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God Provides Quail, Exodus 16:1-13

When my kids were quite little, but growing up quickly, I made a promise to myself. From the very first time one of my kids, in a fit of anger and frustration, yelled, "I hate you!" (as kids tend to do), my response would always be, "I love you!" (I must add here - I never, ever said it with sarcasm - that would have been abusive.) It didn't happen often, but it did happen. This has been one of my favorite parenting choices. Here's what happened every time. Whatever anger prompted the declaration quickly diffused. It's hard to be angry with someone who loves you no matter what. They learned that their parent loved them, even when they were acting up. Unconditional love is hard to come by, but is immensely important!

When God's people complained about their situation (and I believe most acting out is driven by fear), God responded with unconditional love. They acted out in fear of starvation and of the unknown. God acted with patience and acceptance. Israel's "I hate you!" was met with "I love you!" Yours will be, too.

Text:

The whole congregation of the Israelites set out from Elim; and Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.” So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaining against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?” And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the Lord has heard the complaining that you utter against him—what are we? Your complaining is not against us but” against the Lord. Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.’” And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. The Lord spoke to Moses and said, “I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’”

In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp.