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Exodus 16:1-12

Grappling with Grumbling

  • Matthew Dodd
  • Sunday Night Messages
  • April 26, 2020

Our world has issues. The truth is you do not have to look too hard to find something to grumble about. And with things as bad as they are right now, do you find yourself grumbling more than you have before? Is grumbling something you are grappling with? If so, God has a solution.

In Exodus 16: 1-12, we are going to look at the nature of this wrestling match and discover how to Grapple with Grumbling and win.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Grappling with Grumbling

Exodus 16:1-12 


ILLUS – A Frivolous Lawsuit

1. Our world has issues.

2. The truth is you do not have to look too hard to find something to grumble about.

3. And with things as bad as they are right now, do you find yourself grumbling more than you have before?

4. Is grumbling something you are grappling with?

5. If so, God has a solution.

6. This evening, we are going to look at the nature of this wrestling match and discover how to Grapple with Grumbling and win.

Exodus 16:1-12

1. God led Israel out of Egypt with a mighty hand and manifested His glorious presence in a visible way with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night after He devastated Egypt with ten plagues. (13:21-22)

2. At the Red Sea, God defeated Pharaoh’s army. To celebrate God’s victory, Moses led Israel in a victory song, praising the Lord for His defeat of the Egyptians. (15:1-21)

3. But their victory song was quickly replaced three days later by a song of grumbling at a place called Marah, where they discovered the water was undrinkable.

4. Israel grumbled against God, but He graciously met their needs by sweetening the water so that they could drink and be refreshed.

5. Afterwards, God led Israel to Elim where they enjoyed the 12 springs of water and the 70 date palms; enough to satisfy Israel’s needs.

6. Now, it is important to point out that Israel had been in Egypt for 430 years, forced into slavery and immersed into the culture and religion of the Land of the Pharaohs.

7. In many ways, when it came to Israel’s spiritual maturity, they were infants. So, God had to carefully teach them what it meant to trust Him and follow Him.

8. To do so, God used obstacles and setbacks as object lessons to help Israel grow in their faith. God wanted Israel to know that:
a. The Lord their God would meet their needs.
b. The Lord their God knew where He was going and what He was doing.

9. At Marah, God promised that if Israel would Listen, Believe, and Obey His commands He would bless them.

10. How long did Israel Listen, Believe, and Obey God’s command to trust Him? About a month.

Transition – In order to Grapple with Grumbling and win, we must understand the nature of the problem.

I. Grumbling is a Choice (1-3)

• And grumbling can easily become a habit, a way of responding to the world.
• Spiritually speaking, it will change your DNA.

A. Grumbling has a predictable pattern

1. Israel had been free from slavery for 45 days.

2. But Israel was still enslaved, and the wilderness revealed the nature of their struggle.

3. First, in that day travelers typically brought 30 days of supplies.
a. Israel had plenty of food because they plundered Egypt when they left. (12:35-36)
b. But some supplies were probably running low.

4. Second, Israel was in the wilderness; a hot, rugged, desolate place with little or no access to water or food.

5. So, what did Israel do? They grumbled.
a. Here the word grumbled is a unique word that means “rebellion.” (2)
b. It is used eight times in these 12 verses.
c. The repetition in the Hebrew language in significant. Whenever a Hebrew word is repeated, it is intended to emphasize a point.
d. What is the point? Israel was rebelling against God because Israel did not trust God.
e. When Israel grumbled, they were literally casting a “vote of no confidence.”

ILLUS – A Complaining Monk

APPL – Have you ever met a grumbler?

• It is always something. It is never good enough.
• They are never satisfied, and they want everyone to know it.

Mark Twain once said, “Don’t complain and talk about all your problems. 80% of people don’t care; the other 20% will think you deserve them.”

• The truth is, when a person grumbles it is a revelation of what is in their heart.

Matthew 15:18, But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.

B. Grumbling will spread like wildfire

1. Left unchecked, grumbling will spread like wildfire.
a. First, Israel grumbled at Moses at Marah. (15:24)
b. Then, Israel grumbled at Moses and Aaron one month later. (16:2)
c. But Israel did not stop there. Israel had the nerve to accuse Moses and Aaron of premeditated murder. (16:3)
d. Israel also twisted the facts and revised history, when they said in Egypt, they…

  • Sat by pots of meat, a place rest and abundance.
  • They ate bread to the full, a place that satisfied their needs
  • They basically called Egypt their Promised Land, a land “flowing with milk and honey.”

APPL – A sure sign that grumbling is getting the best of you is when you have a “selective memory” that focuses on the bad and forgets the good. When that happens, even blessings can become a cause for grumbling.

2. Grumbling is very contagious.
a. If left unchecked, grumblers can influence others to grumble. It was true for Israel.

Numbers 11:4-6, And the rabble who were among them had greedy desires; and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, “Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna.”

b. Grumbling can even lead to mutiny. Three chapters later, Israel wanted to kill Moses and Aaron and return to Egypt when ten spies came back and said that the people in the Promised Land were too big and strong. (Numbers 14:10)

APPL – This brings us to an important question. Why do people grumble?

• For some it is the fear of the unknown.
• For others it is the loss of control. Israel had been fending for themselves for 430 years in Egypt and found it difficult to submit to God’s leadership.
• For still others, they just like to play the “victim card.”

3. The bottom-line is grumbling will damage your heart.

4. The good news is, God has a solution.

Transition: And that is where we will turn next.

• We have seen the nature of the problem.
• Now we are going to discover God’s solution to grumbling so that we may grapple and win.

II. Jesus is Our Escape Route (4-12)

• It is so easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to bad choices.
• Grumbling is no different.
• But God does not want to us remain stuck in a rut. He wants us to take His escape route, Jesus.

1 Corinthians 10:13, No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.

A. Jesus is our bread from heaven
1. God took the initiative to graciously provide Israel with quail and bread from heaven before Moses even asked. (4)
2. Again, God was using the wilderness to instruct them and strengthen their faith.

APPL – I believe there are lesson of faith that we can learn during these are difficult times, unprecedented times.
• It is tempting to grumble.
• But grumbling will blind us to a manifestation of God’s solution.
• God wants us to trust in Jesus Christ, our bread from heaven to meet our needs.
• Manna saved Israel from death due to starvation. Christ saves us from the consequences of our sin, an eternity in hell.

John 6:48-51, I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever

• Manna was available and accessible for all. Christ’s offer of salvation is available to all who will believe.

Romans 10:8-9, But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” – that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved

• Manna satisfied Israel’s hunger for 40 years. Christ satisfies our deepest hunger for all eternity.

John 6:35, Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”

B. Feed on Christ daily

1. To satisfy their hunger Israel had to eat.

2. Faith was required to gather and eat the manna.
a. They rose early in the morning, first thing to benefit them the rest of the day.
b. They had to collect the manna daily, a continual reliance upon God.
c. They had to humble themselves and stoop down to collect the manna.
d. With thanksgiving in your heart.

APPL – If you wish to defeat grumbling, please realize that the gathering of manna pictures the keys to a healthy devotional life and relationship with God.
• Rise early and benefit from the Lord’s presence and provision of strength.

Psalm 5:3, In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; in the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.

• Daily rely upon the Lord for strength, guidance, wisdom, grace.

Philippians 4:11-13, Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

• Humble yourself and cast your cares upon Him.

1 Peter 5:6-7, Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.

• Be thankful. Thanksgiving is a powerful weapon against grumbling, and it is God’s will for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

APPL – Jesus is our escape route. Jesus is our bread from heaven. Feed on Christ daily.
• If you are filled with the Lord’s Spirit, there is no room for grumbling.
• If you are content and anchored in the Lord, you will not be overwhelmed by the trials of life.
• If you are filled with thanksgiving, then words of faith will fall from your lips when trials come.
• You will even become a source of encouragement to others.


APPL – Has grumbling gotten the best of you?
• Christ is the escape route.
• He is God’s provision, our bread from heaven.

Psalm 19:14, Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.

Exodus 16:1-12    NASB

1 Then they set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the sons of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departure from the land of Egypt. 2 The whole congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3 The sons of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” 4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will 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 or not they will walk in My instruction.
5 On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.” 6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the sons of Israel, “At evening you will know that the Lord has brought you out of the land of Egypt; 7 and in the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, for He hears your grumblings against the Lord; and what are we, that you grumble against us?” 8 Moses said, “This will happen when the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening, and bread to the full in the morning; for the Lord hears your grumblings which you grumble against Him. And what are we? Your grumblings are not against us but against the Lord.” 9 Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, ‘Come near before the Lord, for He has heard your grumblings.'”
10 It came about as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the sons of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. 11 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 12 “I have heard the grumblings of the sons of Israel; speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God.'”

It doesn’t take long to learn how to grumble or complain. Even at an early age it is possible to master the art of grumbling. In your life, is grumbling something you grapple with? If so, we are going to look at the nature of this wrestling match and discover how to grapple and win.

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