And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? (Exodus 15:24).
This was the first occasionbut far from the lastwhen the people of God complained against Moses, and it occurred at the bitter waters of Marah, right after their miraculous deliverance from Pharaoh at the Red Sea. Moses reminded them that they were really complaining, not against Moses, but against God, Himself (Exodus 16:7,8).
Now, since all these things happened unto them for ensamples . . . written for our admonition (I Corinthians 10:11), it is most instructive for us today to trace out the progress of Gods response to their murmurings, as He answered first in grace, finally in judgment. To their first complaint, He made the bitter waters sweet (Exodus 15:25). Then, when they murmured about their food (Exodus 16:2,3), God sent them manna from heaven (Exodus 16:8-18). Again they complained about lack of water (Exodus 17:14), and God provided a permanent water supply from the smitten rock (Exodus 17:6). But a tragic commentary on these provisions is found in Psalm 106:15: He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their souls.
When the people complained yet again, doubting the ability of their Creator Godthe one who had created daily food and drink in the desert for at least two million peopleto give protection against their enemies, God finally had to deal with them in judgment, sending them into a 40-year exile in the wilderness, until a new generation could replace the complaining generation (Numbers 14:14,2737). Then, when they complained yet again, God sent a devastating plague that killed many (Numbers 16:11,35,41,49).
The lesson for us is clear: Do all things without murmurings and disputing: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke (Philippians 2:14,15). HMM