While traveling from the Red Sea to Mount Sinai, the LORD wanted to teach people to rely on his hesed.
After the hesed of the LORD saved Israel from slavery in Egypt, the hesed of the LORD nurtured them with bread and water as they traveled from the Red Sea to Mount Sinai.
The LORD wanted the people of Israel to learn “to listen carefully to the LORD [their] God and do what is right in his eyes, [to pay] attention to his commands and keep all his decrees” (Exodus 15:26).
The word hesed in Hebrew is translated a number of ways in English:
—Faithfulness. (Psalm 117:2 NIV).
—Love. (Psalm 136 NIV).
—Mercy. (Psalm 136 KJV).
—Steadfast love. (Psalm 136 ESV; Exodus 34:6-7).
—Lovingkindness. (Psalm 136 NASB).
—Kindness. (Micah 6:8).
Since no one English word captures the richness of the Hebrew word hesed, I will use the word hesed in this blog.
There were no interstate highways or fast food restaurants along the way between the Red Sea and Mount Sinai. People grew hungry. People grew thirsty.
The LORD promised to “rain down bread from heaven for you”, called “manna”. (Exodus 16:4,15,31). The LORD promised water to drink. (Exodus 15:23-25,27; 17:1-7).
The LORD wanted to teach people to trust his promises.
The LORD wanted to teach people to rely on his hesed.
The LORD wanted to teach people that they do not live on physical bread and physical water alone, “but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 8:3).
For more of my thoughts about Moses, including the Passover and Mount Sinai, please read my blogs “Immanuel: Moses”, “Places of Worship—Burning Bushes”, and “Building the Temple—Moses”; and please read “PART TWO—Establishing the Work of Your Hands: Moses” in my book The Promised Land, at pages 75-121.