In summary: the Israelites wander through the desert and whine. First, they wander for three days without finding water. They finally find water, but the water tastes bitter. Fortunately, Moses consults God, and God gives Moses a stick to throw in the water that removes the bitterness.
At this place, Marah, God tells the Hebrews
If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.I wonder if this refers to the diseases that were part of the plagues. That would be odd, because none of them other than boils and the deaths could really be described as diseases on people. It could, instead, refer to the diseases the Egyptians came down with generally. Either way, it is kind of an odd interlude.
Next the people go on to Elim,
where they found twelve springs and seventy palm trees.Remember, when they left Egypt there were 600,000 men plus women and children. Likely over a million people. Each spring had to support 83,000 people. That seems like a lot.
The Israelites complain about not having good food (selectively remembering the meaty stews in Egypt and forgetting the slavery), so God gives them quails and manna from heaven. Manna tasted like honey and looked like flaky frost on the ground. It melts in the sun. Aaron saved some and eventually placed it in the Ark of the Covenant. In this passage, God teaches the Israelites to do no work on the sabbath. Not all the Israelites listened; they tried to gather manna that day. This frustrated God.
After that, the camp moved on to Rephidim.
but there was no water there for the people to drink. So once more the people complained against Moses. "Give us water to drink!" they demanded.Yup, Moses is that much of a jerk. Here we have a group of over a million people. They have no water. They are marching through the desert. They complain about the lack of water and ask Moses for some. Moses, who has demonstrated his ability to perform miracles time and again. And because they ask for wanter Moses accuses them of testing the Lord. What does he want them to do? Die of thirst? Yes, the Israelites had a serious case of selective memory with respect to life in Egypt, but it sounds like life under Moses was no picnic either.
"Quite!" Moses replied. "Why are you complaining against me? And why are you testing the Lord?"
In any case, once the people get to the point where they are ready to stone Moses, he asks God for help, and God tells him to smack a rock. Water come out of the rock. Hurrah!
Jesus tells another parable about how the Jews totally are not going to get the rewards God originally intended for them unless they follow Jesus. A king prepares a wedding feast for his son. None of the guests come, so he invites random people. One of the random guests shows up in everyday clothing and the king has him bound and thrown out. Jesus is harsh toward those who do not follow him.
Jesus escapes a trap set by the Pharisees. They ask him about paying taxes. He sees their trap and says that since the coin shows Caesar's face, it is acceptable to give it to him. The Sadducees tried to confound Jesus by asking him about resurrection. They asked about a woman who had been married to each of seven brothers (serially, kind of like Tamar and Judah's sons). The Sadducees asked whose wife she would be in heaven. Jesus replied that people would not be married in heaven. Good to know!
Psalms and Proverbs
Today's psalm has some nice imagery.
At his santuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,What a great way to praise something! Shouts of joy, singing and music! What fun!
singing and praising the Lord with music.
Proverbs tells us to obey our parents. In particular, listening to our parents will keep us away from immoral women. I think the proverbs have something of an obsession with immoral women.