Today in God’s Word
Exodus 17; Luke 20
We find in Exodus that the exhilaration following the “going out” of Egypt, God’s parting of the Red Sea and His complete vanquishing of the Egyptian army pursuing has since subsided. Why? The Israelites were thirsty. What was their response? They reacted with conflict and carping Exodus 17:1-3.
Trials in life may press us to push away from God.
Notice how the lack of faith and trust in God among the people of Israel was exposed by the hardship they faced in the desert. When we are squeezed by our circumstances, what’s inside us often comes out (cf. James 4:1-4). God had delivered Israel from the hands of the Egyptians with a mighty miracle when they were hemmed in and headed for certain destruction Exodus 14:30-31. They had seen God’s mighty power on display just days earlier. Yet, they did not believe that God would quench their thirst. This manifested itself in their accusations and faultfinding of their leader, Moses.
When they were squeezed by ‘cotton mouth’ they looked for somebody to blame and they went straight away complaining to Moses. They disregarded the blessing of liberation from bondage, opting instead to pin their problem on the prophet who led them out of captivity. Take note of the fact that they blamed Moses, but they were charged with the sin of testing God (Exodus 17:2, 7). Massah means “testing”, “temptation,” “trial” or “calamity.” Meribah means “strife” or “contention.” The place was marked as the place where the Israelites complaining expressed that they found God insufficient.
We tend to behave like the Israelites at time when we are pressed by problems. Our true faith comes into view when we at tested with difficult trials. Do you lash out at those you love and who love you when you’re in a trial? Times of trial demonstrate and testify to the faith that’s in our heart rather than in our words.
Trials in life should draw us even closer to God.
Consider the other side in this showdown in the desert. Moses faced the conflict and was the recipient of the heated criticism. His character and leadership were challenged. What was Moses’ response? We see in Exodus 17:4, that Moses response in this trail was to take it to God. He didn’t lash back, but instead took his complaints and cried out to the Lord for help. Of course God heard his plea and answered Moses’ prayer. Moses did not shrink from the people, but he also didn’t fight a battle that was not his to win. He rebuked the people for their lack of trust in God even to the point of naming the place for their lack of faith and murmuring Exodus 17:7. Moses trusted God despite his frustration with the people.
Today, we will probably face some conflict. Ours won’t be on the scale of a confrontation with millions from an angry and thirsty nation we are leading, but we will surely face problems. Will you purpose in your heart to trust your problems to God? Will you choose not to wrongly blame others for the trials God has you walking through? God will prove Himself faithful and He will grow your faith.
Soli Deo Gloria!