LESSON 36 – God Provides Direction and Water – Exodus 15-17


  • Ex. 15:22-27. – After the miraculous deliverance of Israel from the Pharaoh’s pursuing army, it doesn’t take too long for the Israelites to move from praise to complaint. What is the problem in this passage? (vs 22.23. They traveled for three days and couldn’t find water and then when they did come upon some it was undrinkable.) They call the place Marah, which means bitter. How does Moses respond to their complaint? (vs. 25 – He prays.) How does God answer the prayer? (vs. 25 – the Lord shows Moses a piece of wood; Moses throws the wood into the water and it becomes “sweet” or drinkable) What important promise and warning does God make to the Israelites? (vs. 26 – If they would obey Him and listen carefully to what He says, He would send the same plagues on them that He sent to the Egyptians!) From Marah the Israelites moved on to Elim, where there was plenty of water. (Trace their route on your map.)
  • Ex. 16 – Where do the Israelites travel next? (the Desert of Sin – between Elim and Sinai) What complaint do they make this time? (vs. 3 – We had all the food we wanted in Egypt and now you have brought us out here to die!) How does the Lord respond? (vs. 4 – He promises to rain down bread for them.) What instructions does God give on gathering the bread? (vs. 4-5) Moses tells his people that God was going to take care of them and give them meat and bread. Who did Moses say they were really complaining about? (vs. 8 – God, not Moses and Aaron) What is the amount each was told to collect of the manna? (an omer – about 2 quarts) What happened when people ignored God’s warning to not gather more than they needed for that day? (vs. 20 – When they woke up in the morning it had maggots in it and smelled rotten) Why did they gather twice as much on the 6th day of the week – didn’t it rot? (vs. 22-26. On Friday they gathered twice as much because God wanted them to rest on the Sabbath, Saturday. The manna they gathered on the 6th day didn’t rot.) Did everyone heed these instructions? (vs. 27-30. Big surprise – No. When the people went out to gather the manna on Saturday, there was none.) Why did the people call it “manna” and what did it taste like? (Manna means “What is it” in Hebrew. Vs. 31 – It was white and tasted like wafers made with honey. Much better than a breakfast bar!) The Lord commanded Moses and Aaron to save one jar of the manna as a reminder of His provision to them. We will see later where this jar was placed. How long did the children of Israel eat manna to stay alive? (vs. 35 – for 40 years, until they came to the border of the Promised Land)
  • Ex. 17:1-7 – In chapter 17 we see again the lack of belief and trust that the people have for Moses and God. There is no water at their camp at Rephidim (look it up on a map) and the people get angry at Moses and start to quarrel. They get so angry that they are ready to stone Moses! How does God solve the problem? (vs. 5-7. Moses was take some elders with him and his staff and go to the rock at Horeb and strike the rock. Water came out of the rock!)
  • Ex. 17:8-15 – Attack! Who came and attacked the Israelites? Who were these people? (vs. 8 – the Amalekites. They were descendants of Esau’s grandson, Amalek. This will not be the last encounter with these wicked people.) Why might these people want to attack them? (Remember all of the loot that the Israelites took out Egypt?? Also, the Israelites had been slaves for years and were not trained for battle. They had probably never even seen a battle, much less fight in one.) Who goes out with a group of men to fight the battle? (vs. 10 – Joshua, probably a teen or in his young 20’s at this time) Who goes with Moses and why? (vs. 10-12. Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill with Moses. Moses lifted up his staff and as long as the staff was up, the Israelites win. When the staff is lowered because Moses is tired, the Amalekites win. Aaron and Hur help Moses keep the staff up until sunset. Joshua successfully beats the Amalekites.) What did God ask Moses to do after the battle? (vs. 14-15. To write the account of the battle on a scroll to remind Joshua and all of Israel of how God delivered them from the Amakelites.) Moses also built an altar and called it, “The Lord is My Banner”. (Jehovah-Nissi)


  • Have your children list all of the problems that Israel faced in this section and then list all of the ways that the Lord took care of them. What was the general feeling of the Israelites towards Moses and God at this time? (They were impatient, argumentative, unthankful, unbelieving, and complaining!)
  • Why do you think God put up with them? (He loved them and love is not impatient and angry.) God wants to show Himself to them and let them know all about Him. That’s why the problems came in the first place. Our troubles come because of the same reason: God wants us to experience His love and provision first hand. Not just read about it. What then should be our perspective when roadblocks come against us? (Read James 1:2-5, 1 Peter 1:6-9.)
  • What, according to these verses, should be our attitude in facing trials? (joy, perseverance, rejoicing, realize that God is doing it for our good and advancement, etc.) Do you react like the Israelites when your way is blocked or do you thank God? Do you complain or do you praise? Evaluate your family’s dependence and thankfulness to God in times of stress. What things bring out the worst in you? How can you obey God in that moment?
  • Do we have to act like the Israelites or can we learn from their bad example? Yes, there is hope because we have the Holy Spirit in us and He will give us the victory over ingratitude and faithlessness. End by reading 2 Cor. 2:14-15. Do you stink like the Israelites or are you a pleasant perfume of God’s love to your family and friends??

Digging Deeper

  1. Investigate was manna was and how it was able to sustain the Israelites for 40 years. (Commentaries on Exodus might be a good place to start or try the Internet as well) Draw comparisons between manna and the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ. Why is Jesus called this and how is manna a type of Christ? (Cite references.)
  2. The Sabbath is given to the Israelites for the first time in chapter 16. Why don’t Christians celebrate the Sabbath? Why do we worship on Sunday? What is our responsibility about keeping Sunday holy? Do we have the same restrictions as the Jews and the Sabbath? Why or why not? How you do think we should treat Sunday and why? (Cite references.)