intercedes on their behalf because of and for His name sake, as His righteous reputation is at stake. Even the prophets make mention of this in their writings, for example: "But I acted for My name's sake, that it should not be profaned before the nations among whom they were, in whose sight I had made Myself known to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt” (Ezekiel 20:9). "Then you shall know that I am YHVH, when I have dealt with you for My name's sake, not according to your wicked ways nor according to your corrupt doings, O house of Israel,’ says YHVH Elohim' " (Ezekiel 20:44; 36:22).
Even in our generation YHVH still knows who His ancient people are, and is accomplishing His purposes for His name’s sake (see Ezekiel 36:16-38), fulfilling every word that He has spoken to and concerning them. We have yet to see this great assembly of Israel in our generation. But what is happening today in the present move of His Spirit is to turn the hearts of the seed, progeny, children or sons of the forefathers back to their identity as Israel. We are not all Jews. In fact, the majority is made up of Israelites who do not know yet that that is who they are. Hence turning to the Torah is for the expressed purpose of restoring our ancestral identity. There is a very severe warning in Malachi 4:6, that if this doesn’t take place YHVH “will curse the earth”.
There are four curses that Israel is warned about in Ezekiel 14: “For thus says YHVH Elohim: ‘…My four severe judgments… the sword and famine and wild beasts and pestilence -- to cut off man and beast…’” (Ezekiel 14:21). It is no light matter when the Spirit of His grace (or favor) has been given to us for such a time as this. In Revelation chapter 7 we read about four angelic messengers who are poised on the four corners of the earth to execute these very judgments (curses). But then another messenger rises, from the east - the rising of the sun. This emissary comes with a very important message addressing the other four. “And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, ‘do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our Elohim on their foreheads’" (Revelation 7:2-3 emphasis added). This seal may not be anything external at all such as an imprint on the skin, but rather, an ‘imprint’ upon the mind. YHVH will seal the identity, even the tribal identity, in the minds of those who belong to Him. This is in preparation for the great Exodus that is mentioned in Jeremiah 3:16-19.
And so, YHVH rained bread from heaven, and as an extra bonus also gave meat in the evening. But for the people it did not come without a cost; more conditions, instructions and testing from Elohim: “And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My instructions [the Hebrew word there is “Torah”] or not” (Exodus 16:4). With the orders in regards to the provision of food for each tent or family, we see for the first time the introduction of a day of rest. Each day they were to collect an omer of manna, while on the sixth day a double portion for the Shabbat, as YHVH was not about to provide that blessing on His special day, as if to say, “I’m resting, but I will bless you with a double portion on the sixth day”. It is important to note the specified amount, of an “omer”, being that we are now counting seven weeks from the waving of the omer on the day after the Shabbat of Pesach. We know that Yeshua was that omer-wave offering so that we could be accepted by the Father (John 20:17; read also Leviticus 23:11). The Messiah said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven” (John 6:41). We are privileged to be able to partake of this living bread daily and at the same time remember how we have been taken out of bondage. Just as YHVH instructed Moses and Aaron to put an omer of manna in a jar and place it in the Tent of Testimony, so too we have an opportunity to rise every morning and collect the manna of the Word and hide it in our hearts (ref. Psalm 119:11).