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March 5, 2013 – Exodus 16

Click here to read Exodus 16 on BibleGateway.com

facepunchSometimes I’m amazed there’s not more face-punching in the Bible.

All of us have felt the frustration of knowing what’s going to happen, telling someone what’s going to happen, and then watching as that person appears to be shocked and perplexed when the very thing happens that we happened to mention would happen. What is it about us that we can’t just trust others?

Me: Hey, don’t touch that pot, it’s hot.
Passerby: Really? *touches pot* Ouch! hey, that’s hot.
Me: Ok…”don’t” give me a million dollars.


Things have always been this way, as today’s chapter illustrates so nicely. Let’s summarize: Israelites complain about no food in the desert; God provides Manna. Moses tells people to gather only enough manna for one day; Israelites gather more, which produces maggots and the  stank. Moses tells people to gather twice as much on Saturday, because there will be no manna on Sunday.* People go out on Sunday to look for manna. Moses punches the three Israelites nearest to him. Large brawl ensues. Aaron, recording for the Bible, decides to edit out the brawl for publication.

Blame it on original sin, the devil, too many Twinkies, or space radiation if you wish, but it’s pretty obvious that most of us react pretty strongly to people telling us what to do. We must find out for ourselves. In some ways, that’s not a bad thing; it’s that tendency to find out that has helped us to advance past leeches in the medical field. In other ways, such as bucking the bible, it usually turns out fairly negatively.


We sometimes get the idea that the directions in the Bible are there to “test” us, to see if we’re really faithful enough to God to warrant a trip to heaven. Instead, we need to try to look at the Bible as an “owner’s manual” for life. Example: Thou shalt not commit adultery. The point is not to take away our freedom, but rather God saying “I made you this way; if you go against this intention, your life will not go well.”

It’s like an car manual saying “change the oil every 3000 miles.” If you don’t change the oil, and the car break down, is that cause the manufacturer is coming to your house and smashing your engine to teach you a lesson? No, it because you didn’t follow the directions of the person who knows how it should run.

Today, the challenge for us is to strive to change our perception. Learn to see the Bible as an owner’s manual, rather than a test, and I think we will get closer to the heart of God.

And hopefully, there’ll be less face-punching all around.

*Please refrain from standard “Is sunday the sabbath debate?” We get it; you’re very smart.  Shut up.

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