Deliverance: The Grumblings of Israel (06.17.18)

By: Reality SF

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Leader’s Note: In this CG material coinciding with the Deliverance sermon series, you’ll find a familiar structure of prayer, reflection, group discussion, and practical application.

(Take a moment of silence and open your time together with a short prayer, asking God to prepare your hearts to receive God’s Word.)

Prayerfully read aloud Exodus 15:22-17:7.

Take a few minutes to discuss the themes that stood out to you about Israel’s first steps from their old life of slavery toward their new life that God has for them.

  • What does Israel’s posture or reaction to their experiences look like?
  • What does God’s posture or response to Israel look like?

Reflection & Discussion (Bondage)
Israel appears to be experiencing a bit of whiplash. They are not used to this new life and are looking back at the predictability of life in Egypt. Their old life of slavery seems easier than this new life in which relying daily on God is necessary for their survival.

Take 5-10 minutes to journal the following prompts in a notebook or on your phone:

  • What are some grumblings or complaints that you have toward God? Does your life look different than you would have planned? Are there things you feel God has unreasonably asked of you?
  • Israel’s centuries of slavery in Egypt are probably not most accurately described as, “There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted” (Exodus 16:3).
    • Do you tend to remember experiences from your past as much better than they were? Or, do you find yourself fantasizing about some future set of circumstances? 
    • If either tendency is true 0f you, how might this distort your vision of the work God is currently doing in your life?
  • Reflect on the season of life you were in one year ago, and where you are now. What complaints did you have then? How are they similar or different than the complaints you have now?

Using mutual invitation, offer each member the opportunity to share what came up during this reflection.

Reflection & Discussion (Covenant)
God has freed the Israelites from their old life of slavery, but Israel has yet to know where their newfound freedom is taking them.

Consider the following: 

  • What was God’s response to Israel’s complaints and fears?
  • God says 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 to see whether they follow my instructions.” (Exodus 16:4). What do you think God was up to with these instructions?
  • Shifting the focus to your community, what are some of your community’s grumbles and complaints? This could be about self, CG, church, the world, or God. How might God respond to these?

Practical Application (Promised Land)
God intervenes in the middle ground between slavery and a life of freedom, re-training Israel to live more fully and freely by trusting Him, relying on Him, and obeying Him. Break into smaller groups or pairs (if desired) and consider the following:

  • For the next forty years after their freedom from Egypt, the Israelites ate manna daily until they reached the border of Canaan. Practically speaking, what does relying upon God daily look like for you? What does it look like to surrender complaints and trust God?
  • How might God be forming you in this process?
  • God tells Moses to create a “time capsule” with the manna: “Take an omer of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the wilderness when I brought you out of Egypt.” (Exodus 16-32-34). Why might God desire His people to save the manna for generations to come?

Close your time together in prayer for one another by confessing grumblings and lifting up both complaints and desires to God.

Optional Exercise:
In the spirit of saving some manna in your own life, set aside a page from your journal, or consider using  a service like to email yourself a time capsule a year from now in order to remember what your complaints were and to reflect on how God has met you in this season of life.