St. Mark’s Adult Education Meeting Summary
A General Overview of the Old Testament
A Discussion led by The Rev. Mike Kreutzer
Sunday, March 7, 2010
The Old Testament — Exodus: Chapters 15 – 18
The Song of Moses finishes up by including the travels to Jerusalem and the building of the temple. Then the Song of Miriam has one verse that notes how everything is wonderful with the Israelites. However, this soon changes as the first problem to arise in the Wilderness is lack of water. The people blame Moses and Moses in turn asks God what is he going to do. God turns the tables and asks Moses what he is going to do! He instructs Moses to throw wood into the water to sweeten it. God worked his miracles through nature in this respect. The message conveyed is that God will take care of you if you do your part as well — a divine – human partnership!
Now the people were beginning to cry that they had it better in Egypt and why don’t we go back there. Oh, for the good old days! Then came the food shortages and the complaints about that. Moses tried to assure them that God will take care of them. Eat meat at night and bread in the morning. This is where God delivered the manna to the people for sustenance. He also commanded that they only take what they need during the week for each day and on the sixth day they would receive double portions, as they were to rest on the Sabbath day. They were also told to keep a jar of manna to show future generations how the Lord had kept his promise to support them on their journey. In the end, the Israelites ate manna for forty years before coming to the promised land.
It was also noted that in Psalms, manna is glorified, but in Numbers, it was detested! Eating the same food every day for forty years must have become pretty boring! There were continued problems for the Israelites including lack of water again and a war with the Amalecs, where they were defeated as long as Moses could hold up his staff.
Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro caught up with him along with Moses’ wife and two sons. Moses told him about the past journey and how busy he was now setting all of the the disputes that had arisen. Jethro offered some good advise. Instead of being involved with every last problem with the people as he had been, hire good officers to handle all but the major disputes. Moses followed his advice and this new system of governance worked quite well. The moral of the story is that God works through the practical people of the world.