January 29, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, ‘If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.’ Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.’”—Exodus 16:1–5 (NIV)
The Edge of Tomorrow, Groundhog’s Day, and Looper are all stories centered around a time loop—the continuous repeating of the same moment or series of events.
When I read sections of Exodus, I can’t help but think these people are caught in a time loop! Overall, 14 times in Exodus and Numbers we see the Israelites complain against Moses, which is really against God. Seriously, are they caught in a time loop they simply can’t break out of? Yes and no.
Yes, they’re caught in the time loop known as life in a fallen world. We all face the same temptations, struggles, issues, and situations again and again. Often, we can feel like we’re living the exact same moment, making the same errors, and having the same terrible, ungodly, bitter, ungrateful, entitled, prideful attitude on repeat. For the Israelites, it seems every time they faced any sort of challenge, uncertainty, or slight discomfort, they were discontent and complained.
So, how did we get to this complaint? Well, after leaving the oasis of rest and comfort of Elim, they came to the Desert of Sin. The name actually had nothing to do with sin and could be translated Zin, but as their time there unfolds, we see that this desert had a lot to do with sin.
Now, their issue was legitimate. They were running out of the food they brought from Egypt and needed to eat. However, as much as they/we face the same problems time and time again living in a fallen world, God repeatedly proves He is all powerful, in control, deeply concerned with our wellbeing, and always faithful!
Throughout the plagues of Egypt, at the Red Sea, and at Elim, He brought salvation, deliverance, protection, and provision. Could He not have provided food? Of course! But how quickly they/we forget what the Lord has done. They even pined for their enslavement because it was seemingly more comfortable!
Now, watch what God says, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day,” except the day before the Sabbath. Why? To continue to prove His faithfulness to provide for their needs.
Now, we get to why they WERE NOT in a time loop. The cycle of sin, bitterness, struggle, pride, discontentedness, fear, and anger can be broken. Freedom is possible. It comes by trusting in the Lord! He is faithful and always will be. He keeps His promises. He will never leave or forsake His people. He works all things for the good of those who love Him, and He is our Good Shepherd. Trust in Him!
In your trials, trust don’t complain.
In challenges, trust don’t become entitled.
In doubt, trust don’t grow cynical.
In uncertainty, trust don’t fear.
In your struggles, trust don’t become bitter.
In your temptations, trust don’t despair.
“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge” (Psalm 62:8 NIV). Through Jesus, we can be set free!
Pause: What can we learn from the Israelites and their actions in the circumstances they kept facing?
Practice: Write out Psalm 62:8 and meditate on it today.
Pray: Lord, You are so good! You are worthy of praise, honor, and glory. Thank You for your provision, protection, deliverance, and grace. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.