05 God Provides in the Desert

UNIT #: 
Lesson Theme: 
God has control over his world to provide for the needs of his people

To understand that though believers may go through difficult situations, God is in control. He is the provider, protector, sustainer and redeemer.

Bible Passage: 

Exodus 16:1-16

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Bread from Heaven

16 The whole congregation of the Israelites set out from Elim; and Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.” So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the 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 complaining against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?” And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the Lord has heard the complaining that you utter against him—what are we? Your complaining is not against us but against the Lord.”

Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.’” 10 And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. 11 The Lord spoke to Moses and said, 12 “I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’”

13 In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Gather as much of it as each of you needs, an omer to a person according to the number of persons, all providing for those in their own tents.’”

Teacher’s Preparation: 

Ask the children to describe a desert. How would it be to live there?
Compare the desert to the life the Israel-ites had in Egypt.
How would you feel if you helped some-one and they started complaining and grumbling?

Main Ideas: 

Student’s Introduction

Many of us have not experienced true hunger. If we are hungry, we wait til the next meal time or just ask our parents. In other parts of the world, hunger is a true problem. Many have hard time trying to find food. We take for granted how blessed we are that we do not have to struggle for our basic needs. Yet we may find ourselves arguing with our parents over the clothes they choose for us or the food that is on our plates. In today’s lesson, we find the Israelites in a similar situation.

Bible Exploration

The Israelites had been delivered from the clutches of Pharaoh and were wandering in the wilderness. It wasn't too long before the people forgot what the Lord had done for them and began to complain. Instead of remembering the great things God had done to free them from slavery, they complained about their hunger. The Israelites focused on their current troubles yet forgot what God had just done in the recent past for encouragement. Was it God’s intention to deliver His people out of Egypt so that they could die in the wilderness?

God told Moses he would "rain bread from heaven". God provided specific instructions on gathering the manna. The Israelites were to gather enough food for that day. No more, no less. Each day God would give them that day's food. They were to trust him each day for the very food they ate. On the sixth day, He would provide two day's worth of food. If one of them was mistrustful, and tried to stock up, the food would melt or rot away.

There are two lessons that we learn from this Bible passage. First, we see the Israelites complaining because they did not have food. It is quite understandable to complain when you are hungry. Wouldn’t you approach your parents if you didn’t have food to eat? The problem is that the Israelites soon forgot how God had delivered them from Egypt and just focused on their immediate need. Another issue is the Israelites never spoke to God directly. They complained to Moses and Aaron. They did not have a relationship with God.

Moses didn't provide the manna; God did. The Lord heard their grumbling yet provided food for them: quail at night and manna in the morning for the next forty years. We see a compassionate God who took care of His people. His wonderful world yielded to his power and provided food for his chosen people.

Key Words

Food provided by God to the Israelites that appeared with dew each morning, white like coriander seeds and tasted like wafers made with honey​



1. What was the name of the Promised Land? (Canaan)
2. The Israelites complained to ________ and Moses. (Aaron)
3. Israelites were allowed to gather Manna twice as much on the ______ day (Sixth)
4. God said to Moses “I will rain down ____from heaven (Bread)
5. ‘Desert of Sin’ is between Elim and ___________ (Sinai)
6. God tested Israelites to see whether they will follows His________(Instructions)
7. God provided __________ in the evening. (quail)

Lesson Review: 

1. Why did the Israelites grumble and complain?


2. How did God test the Israelites through the directions He provided them when gathering manna?



3. What 2 lessons do we learn from the Israelites?



Values for Life: 
  • Let us not to complain but rather be thankful for the blessings that God showered upon us.
  • Let us seek to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ rather hearing about that relationship from others.
Life Response/My Decision: 

Moses started the journey to the Promised Land with 600,000 men and an estimated total of two to three million people including women and children. As a Mar Thoma Community in North America, we may find some similarity with this. About 40 years ago, members of the Mar Thoma Church from the small state of Kerala, India started migrating to North America and Europe. Today, we have a Mar Thoma Diocese in the U.S with over 17,000 members, 75 Churches, and 80 Priests. What an amazing story!

Memory Verse: 

Exodus 16:10

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

10 And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. 

Closing Prayer: 
  • Let us thank God, the great provider, for all His blessings in our life
  • Pray for those who are less fortunate than us who are hungry and without basic needs
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