How God Took Care of the Israelites

After the Egyptians had been killed in the Red Sea, Moses led the Israelite people out into the wilderness. For three days they did not find any water. Then they came to Marah, which means "bitter." There was water there, but it was so bitter that the people could not drink it. The people started complaining, so Moses prayed to the Lord. Then God showed him a piece of wood which he threw into the water and the water became sweet. Then God told them, "If you will keep my laws, I will not put any of the diseases on you which I put on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who leads you."

From there the Israelites went to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees. Then they started to cross the desert toward Mt. Sinai. On the way the people started complaining to Moses and Aaron. They said, "We wish God had killed us in Egypt, where we sat by pots of meat and ate all the bread we wanted. You have brought us out into this desert to starve us to death." So God told Moses, "I will give you food from the sky." Then Moses told the people, "God is the One who brought you out of Egypt. When you complain about us, you are complaining about Him; we are only doing what He tells us. God will give you meat to eat in the evening and bread in the morning." As Moses spoke to the people, the cloud that led them began to shine with a bright light.

That evening many quails flew into camp, and the Israelites killed them for meat. The next morning the Israelites found thin pieces of bread all over the ground that looked like little white seeds. They tasted like wafers made with honey. When the people saw it, they said, "Manhu," which is Hebrew for "What is it? For this reason the bread was called manna. Moses told them, "This reason is the bread that God has given you to eat. Everyone should gather as much as he needs, but only enough for one day. On the sixth day of the week, however, you should gather twice as much, because there will not be any on the seventh day. That last day of the week will be a Sabbath day for you, that is, a day of rest. Everyone should stay home and rest on that day." But some of the people would not obey Moses. First some people tried to save what they had gathered on one day until the next day. But the next morning it was full of worms and smelled bad. Then on the sixth day some of the people only gathered on days worth and went out to look for the manna on the seventh day. It was not there and God became angry with them. "How long," He asked Moses, "will you people refuse to obey my commands?" The manna continued to appear six days a week for the next forty years. And Moses had Aaron to put some in a jar to save to show Israelites in the future. But it didn't spoil.

From there the Israelite people moved on to Rephidim. There was no water to drink there, and so again the people began to complain to Moses. They said, "Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Was it to kill us and our children and our animals with thirst?" So Moses prayed to God and God told him, "Take some of the leaders of the people and go on ahead to a rock on Mt. Sinai. There hit the rock with your stick and water will come out for the people." So Moses took the leaders of the Israelites and hit the rock like God said and water came out for the people.

While the Israelites were camped at Rephidim, some of the Amalekite people who wandered around in the desert came and attacked them. So Moses told Joshua, take some men and go to fight the Amalekites. I will stand on the hill and hold up my stick." The next day Joshua led the Israelite army out to fight, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his stick the Israelites were winning, but when he put it down, the Amalekites would start to win. Moses' arms became tired, so Aaron and Hur had him sit down on a rock, while they stood beside him and held his arms up. So Joshua and his army defeated the Amalekites that day.

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