Tuesday

Don't forget. Have faith.


"We want water!"

Moses had heard enough. The people were whining again. They seemed to do that whenever they encountered difficulty. They were like children on a road trip: "Are we there yet?"

“Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”

Moses cried out to the Lord, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”

The Lord answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

The journey from Egypt was long and the people's constant griping had made it even longer. I'm sure Moses wondered many times how a people could gripe so much, especially after God had delivered them from slavery under Pharaoh in such a miraculous way.

"Is the Lord among us or not?"

Could they be serious, given what the Lord had already done for them?

Unfortunately, they were. Check out a portion of Psalm 95:

Today, if only you would hear his voice,
“Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,[a]
as you did that day at Massah[b] in the wilderness,
where your ancestors tested me;
they tried me, though they had seen what I did.
For forty years I was angry with that generation;
I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
and they have not known my ways.’
So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’”

God was angry for 40 years?  That's a long time. Yet, as a parent I can understand his anger. If one of my children ever said that I had not done anything for them and doubted me every time they needed something I believe that you could describe the emotion that would surge through me as anger. Here, God had delivered the children of Israel from the grip of cruel slavery by sending ten plagues on their captors; he had divided the sea so that they could cross ahead of the Egyptian army and then drowned all of the soldiers; he had provided meat for them because of their whining. He had made their daily bread fall from the sky. He had done so many things and yet they accused God of deserting them when they needed water. Yes, I think if I were God I would be mad. 

 This portion of Psalm 95 with its poignant reminder of the Israelites constant griping, sends a strong warning to my heart, "Don't forget how God has blessed you. Have faith. Don't worry."   If God has helped me in times past, he will do so again. There's no reason to doubt when trouble comes.  Yet, sometimes I forget and the mountain of trouble seems too difficult to cross. It seems there are no streams of life-giving water. The heavens become a glass ceiling through which my prayers may not pass.   And then, in his goodness, God makes water flow from the rock. I am humbled. I tell myself to remember next time; to quit forgetting that God never leaves me even though his presence is not evident.    

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6.

We must endeavor to think the best of God no matter what. That is faith. This pleases God. How is your faith?        

a.Psalm 95:8 Meribah means quarreling.
b.Psalm 95:8 Massah means testing.