Exodus 15:19-16:18; Matthew 22:1-22; Psalms 27:4-6; Proverbs 10:29-30
OT: “The Lord made a statute and ordinance for them at Marah, and he tested them there. He said, “If you will carefully obey the Lord your God, do what is right in his sight, pay attention to his commands, and keep all his statutes, I will not inflict any illnesses on you that I inflicted on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.” Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy date palms, and they camped there by the water… The entire Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by pots of meat and ate all the bread we wanted. Instead, you brought us into this wilderness to make this whole assembly die of hunger!” …So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “This evening you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morning you will see the Lord’s glory because he has heard your complaints about him. For who are we that you complain about us?” Moses continued, “The Lord will give you meat to eat this evening and all the bread you want in the morning, for he has heard the complaints that you are raising against him. Who are we? Your complaints are not against us but against the Lord.” …So at evening quail came and covered the camp. In the morning there was a layer of dew all around the camp. When the layer of dew evaporated, there were fine flakes on the desert surface, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they asked one another, “What is it?” because they didn’t know what it was. Moses told them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat.” (Exodus 15:25b-27; 16:2-3, 6-8, 13-15 CSB)
When we submit to the Lord and come under His care and provision, there is no reason to worry or fear. At the waters of Marah, where the water was undrinkable, God revealed Himself to Israel in a new way: He was (and Is) the Lord who heals. Just as He healed the waters, He can and will heal us as we submit to Him and come under His care. What a timely word that is. As the world is in hysterical fear over the coronavirus, hear the Lord say now as He said then, “If you submit to My will, obey My words, and walk in My ways, I will not inflict the illnesses on you that are being inflicted on those outside of my covering. I AM the Lord who heals you.” And to seal His promise and to remind them of His faithfulness, He led Israel to Elim. The numbers 12 and 70 are significant – for that is what the family of Israel was when the went to Egypt: 12 sons and 70 people. Now they were a nation and He would cover them, heal them, provide for their daily sustenance if they submitted to Him.
NT: “Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to summon those invited to the banquet, but they didn’t want to come. Again, he sent out other servants and said, ‘Tell those who are invited: See, I’ve prepared my dinner; my oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’ But they paid no attention and went away, one to his own farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, mistreated them, and killed them…Then he told his servants, ‘The banquet is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Go then to where the roads exit the city and invite everyone you find to the banquet.’ So those servants went out on the roads and gathered everyone they found, both evil and good. The wedding banquet was filled with guests. When the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed for a wedding. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him up hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are invited, but few are chosen.”” (Matthew 22:1-6, 8-14 CSB)
Jesus shared one more parable to the religious leaders that were gathered together to challenge Him. The people who were initially invited to the King’s banquet were the religious elite, who liked the idea of being inhabitants in the King’s land but wanted nothing to do with the King or honoring His son. So the King (Father God) opened up His banquet to any who would come… and many from all walks of life took Him up on His invitation. But among those who responded to the invitation, there was one who was not properly clothed. Many are invited to respond to the Father’s invitation to come into His presence and feast with Him, but only those who are properly clothed may remain. What are we to be clothed in? We are to be clothed in Christ. When we place our faith in and on Christ and obey His words, we abide in Him, and it is by abiding in Him that we are able to abide with the Father. First we have to respond to the call… lay down our agendas and heed the Father’s invitation. Then we have to be properly clothed in Christ by dying to ourselves and being born again into new life in Him… then we are able to abide with the King and be satisfied with all His blessings.
Psalms: “I have asked one thing from the Lord; it is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, gazing on the beauty of the Lord and seeking him in his temple. For he will conceal me in his shelter in the day of adversity; he will hide me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock. Then my head will be high above my enemies around me; I will offer sacrifices in his tent with shouts of joy. I will sing and make music to the Lord.” (Psalms 27:4-6 CSB)
King David’s one desire… his primary pursuit, was to abide with the Lord. He went to great lengths to move the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem so that he could be near to the Lord and live in close proximity to His presence – but it is only in Christ that we are truly able to abide with the Lord forever. Now look at the benefits of abiding. Those benefits are ours if we lay aside our worldly pursuits and worries and submit to Him. He will heal us, He will provide for us, and He will protect us always as we are clothed in Christ, ever seated at His banquet of blessing.