One of our people at church asked a question about a recent Bible reading as we are reading through the Bible this year.
“In Exodus 16:3, the Israelites begin complaining about how hungry they are. What happened to all of the animals that they had in Egypt? I don’t recall reading that anything specific happened to the animals. Do you think they left them behind for sake of speed?”
Ex 12:38 says that “many other people [Gentile Egyptians] went up with them, as well as large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds.” as they left Egypt. No doubt, it wouldn’t have been difficult for Pharaoh’s Army, (foot soldiers as well as horses & chariots [Ex 14:9-10]) to overtake the people with their slow-traveling livestock.
For “large droves of livestock” to die in the desert would have been a big deal, but yet we aren’t told about it. When we come to 19:13, God warns Moses to not allow people nor animals to touch Mount Sinai. In 21:21 and 22:1-5, 10-15, God gives instructions on how to handle situations with animals. In 24:5, Moses and the young Israelite men “offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings”. Now, how would all of this be possible if the people had no animals (16:3)?
It seems that Pharaoh and his army (14:17) weren’t the only ones whose hearts were hardened; it appears that repeatedly, the Israelites’ hearts were hardened as well. But in 14:31, the people repented and pledged their undying allegiance to Yahweh and Moses. Yet again, in 15:24, the people are back to grumbling because their lack of water. Even after witnessing the mighty hand of God in drying up the Red Sea, and seeing the recent abundant provision of the Lord in 15:27 in providing fresh springs (not ponds, rivers or lakes), as well as shade (though it would have been difficult for very many of the 3 Million+ people [16:37] to be able to enjoy the limited shade of 70 palm trees). In 16:2-3, the people are grumbling again. It was a vicious cycle that we see the people living throughout the Exodus.
It’s easy for us to point out their faults and overlook our own similar vicious cycles.
Application: Are you grateful for God’s abundant provisions? Or are you, once again, grumbling?