God continues to take care of His people despite their murmuring, their obstinate complaining. In chapter 16 of Exodus the Children of Israel have been traveling for a month and a half and they begin to get hungry. However, instead of asking Moses about the food situation they start murmuring against Moses and Aaron. Again they state that it would have been better for them to die in Egypt than starve to death in the wilderness. They just cannot believe that God will take care of them. Well, he does in grand style. He has manna show up on the ground every morning, even twice as much the sixth day so that His people can rest on the Sabbath. Now that is awesome! Everyday the people are reminded that God is taking care of them because they go out and gather their food which is sufficient for all 2-3 million of them.
Believe it or not, getting food every morning is not enough for them. They traveled a little further and ran out of water (chapter 17). Instead of saying, "Hey God is pretty wonderful, He provides all of our food, He has turned bitter water into sweet, He parted the Red Sea (that was really something to see-don't you remember), He destroyed of all Pharoah's strength, and the Egyptians gave us all of their wealth, we should ask Him for some water here." But, instead they said, "Is the Lord among or not?" They started murmuring again. God tells Moses to take His staff and strike a rock in front of the elders and when he does water springs forth and they all have enough to drink. These are some really fantastic works that God is doing for them. I would think this would build their trust in Him.
All of this time it is Aaron that is the mouth-piece for Moses, Moses gets the revelation, Moses tells Aaron what to say and Aaron says it. So if anybody was on the inside track with the Word of God, it was definitely Aaron.
Three months after leaving Egypt they arrive at Mt. Sinai, Moses goes up on the mountain and communes with God, God is giving Moses the information necessary so the people can worship him and be His people.
:3 And Moses went up unto God,
and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying,
Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob,
and tell the children of Israel;
:4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians,
and how I bare you on eagles' wings,
and brought you unto myself.
:5 Now therefore,
if ye will obey my voice indeed,
and keep my covenant,
then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people:
for all the earth is mine:
:6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests,
and an holy nation.
These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
:7 And Moses came and called for the elders of the people,
and laid before their faces all these words which the Lord commanded him.
:8 And all the people answered together, and said,
All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.
And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord.
They said they would believe and do the Word of the Lord? GREAT!
Moses went up to God several times. He brought to the people the revelation concerning the ten commandments, laws concerning servants, laws of restitution, how to get along with each other, and the three yearly feasts (chapters 19 - 24). The fifth time he went up he was receiving revelation of the instructions for the Ark of the Covenant and the duties of the priests, a rather lengthy subject (chapters 25 - 31). This proved to be too long and the people of Israel couldn't hold on to their minds and they flipped out again. They didn't hide the Word in their hearts. Joseph waited patiently for 22 years in Egypt for the revelation given to him to come to pass, he did so with believing and steadfastness. The Israelites had not disciplined themselves in the Word and therefore couldn't remain faithful for three months.
:1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount,
the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him,
Up, make us gods,
which shall go before us;
for as for this Moses,
the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt,
we wot [know] not what is become of him.
The people relied on their five senses, they couldn't consider the spiritual side of their situation. Therefore they wanted gods like the Egyptians had that they could see (their minds have been polluted). How soon they forget the power of Almighty God and that he overthrew all of those false gods.
:2 And Aaron said unto them,
Break off the golden earrings,
which are in the ears of your wives,
of your sons,
and of your daughters,
and bring them unto me.
You would think that Aaron would put up a fight, being the right hand man on the inside track of the man of God. He is Moses' brother, yet he is easily swayed by people, he listened to the people instead of the Word of God.
:3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their
and brought them unto Aaron.
:4 And he received them at their hand,
and fashioned it with a graving tool,
after he had made it a molten calf: [he who? Aaron]
and they said,
These be thy gods, O Israel,
which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
:5 And when Aaron saw it,
he built an altar before it;
and Aaron made proclamation, and said,
To morrow is a feast to the Lord.
:6 And they rose up early on the morrow,
and offered burnt offerings,
and brought peace offerings;
and the people sat down to eat and to drink,
and rose up to play.
Even Aaron didn't stand all of the time. He was politically correct; 100% of the polls agreed with his position. He was 100% wrong with God.
Moses was confronted with so much, yet he believes! When challenged believe for deliverance.
While Moses was with God God told him that the people had corrupted themselves. God even calls them stiffnecked.
Strongs Hebrew Lexicon--definition (abbreviated): qasheh kaw-sheh'; severe (in various applications):-churlish, cruel, grievous, hard([-hearted], thing), heavy, + impudent, obstinate, prevailed, rough(-ly), sore, sorrowful, stiff ([necked]), stubborn, + in trouble.
:19 And it came to pass, as soon as he [Moses] came nigh unto the camp,
that he saw the calf, and the dancing:
and Moses' anger waxed hot
and he cast the tables out of his hands,
[the ones written by the finger of God, and brake them beneath the mount. ]
:20 And he took the calf which they had made,
and burnt it in the fire,
and ground it to powder,
and strawed it upon the water,
and made the children of Israel drink of it.
Moses didn't get any help from Aaron either, here Aaron opposes Moses, yet Moses didn't give in, one man against 2-3 million, a whole body of unbelief. Moses continued to stand on the Word of God. This is our challenge as well, to stay steadfast on the Word of God. It is great to be surrounded by people who want to believe the Word and are active with it. That is today and it is great, what about tomorrow, or next week, or ten years from now? What if steadfast believers do not surround you? Then what are you going to do? Mope because there is no one around you that believes? Moses could have moped a lot, but instead, he goes to God and says "help." And it wasn't because he received encouragement from anyone to do so, he was basically alone among over 2 million people.
:21 And Moses said unto Aaron,
What did this people unto thee,
that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them?
:22 And Aaron said,
Let not the anger of my lord wax hot:
thou knowest the people,
that they are set on mischief.
:23 For they said unto me,
Make us gods, which shall go before us:
for as for this Moses,
the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt,
we wot not what is become of him.
:24 And I said unto them,
Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off.
So they gave it me:
then I cast it into the fire,
and there came out this calf.
Aaron blames the people and says the calf just rose up out of the fire! But Aaron was the one who made the calf (Exodus 32:4). No matter what God did for them they slipped back into unbelief, they stopped being thankful. The people would believe for a while and then unbelief would creep in again.
From this record we see that it is very important to continually feed our minds and hearts the Word of God.
:10 The thief cometh not,
but for to steal,
and to kill,
and to destroy:
I am come that
they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly.
If we allow it, the Word will be stolen from us. We must stand fast, be faithful and believe His Word. Take Him at His Word. Proclaim His Word.
You can view a map of the Exodus, it gives you an idea of their travels.