May 2, 2021 – Exodus 16 – 17

Lesson Date: May 2, 2021

Focal Scripture Passage: Exodus 16:1-5, 10-15, 35; 17:1-13

AIM: To lead students to discover ways God miraculously provided for the ancient Israelites, and to encourage them to place their trust in God to meet their needs.


Before class: Read the notes on Exodus 16 – 17 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.


INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Remind the students that in our study of the book of Exodus we have been learning how God miraculously delivered the ancient Israelites from bondage and slavery in Egypt. Ask: “What happed in last week’s lesson (chapter 14)?” (God miraculously guided the Israelites on their journey, He miraculously protected them from the attacking Egyptians and He parted the Red Sea to make a way of escape for the Israelites to cross over on dry ground: the Lord also brought the water back to drown the pursuing Egyptians).

Stress the fact that the Israelites saw God do incredible miracles to guide them, protect them, and make a way of escape where there was no way. In chapter 15 they sang songs of celebration and praise to God. The Red Sea crossing was a spiritual high point.

Make the following statements to the class. After each statement ask if they agree or disagree.

  • “If I saw God do a great miracle right before my eyes I would never doubt Him again.”
  • “Since God has protected me from harm in the past I’m sure He can meet whatever need I may have.”
  • “God has met my needs in the past, so I will never complain about His provision in the future.”
  • “God freed me from bondage to sin, so I’m sure I will never be tempted to go back to that life again.”
  • “I am a strong person; I can handle my own problems. I don’t need the encouragement or support of other Christians.”

Tell the students today’s lesson from Exodus 16 – 17 is titled Miraculous Provision. We are going to discover ways God miraculously provided for the ancient Israelites. This should encourage us to place our trust in God to meet our needs.



  1. The Israelites Complained.
    • Read Exodus 16:1-3.
    • Explain the following:
    • Ask: “According to verse 2, what did all the Israelites do?” (murmur and complain against Moses and Aaron).
    • Ask: “According to the end of verse 3, what were they complaining about?” (they were hungry).
    • Direct the students’ attention back to the beginning of verse 3, and then ask: “What did they say they would rather have done than be hungry out there in the wilderness?” (die in Egypt where they had plenty of food).
    • Stress the fact that they said they preferred slavery and death in Egypt with plenty of food to freedom in the wilderness with hunger.
    • Ask: “Wouldn’t you think people who had seen God do all those amazing miracles would trust Him to give them the food they needed?”
    • Summarize: In spite of all the miracles they had witnessed, the Israelites murmured and complained because they were hungry.
  1. God Miraculously Met Their Need.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Exodus 16:4-5.
    • Ask: “What did God say He would do for the people?” (miraculously rain down “bread from heaven” for them to eat).
    • Stress the fact that God told them to gather a certain amount of this “bread from heaven” every day.
    • Ask: “Why did He want them to do this? Why didn’t He give them enough food to last a whole month?” (because He wanted to test them to see if they would obey His laws).
    • Ask: “What was different about the sixth day?” (they were to gather twice as much as they did the other days).
    • Tell the class that Moses and Aaron assembled all the people to tell them what the Lord had said.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Exodus 16:10.
    • Ask: “What did the people see in the wilderness?” (the glory of the Lord manifested in the cloud).
    • Read Exodus 16:11-12.
    • Ask: “According to verse 12, what did God say He had heard?” (the murmurings of the children of Israel).
    • Ask: “What did He say they would receive in the evening?” (meat to eat).
    • Ask: “What did God say they would receive in the morning?” (bread to eat).
    • Ask: “What did He say they would understand?” (that the Lord was their God).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Exodus 16:13-15.
    • Ask: “How did God provide meat that evening?” (He caused quails to fly into the camp).
    • Ask: “How did He provide bread in the morning?” (when the dew evaporated the ground was covered with small wafers of manna).
    • Explain that God gave the Israelites rules for gathering the manna.
      • They were only to gather what they needed each day.
      • If they tried to store manna overnight it bred worms and stank.
      • On the sixth day, however, they were to gather twice as much manna so they would have enough to eat on the Sabbath.
      • Miraculously, the extra manna they gathered on the sixth day did not breed worms or stink.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Exodus 16:35.
    • Ask: “How long did God provide manna for the Israelites?” (throughout their forty years in the wilderness).
    • Tell the students the manna did not stop until they settled in Canaan and began eating the fruit of the land (Joshua 5:12).
    • Summarize: God miraculously provided food for the Israelites throughout their forty years in the wilderness.
  2. The Israelites Complained Again.
    • Read Exodus 17:1-3.
    • Tell the class the Israelites traveled on to Rephidim (locate on the Map).
    • Explain that the word chide (v. 2) means to grapple, wrangle, or have a controversy.
    • Ask: “What did the Israelites complain about next?” (there was no water to drink).
    • Tell the students that Moses warned them not to tempt the Lord, but they murmured and complained against Moses again.
    • Ask: “What did they ask Moses in verse 3?” (why had he brought them out of Egypt to kill them with thirst in the wilderness).
    • Summarize: In spite of the ways God miraculously met their need for food, the Israelites murmured and complained again when they were thirsty.
  3. God Miraculously Met Their Need Again.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Exodus 17:4-6.
    • Tell the class Moses asked God what to do. He said he feared the Israelites were about to stone him to death.
    • Ask: “What did God tell Moses to do in verse 5?” (gather the elders, take your rod, and go before the people).
    • Tell the students in verse 6 God said He would stand before Moses on a rock in Horeb (the region near Mount Sinai; locate on the Map).
    • Ask: “What did the Lord tell Moses to do?” (strike the rock with his rod).
    • Ask: “What did God promise would happen?” (water would come out of the rock).
    • Tell the class that Moses obeyed God’s instructions and the Lord miraculously provided enough water for more than 2,000,000 people!
    • Read Exodus 17:7.
    • Explain the following:
      • Even though the Israelites saw the miraculous pillar of cloud and pillar of fire guiding their way every day, and even though God miraculously gave them food to eat every day, their complaints amounted to asking if the Lord was with them or not.
      • Their behavior reveals man’s character – we are tempted to disbelieve God even when we see His provision on a daily basis.
    • Summarize: In spite of their murmuring and complaining, God miraculously met the Israelites’ need for water.
  4. God Gave the Israelites Victory in Battle.
    • Read Exodus 17:8-9.
    • Explain the following:
      • The Amalekites came out to fight against the Israelites.
      • They undoubtedly brought an experienced army, but the Israelites were former slaves.
      • Moses told Joshua to choose men to fight the Amalekites.
    • Ask: “What did Moses say he would do?” (stand on the hill overlooking the battle with “the rod of God” in his hand).
    • Read Exodus 17:10-13.
    • Tell the class that Joshua obeyed Moses’ instructions; he went to fight the Amalekites, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.
    • Ask: “What happened when Moses held up the rod in his hand?” (Israel prevailed in the battle).
    • Ask: “What happened when Moses let his hands fall down?” (Amalek prevailed).
    • Ask: “How did Aaron and Hur help Moses?” (they held up his hands throughout the day).
    • Ask: “What was the result of Aaron and Hur helping Moses hold up his hands?” (the Israelites won the battle).
    • Summarize: In spite of their inexperience, God miraculously gave the Israelites victory over the Amalekites.


PERSONAL APPLICATION: The ancient Israelites complained when they didn’t have enough food and they complained again when they didn’t have enough water. Complaining is a pretty common trait of humans. Read the following to the class:

In some parts of Mexico hot springs and cold springs are found side by side. Because of the convenience of this natural phenomenon the women often bring their laundry to boil their clothes in the hot springs and then rinse them in the cold ones. A tourist who was watching this procedure commented to his Mexican guide, “I imagine that they think old Mother Nature is pretty generous to supply clean hot and cold water here side by side for their free use?” The guide replied, “No senor, there is much grumbling because she supplies no soap.”[1]

Tell the students in today’s lesson we have discovered ways God miraculously provided for the ancient Israelites. He gave them food to eat and water to drink. He also gave the inexperienced Israelites victory over an experienced foreign army. We can learn some important lessons from these things:

  1. When confronted with problems, we often forget God’s power and provision in the past and start complaining.
  2. We must remember that God can miraculously provide for our needs if He chooses to do so. He has not retired from the miracle-working business; if we need miraculous help He can provide it.
  3. The miracle of the manna teaches us that we must depend on God every day. Yesterday’s provision is gone and tomorrow’s hasn’t come yet. We need God’s provision and blessing every day.
  4. The miracle of the water teaches us that God can provide for us from an unlikely or impossible source.
  5. Israel’s victory over Amalek teaches us that God can give victory, but sometimes we need fellow believers to hold up our hands.

Tell the class God’s miraculous provision for the ancient Israelites should encourage us to place our trust in God to meet our needs. Read Philippians 4:19. Encourage everyone to place their trust in God to meet their needs. Voice a closing prayer.


CONCLUSION: Encourage everyone to memorize Philippians 4:19. Suggest that they make a list of ways God has provided for them in the past, so they can review it when troubles or needs arise in the future.



[1] Bible Illustrator for Windows, Version 2.0b, © 1990-1997 by Parsons Technology, Inc.

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