Sermons by Pastor Walter Snyder plus announcements, articles, videos, and anything else that doesn’t fit Ask the Pastor or the Luther Library.

02 August 2015

Pentecost 10 Sermon: True Giver, True Gift

Preached on Exodus 16:2-15
Proper 13B/Tenth Sunday after Pentecost
2 August AD 2015

Title: True Giver, True Gift (MP3 Audio)

Communion Summary: Narrow-minded, self-centered, and thoughtless — Israel displayed all these traits and more as they blamed Moses and Aaron for their predicament. They claimed that it would be better to live as slaves than to die free, even though many perished at the hands of the Egyptians before the Exodus began.

How did their rumbling bellies turn so quickly into grumbling tongues? How could they ignore the Lord’s plagues on Egypt? The Red Sea crossing and the death of Pharaoh’s army? The pillar of cloud by day and fire by night? God was intimately involved in their daily lives, working for their survival as His chosen people. Meanwhile, they were astoundingly oblivious to His steadfast love.

They didn’t even remember who to blame — or credit — for their predicament. But when they whined to Moses and Aaron about their poor leadership, the Lord reminded Israel who was truly responsible. These men were God’s agents but they hadn’t released Israel from captivity, saved them from Pharaoh, and led then to this place. Neither were they going to feed His people. The Lord directly intervened as He sent manna and quail.

Similarly, when the people in today’s Gospel began talking about Moses feeding their fathers in the wilderness, Jesus set them straight: “My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. (John 6:32)” He then identified Himself as that true and life-giving bread.

Narrow-minded, self-centered, and thoughtless — that too often describes us, as well. We can be just as blind to God’s blessings, every bit as much doubting His grace. We too often complain about missing an occasional crumb even as He sets before us a feast.

Yet even though we often ignore the Giver or misuse the Gift, the Lord still feeds us as we make our pilgrimage through earthly life into life everlasting. He graciously gives us our daily bread but, more importantly, He gives His Son. In Word and sacrament we feast on this richest of foods and slake our thirst on Him who is the Water of Life. Jesus literally embodies Psalm 104:15, His blood the “wine to gladden the heart of man” and His body the “bread to strengthen man’s heart.”

Manna in the Wilderness Text: And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.”

So Moses and Aaron said to all the people of Israel, “At evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against the Lord. For what are we, that you grumble against us?” And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you in the evening meat to eat and in the morning bread to the full, because the Lord has heard your grumbling that you grumble against him — what are we? Your grumbling is not against us but against the Lord.”

Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, ‘Come near before the Lord, for he has heard your grumbling.’” And as soon as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. And the Lord said to Moses, “I have heard the grumbling of the people of Israel. Say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’”

In the evening quail came up and covered the camp, and in the morning dew lay around the camp. And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground. When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.” Exodus 16:2-15

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of the Proper 13B sermon True Giver, True Gift

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 145:10-21; Ephesians 4:1-16; John 6:22-35

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