Stop and thank God for being present with you today. Ask for God’s guidance as you hear God’s voice through scripture and the writer.
Numbers 20:1-13 (NRSV)
The Israelites, the whole congregation, came into the wilderness of Zin in the first month, and the people stayed in Kadesh. Miriam died there, and was buried there.
Now there was no water for the congregation; so they gathered together against Moses and against Aaron. The people quarreled with Moses and said, “Would that we had died when our kindred died before the Lord! Why have you brought the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness for us and our livestock to die here? Why have you brought us up out of Egypt, to bring us to this wretched place? It is no place for grain, or figs, or vines, or pomegranates; and there is no water to drink.” Then Moses and Aaron went away from the assembly to the entrance of the tent of meeting; they fell on their faces, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and your brother Aaron, and command the rock before their eyes to yield its water. Thus you shall bring water out of the rock for them; thus you shall provide drink for the congregation and their livestock.
So Moses took the staff from before the Lord, as he had commanded him. Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Listen, you rebels, shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his staff; water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their livestock drank. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me, to show my holiness before the eyes of the Israelites, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” These are the waters of Meribah, where the people of Israel quarreled with the Lord, and by which he showed his holiness.
This scripture always brings me comfort, ironically. Here is a people who have walked out on faith, away from slavery, and find themselves stranded. Moses and Aaron were the ringleaders of this entire tent tour. Here they are, at a place of uncertainty, discomfort, and fear. “How are we going to make it through this?” “How is my family going to survive this transition?” “What if I can’t handle this?” “Where is God now?” In my imagination, I see Moses and Aaron attempting to calm the people, while on the inside they are asking the same questions. Even though God has provided for them before in miraculous ways, the doubt common to humanity overwhelms them. All of a sudden, God provides once again, in unbelievable and unpredictable ways. Water out of a rock? That’s crazy!
We have all been there, in one way or another. Perhaps we follow the call to change careers and find ourselves facing a budget that is much tighter than we had expected it to be. Maybe someone in the family becomes ill, which depletes our finances. Perhaps a devastating storm destroys our home, our belongings, and our soul. This scripture shows us that God is always with us, even when our doubt is strong. In times of doubt, find comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone! Even Moses did!
God, when we doubt that you will provide, be with us.
When we are afraid of the unknown, reveal to us your peace.
When devastation arises, comfort us.
When we forget all the miracles we’ve experienced, remind us.
When we feel isolated and don’t know where to turn, whisper this scripture to us.
May we find comfort knowing that we are not alone and that you will always provide (even in unexpected ways). Amen.
Go with God.