Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 8
MANNA: GOD’S SAME GRACE SAVES US AND KEEPS US
We will be studying in Exodus Chapter 16, but before we start this lesson, I would like to share with you a letter, we received yesterday, from a wheat farming family in Montana, next to the Canadian border, and I’m just going to read you her closing statement. This is so typical of letters we are receiving from the television audience, as well as those who are getting the Video Tapes. She simply closes her letter by saying ” I can’t begin to tell you what your teachings have done for me. I have grown more in the past 6 months than I have in the past 46 years of my life. Thank you, Sincerely.” We don’t read these letters for compliments, but I tell you it sure helps to know that something is being accomplished for the Lord in what we are doing. So now let’s get back into the Book. In our last lesson, we left off with the children of Israel at Elim. I think my closing remarks were that you can’t just stay on the mountain top. All the hard work is down in the valley. Even though this was almost a mountain top experience for the children of Israel, when they came out of Egypt, and had come to this beautiful oasis, yet they have to move on. They will be moving on down through the Sinai now, and soon will be arriving at Mt. Sinai, and there receive the Law.
“And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month….”
You want to remember they left Egypt in April, and so now this is May. Also remember that in that area of the world it is getting hot. They will again be needing water. We are talking about a few million people, and livestock, so it takes lots of water.
“And the children of Israel said unto them (Moses and Aaron), `Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt (they are already getting squeamish about where Moses is taking them), when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full;….'”
Isn’t it amazing how short memory can be? They didn’t have it that good in Egypt. They were slaves, and under bondage. It almost sounds like they ate at the steak house every night, but that wasn’t the case.
“Then said the LORD unto Moses, `Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove (or test) them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.'”
We won’t take the time to read all of these verses, as it has taken us two years now to get just this far. But most of you know a lot of these verses by heart. So let’s skip down to verse 14, and the appearance of the manna. Most of you know that Israel lived on manna for 40 years. They learned to cook it several different ways in order just to stomach that same food day in and day out. The whole idea with manna, is that this is the very bread of God. Remember in John’s Gospel, Jesus spoke of himself as the Bread of Life. Back here in Exodus, manna is going to sustain the House of Israel as they have come out of Egypt, and all through their 40 years of wilderness journey.
Now, also in this account between verse 14 and 22, God institutes a law that on the sixth day they shall gather how much manna? A double portion. Because He is going to institute the Sabbath before he gives the Law. And I think this is rather interesting: Back in Chapter one of Genesis, where we have the recreation as I call it, God brought everything on the scene in six days and on the seventh day he rested. That wasn’t because God was all tired out at the end of that six days, but he was setting something up that would be for man’s own good. I think it still carries on even unto our own economy, that God still knows what is best for us, and that is, that we need one day out of seven for rest.
“This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, `Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.'”
“And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. And he said unto them, `This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest, of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe (Or cook) that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.’ And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.” And Moses said, `Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.'”
This is set up before the Ten Commandments are given. Now, there is a lot of confusion today about the Sabbath. I have instructed my classes over the years, don’t ever call Sunday the Sabbath. Sunday is not the seventh day, it is the first day of the week. We know beginning back here, God is dealing with Israel, and He does set up the seventh day as the day of rest and worship. It will be incorporated into the Ten Commandments, but we always have to remember that the very high point of God’s dealing with man, centers in not only Christ’s death, and burial, but in His resurrection. This is what sets us apart. We have become believers after His resurrection.
This is the message that Paul is given on Mt. Sinai, as I pointed out before. Just as sure as God gave the Law to Moses on Mt. Sinai, and took it down to the children of Israel, I feel God took Saul of Tarsus from Damascus, down to Sinai and we know according to Galatians that he spent three years down there by himself. So he got three years of private, personal, seminary experience, as the LORD revealed to him the doctrines of Grace. And Paul doesn’t stay on Mt. Sinai; he takes it down and spreads it to the Gentiles. What separates all of this is the resurrection. We are on resurrection ground, and not on the legal ground of the Mosaic system.
Let’s turn to Acts 20. Now, the Sabbath is a controversy with so many people and groups. There is one group that shouts from the house tops that the reason America is having problems is, we have forgotten about the Sabbath. We have lot’s of problems, and a lot of it is spiritual, but not because we don’t keep the Sabbath. Remember, Paul never instructs us to keep the Sabbath, because now it is the first day of the week, because it was on the first day of the week that Christ rose from the dead. So, here in Chapter 20, Paul is out ministering to the Gentiles. Let’s go to verse 6:
“And we sailed away from Philippi (Philippi was in Northern Greece.) after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days. And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples” (not the Twelve, but the believers who heard Paul preaching the message of Grace, and believed.) came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them,….”
It is interesting that we also have the same connotation in I Corinthians Chapter 16. I’m touching on this because so many people either call or asked, “Are you sure we are not supposed to keep the Seventh day Sabbath.” Yes I’m sure, because that was under the Law, and it’s also interesting that out of all the Ten Commandments that Paul refers to throughout his letters, the only one he makes no mention of is the Sabbath. In other words Paul will say, since the Law is fulfilled with love, therefore we don’t steal, therefore we don’t commit adultery, therefore we don’t bear false witness, and he goes on down the Law through his Epistles, like in Ephesians, where he talks about honoring thy father and mother. So Paul makes a reference to nine of the Ten Commandants, but the tenth one is glaringly absent. And that is the one concerning the Sabbath day. That separates us from the legal system. Remember he’s writing to Gentile believers.
I Corinthians 16:1
“Now concerning the collection for the saints,….”
Remember, Paul was instructed by Peter and James back in Acts 15, when they finally agreed to let Paul go to the Gentiles without making legalists out of them, or Judaising them, but to be sure to remember the poor here in Jerusalem. And you remember why they were poor don’t you? In the early part of Acts the Jewish believers had houses and land, but they sold them and they put all the money into a common kitty, and everyone lived on it. If you have a common kitty, and let everyone use out of it, you will finally run out. We can see this happening even here in America, with the entitlement programs.
So those Jewish believers lived well for a while, but they ran out of money. And these are the poor that Peter and James are referring to in Acts 15. If the Jewish believers had accepted the Kingdom that was offered to them they would not have gotten into that predicament. But they rejected the Kingdom. The Kingdom did not come in and they found themselves destitute. But God in his sovereignty continued to watch over them by laying upon the hearts of the Gentiles of Paul’s Gospel to give offerings for the poor saints at Jerusalem. So this is the background for these next 2 verses.
I Corinthians 16:1,2
“Now concerning the collection for the saints (those Jerusalem believers) as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week (do you see that? Now a lot of people have even told me, “Well, Sunday was elevated as part of the pagan background.” I can’t help it if the pagans named the first day of the week, but our whole idea of the first day of the week is not necessarily the name of the day. It was the day of the resurrection. Always remember that) let every one of you lay by him in store (not ten percent of your income, although that is the guideline. I don’t want people to misinterpret me. But beginning way back in Genesis in Chapter 14, Abraham gave to Melchizedek ten percent so that became a guideline. The only thing I maintain is, don’t mandate that someone give ten percent or else. If you do, then you are putting them back under the Law. And Paul never says that. He says, “But when you give, give as God has prospered you.” You are not under a mandate to give, but rather with your own free conscience as it is led by the Holy Spirit to give as God has prospered you.), as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”
I guess Paul felt like I do on this matter. There is nothing I hate worse than to have to ask for money. And that is why we won’t do it on this program. I just detest it, and I think Paul did also, for he says to have all that done before I get there. So reading verse 2 again in it’s entirety: “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”
There is another Scripture reference with this day of the week. Turn with me to Romans Chapter 14. And here again, I’m not taking anything away from our Sunday services, but on the other hand, I always remember the old evangelist John R. Rice, and he use to almost deplore the Sunday morning worship hour. And what he was deploring was the fact that it had just become a ritual. It was that one hour a week, when people thought that they were fulfilling their obligation to God. I like what Paul says here:
“One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike.” (now, if you have a translation, like a King James, the word is alike, but it is in italic isn’t it? So that has been added by the translators to clarify. But it is clearer if it is left out. Let’s read it without the italic.) “One man esteemeth one day above another, another esteemeth every day.”
Do you know what that means? Do you just become a Sunday Christian? Do you just become aware of worship and praise once a week? When should we? All seven of them. Every day of the week, you and I in this Age of Grace who realize what God has done on our behalf, and we are unworthy of any of it, then is it too much to expect that every day becomes a day of praise and worship? That doesn’t mean we have to go to a formal service, or have your church doors open seven days a week, but it does mean that your Christian walk should just not depend on that one day a week service for worship. But when it comes to the formal assembling of God’s people, on what day does Paul refer too? The first day. Now I hope that may have helped a little bit.
I just had another thought, and it never dawned on me until just the other day. How many of you have heard the expression, “Have you ever prayed the sinner’s prayer?” Could you sit down with someone and help them pray the sinner’s prayer? What was the sinner’s prayer? God be merciful to me a sinner. Think a moment, and this may shock some of you (TheBook shocks me almost every day). Do you realize that after all that Christ has done it is a finished transaction, and do you realize we don’t have to ask or beg for mercy, for it has already been done? We are actually amiss to say to God, be merciful to me. He’s already been merciful when he suffered, died, and was victorious by rising from the dead. He now offers salvation, not to someone who can crawl through all kinds of human sufferings, to approach God.
I can remember years ago, hearing an elderly lady in our church talking about some poor lost individual, and I can still here her as she said, “Oh, if only that poor man could pray through.” Pray through what? What was he supposed to pray through to somehow approach God. There is nothing to pray through. It has all been done. Remember where the Shepherd has the door to the sheepfold? At ground level, right in front of us.
And so His mercy has already been accomplished, and we don’t have to beg for it. And the same thing comes into this area of forgiveness. Do you and I have to beg for forgiveness? No, our sins have already been forgiven. Come with me to Colossians for a moment. So many of these things we read before the Cross, we try to insert after the Cross and it won’t work. Leave them where they are. The title of a song just came to mind, “And the Cross Makes the Difference.” And it does make a difference. Here again, Paul writes to us believers:
“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, (remember we are still dealing with that old Adam at that time) he hath (past tense) quickened together with him, having (past tense) forgiven you all trespasses;” Isn’t that great. He has forgiven all our sins.