Exodus 14 “Stand Still”
The astounding pride of Pharaoh and his servants prompted their regret over having allowed the children of Israel to depart, so they chose to pursue and overtake them (verses 5-9). But the murmuring reaction of the Israelites showed that they too were spiritually unchanged by the many miracles performed by the Lord in their behalf (verses 10-12). As for Moses, his initial fear and reluctance were truly transformed, and he continued to step forth as God’s spokesman and instrument:
- As this incident unfolded, what was Moses’s response to his people? (verses 13-14).
- What happened next? (verses 15-16, 19-22).
- How did the Egyptians react? (verse 23).
- What did the Lord then do? (verses 24-28).
After all these momentous events, it says, “And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did … and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses” (verse 31). But is this true conversion? (Subsequent events indicate that in this case, it is not.)
Do you see the Lord’s hand, guidance, protection, and blessings in your life?
Exodus 15:1-21 A Song to the Lord
Moses and the children of Israel sang to the Lord, beginning thus: “I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously….” (verse 1). Read the rest of this song or hymn, in verses 1-19. What words in this song may also be your words, based on things you have experienced or seen in your life? Is there a latter-day hymn that best speaks your feelings and testimony?
Exodus 15:22-27 “I Am the Lord that Healeth Thee”
Read these verses, and consider the Lord’s conditional promise in verse 26. Note also the symbolism in this story:
- The name Marah (verse 23) means “bitterness,” representing the sourness that sometimes enters our mortal experience.
- The healing tree (verse 25) made the waters “sweet,” matching the Book of Mormon’s description of the tree of life (1 Nephi 8:11), which in turn represents the Lord and His presence.
- The “twelve wells of water” and the “threescore and ten palm trees” (verse 27) can be seen as symbolic of the Apostles and Seventy who bless our lives today.
How do you respond to setbacks, delays, hindrances, and other disappointments in your life? What can you learn from the incident at Marah?
Exodus 16 More Murmuring
- What was the next challenge? (verses 2-3). How did the Lord and Moses respond to it? (verses 4-5).
- From verses 6-8 we learn that our murmurings against the prophet are also against the Lord.
- We are told four times in verses 7-12 that the Lord hears our “murmurings” (grumblings, gripes, complaints, whining).
- The Lord said he would “prove” the children of Israel, “whether they will walk in my law, or no” (verse 4). This is also why we are here on earth (see Abraham 3:25-26).
- What specific instructions did the Lord give to the children of Israel in regard to the manna and the quail? (verses 4-5, 16, 19, 24-26).
- How did some of them react to these instructions? (verses 17, 20-21, 27).
- Do we sometimes practice “inexact obedience” before the Lord?
- What can we learn from this episode about Sabbath observance?
What do you think was keeping the children of Israel from accepting the Lord’s sovereignty in their lives?
Exodus 17 “Is the Lord Among Us?”
Again, “the people did chide with Moses,” this time for a lack of water—even to the point of being “almost ready” to kill Moses (verses 2-4):
- The children of Israel have yet to understand that Jehovah is offering to be their “living bread” (see John 6:51) and their “living water” (see John 4:10).
- Our quest to satisfy material needs can distract us from Him who offers to be our material Provider as well as our spiritual Guide.
- Is it appropriate to ask, “Is the Lord among us, or not?” (verse 7). It is not the Lord who is being tested; it is us.
- The next difficulty is a battle with the people of Amalek (verses 8-13). What figurative lesson do we learn from verses 11-13? What does it mean to you to “sustain” our spiritual leaders?