Exodus 16:2-4, 6-7, 13-15 - And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and the people of Israel said to them, "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." Then the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My Law or not. ..." So Moses and Aaron said to all the people of Israel, "At 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 grumbling against the LORD. For what are we, that you grumble against us?" ... In the evening quail came up and covered the camp, and in the morning dew lay around the camp. 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."
The thing that amazes me most about this story is God's patience. The people of Israel are just a month and half out from the day God rescued them from Egypt. All the miracles He did to save them should be fresh in their minds—the disasters He brought on Egypt, the way He protected them and their children from the worst of it, the morning He opened a pathway through the Red Sea and saved them from the soldiers. But here they are, only 45 days later, moaning because they are hungry! And somehow they have magically forgotten all the bad things about Egypt—like slavery and attempted genocide. All they can remember is the food.
Don't get me wrong—I'm not saying they should have gone hungry in silence. But there's a difference between grumbling and asking nicely. After all those miracles, they should have known that God could provide for them! Why didn't they pray?
But they didn't. They grumbled. And astonishingly, God is very patient with them. He gives them miraculous bread from heaven, the manna that fell on the ground in the desert. He sends quail so they can eat meat. He treats them gently, like the spiritual babies they are. He gives them time to grow up.
God hasn't changed. He still shows this patience toward us today, the people He loves and calls to be His own. 2 Peter talks about this. It says, "The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. ... And count the patience of our Lord as salvation" (2 Peter 3:9, 15a).
God's patience is surprising—and yet, maybe not, if we stop to think about the greatest thing He did to save us, laying down His own life for us on the cross. Someone who loves us that much—to live and suffer and die and rise again, all to make us His own—now that is a God who loves us! That is the God who patiently works in us, helping us to grow up more and more, "until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God" (Ephesians 4:13a).
THE PRAYER: Father, help me to appreciate Your patience and return it with love. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. When is it easy for you to be patient? When is it hard?
2. Give an example of another story from the Bible you remember when the Lord shows His patience.
3. If you are willing, share a time when God was very patient with you.
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