Lent 4—Laetare 2020 (Ex 16, 2–21, Gal 4, 21–31, Jn 6, 1–5)

Photo by Peter Feghali on Unsplash

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || VIDEO

“I have heard the grumbling of the sons of Israel. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be satisfied with bread. And you will know that I am, the LORD your God.”


The Lord hears your grumbling. The Lord hears your complaining. There’s lots of that going around today. We’re frustrated with the government, frustrated with school boards, frustrated with a lack of the information we want or need, frustrated with the abundance of information we don’t want or need. Maybe scared and worried about it all, too!

What we’re experiencing today, is pretty close to what the children of Israel were experiencing in the desert. Now, they had just been rescued from Egypt—saved! With a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, Yahweh saved His children. He brought judgment against Egypt, against Pharaoh, and against the false gods of Egypt. The Egyptian way of life was turned on its head. Not only that, Yahweh led the Israelites through the Red Sea, permanently rescuing them from Egypt.

But they were still in the desert. No food. No water. Their lives, too, had been overturned. No longer slaves. That’s good! But now things were less certain. “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.” Sure, slavery wasn’t good, but it was better than desert. There were meat pots and bread, too!

They were grumbling against Moses and Aaron. Easy scapegoats. Easy for them to shoulder the blame. But the Israelites weren’t actually grumbling against Moses and Aaron. Who are they? Instruments the Lord put in place to serve His children. No, the Israelites were actually grumbling and complaining about the LORD who saved them from Pharaoh. They were blaming the Lord for their problems, their being in the desert, their lack of food, their lack of water. “Bad plan, Lord!” They had one searing thought: “We’re going to die, and it’s God’s fault!”

The story of the Israelites is your story. Not just because we can see ourselves in their behavior. Although that may be true, it’s only partially true. No, their story is our story because we, too, are children of Abraham, children of Isaac, children of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel. Paul tells us, “Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise.” By faith you and I are one with Abraham, one with Isaac, one with Jacob, one with the Israelites.

The same Lord who cared for them and saved them, is the same Lord who cares for you and saves you. Jesus is that Lord. “Before Abraham was, I AM,” Jesus says in John 8. Or as Paul says earlier in Galatians, “In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ…And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (Gal 3:26–27, 29)

The Son of God rescued the Israelites from Egypt. He’s rescued you from sin. He cares for you, too. Gives you daily bread from His and your heavenly Father. And so when we grumble against our leaders, against whoever’s in a position to love and serve us—what are they? They are put there by the Lord to care for you. “There is no authority except from God, and those that exist”—whether presidents, governors, senators, representatives, school boards, doctors—“have been instituted by God.” (Rom 13:1)

The Lord hears your grumbling. The Lord hears your complaining. The Lord hears the worries of your heart. The Lord hears your prayers. He knows the plans your making. He knows what’s bothering you, how your angry, frustrated, afraid, sad. He knows the whole bit. Just like He told the Israelites: “I have heard [their] grumbling.” Your grumbling is not against us,” Moses and Aaron say, “but against the LORD.”

And what does the Lord Jesus do with such grumbling? Well, He doesn’t cast off His people. He doesn’t reject them. Doesn’t destroy them. He cares for them all the more! He saves them, from them! Just as much as the Lord saved Israel from Egypt and Pharaoh, He saved Israel from Israel. From Israel’s doubt and fear and grumbling. You and me, too! The Lord made a promise to us in Holy Baptism, and He will never renege on it! In fact, before He made that promise He worked it all out to save you not only from the devil and hell, but He worked out saving you from your sins, from your grumbling.

Besides that, He will take care of you. He will give you what you need to live. Yes, He fed 5,000 people in John 6. Yes, He fed the Israelites with Manna and Water and sometimes quail in the desert for 40 years. He’ll care for you, too. But more than that! He gave everything to save you. He gave up heaven, He took on a human nature. He was like one of us. He became a servant, even though He’s the Creator of the universe. He shed His blood for your sins, gave up His own life in your place to save. How will He not care for you?

He’s with you no matter what. He was with the Israelites for 40 years until He brought them to the promised Land. He cared for them along the way. He’ll do the same for you. He cares for your physical needs. With things are the way the are and grocery shelves the way they are, it may seem unlikely. We don’t know how he’ll do it. But Jesus does. He knew what He would do it in John 6 and in the wilderness, too. He will give eternal life, too. He makes that promise again and again. In the bread that is His body and the wine that is His blood by His blessing. But in this time you have more promises: Your Baptism, His Word of Scripture, this Sermon, the forgiveness you speak to those around you.

JESUS GIVES YOU LIFE: earthly life, and He preserves it. And HE GIVES YOU LIFE: eternal life. That’s our comfort this Laetare Sunday. Joy Sunday. Pink Sunday. Jesus is our joy, our comfort, our life. No, matter what. He’ll do it. He saves. Saves His people Israel. That’s you and me through our Baptism into Christ Jesus. JESUS GIVES YOU LIFE AND LIFE. You’re Baptized. Jesus hears your worries, your prayers. He’ll care for you. JESUS GIVES YOU LIFE AND LIFE.


1 thought on “Lent 4—Laetare 2020 (Ex 16, 2–21, Gal 4, 21–31, Jn 6, 1–5)

  1. Phil Friedrichs March 22, 2020 — 2:14 pm

    Thanks for the service! You probably even mean (gasp) Democrat’s. With all my spare time I’ve come up with several Phil pleasing plans. All of which you’ve squashed.

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