Two-a-day football practices consisted of grueling heat, sprints, running, getting sick, and more heat. I remember thinking that the coaches were just having fun making kids work this hard (and let’s be honest, some of them were). At the time, I failed to see the bigger picture. I failed to trust that working harder and longer in the summer heat would prepare me for the fourth quarter of football games in November. Today, we will see the people’s lack of trust in God when he has a bigger picture in mind.
- When in your life have you struggled to trust God?
READ THE WORD: EXODUS 17:1-7 (ESV)
1 All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” 3 But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” 4 So Moses cried to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” 5 And the Lord said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel, and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Specifically, what did the people of Israel accuse Moses of doing to them (vs. 3)? How did the use of these extreme accusations reflect their attitude?
- What did Moses’ statement to God about the people of Israel’s threats (vs. 4) reveal about Moses, and his fears and doubts?
- Who did the Lord send with Moses (vss. 5-6)? Why is this significant?
- In Exodus, the Lord had previously delivered the people of Israel out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, and provided them quail and manna from heaven; and yet, still the people of Israel doubted. What are some of the times in your life when you have doubted, even after being provided for by God?
RESPOND TO GOD
After many definitive examples of God’s miraculous interventions, the people of Israel continued to grumble and complain to Moses. They tested the Lord even in the face of God’s continued providence and deliverance. Aren’t we the exact same? Isn’t it just like us to continually complain, whine, and challenge God, in spite of his evident blessings in our lives? Yet, God in his mercy answered the people’s question: “Is the Lord among us or not?” God met their need and in a crystal-clear way demonstrated that he was with them. God is with us too. Do we have eyes to see?
- Take a moment to reflect on God’s blessings and provision in your life. Thank God for the specific examples of answered prayers and magnificent grace.
- Ask God to give you eyes to see and a heart to receive the truth that he is, indeed, with you.