September 25, 2011
1 At the Lord’s command, the whole community of Israel left the wilderness of Sin[a] and moved from place to place. Eventually they camped at Rephidim, but there was no water there for the people to drink. 2 So once more the people complained against Moses. “Give us water to drink!” they demanded.
“Quiet!” Moses replied. “Why are you complaining against me? And why are you testing the Lord?”
3 But tormented by thirst, they continued to argue with Moses. “Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Are you trying to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst?”
4 Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What should I do with these people? They are ready to stone me!”
5 The Lord said to Moses, “Walk out in front of the people. Take your staff, the one you used when you struck the water of the Nile, and call some of the elders of Israel to join you. 6 I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai.[b] Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink.” So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on.
7 Moses named the place Massah (which means “test”) and Meribah (which means “arguing”) because the people of Israel argued with Moses and tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord here with us or not?”
Two weeks ago, we looked at the Hebrews crossing the Red Sea. Last week, God provided them manna. This week again we have the people confronting Moses and questioning his motives and questioning God. Did God really bring them out to the wilderness to die? Perhaps that is what they thought. But we have seen several times now, how God has brought them through whatever they were facing. It again reminds me of the saying, “It God brought you to it – He will bring you through it.” I think I can understand where the Hebrews are coming from even though I don’t want to. How many times has God intervened on my or my family’s behalf and I just go back complaining to Him again when I come up against the next trial. It is so crazy. We know the Lord is working in our life and yet, just like the Hebrews, we forget time and time again. It’s at times like that, we remember God’s great love for us. Last night we were reading Psalm 136, which repeats the phrase over and over and over, “His love endures forever.” God is so patience with us, even when we don’t deserve it. I don’t think God minds questioning, but when He has provided over and over and over again, I think it gets old. This place was named for what happened here – Massah/Meribah — Testing and arguing — I don’t think that’s a good thing. Jesus warned the devil about unnecessarily testing God. He said we should put God to a foolish test. This is a good reminder to all of us about how we should respond in light of God’s great mercy and love toward us.