Today’s reading begins with a song from Moses and concludes with defeat of Amalek.
After the passage through the Red Sea, Moses commemorated the escape from Pharaoh with a song. The song celebrates God’s strength and the salvation He provides. It celebrates the conquering of Pharaoh in the midst of the Red Sea through acts of power. The song goes on to discuss how God’s destruction of the armies of Pharaoh have instilled fear in the various people groups of the region. The song concludes with a celebration of the LORD’s enduring reign over the earth.
As the people of Israel passed through the wilderness, it’s not at all surprising that they would run into issues of finding fresh drinking water. After setting out into the wilderness the people of Israel quickly ran into this issue. When they found available water in the wilderness of Shur it was bitter and not suitable to drink. God revealed to Moses a log that could be placed in the water that would make it suitable to drink and God had provided for the first of many times for the Hebrew people.
Only slightly less important than water for survival is having food available. Given the number of people travelling to God’s promised land, a number greater than 1.8 million, God would need to provide a consistent, safe, and plentiful food source. God first provided quail for the people to eat, but the staple food God chose to provide was a breadlike product that would accumulate in after the morning dew would evaporate in the morning. As it was described it was like coriander seed, white and the taste was like that of wafers made with honey. The name of the food was manna. Oddly enough, there isn’t anything sacred about the name of the food, because the name literally means “What is it?” For the next 40 years, the people of Israel would be eating “What is it?” day in and day out.
God told the Israelites that they were only to collect the manna Sunday through Friday, but they were not to go out to collect manna on Saturday because it was God’s sabbath of rest. The portion that was collected on Friday was to be double the amount necessary for a day’s worth of food rations. It was only on Friday when collecting double the necessary amount of manna would not turn out poorly. If the Israelites collected additional manna on any day of the week other than Friday the manna would develop worms and would need to be thrown out.
As the people of Israel progressed through the wilderness, God needed to continue provided water. When the party reached the wilderness of Sin, God provided water through a rock that Moses struck with his staff. Although God never failed to provide for the physical needs of the Hebrew people, they constantly complained, doubting God’s concern, and desiring to return to the oppression under Pharaoh out of their own self-interest.
After the LORD provided water in the wilderness of Sin, Amalek came up against the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses charged the commander of the armies, Joshua, to choose fighting men to go up against Amalek. As the conflict between the Israelites and Amalek lingered, God strengthened the armies of Israel through the symbol of Moses arms. When Moses arms fell, the Israelites began to lose the conflict, but when raised, Moses arms strengthened the armies of the Israelites and eventually they conquered Amalek.