As the waters of the Red Sea came crashing down upon Pharaoh’s army, Moses and the people rejoiced in safety. They sang a song praising God for His deliverance. Their praises progressed from the past deliverance from Egypt to the future entry into the Promised Land.
Only three days later, the people’s attitude changed. They could not find water and the complaining began. Soon, they did find water, but it was bitter—more complaining. “What shall we drink?” Moses, their mediator with instructions from God, threw a certain tree into the waters and they became sweet.
God had cared for His children for a month, apparently providing the bodily energy to travel with only the food they had brought from Egypt—but they began to complain about that. His patience was generous at that time and He told Moses of His plan to provide bread for them to eat.
Bread was rained from heaven each morning and quails were provided in the evening. The people were to gather only a day’s supply each day, but on the sixth day, they were to gather for two days—enough for the seventh day.
The journey to Canaan was to take only a few days. There were obstacles before them, but God in His providence helped the Israelites to overcome those hardships. As long as Israel remained faithful to God he allowed them to defeat their enemies. Ultimately, His people who follow His commands will obtain their reward.
As Israel continued their journey, they were soon searching for water again. They approached Moses and again complained that he had brought them out of Egypt to die of thirst. God answered Moses’ plea by instructing him to strike the rock in Horeb with his rod and water would come out of it.
The next obstacle the Israelites faced came from their cousin, Amalek. Esau, the twin brother of Jacob was the father of the Amalekites. Problems had existed between these two brothers as sons of Isaac. Now the descendants of Esau had attacked Jacob’s descendants, the children of God.
In the first mention of Joshua in the Scriptures, Moses directed him to choose an army of men to defend the Israelites against the Amalekites. The providence of God allowed them to prevail against Amalek as long as Moses held his rod in the air. After his arm got too tired to stay up, Aaron and Hur supported his arms as he sat upon a rock. “So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.” Unfortunately, this was only the first of many conflicts with the Amalekites.