Let your soul take a moment of rest as you hear God’s word. Put your busy schedule, wandering mind, stressful thoughts, and burdened heart at the feet of the cross and open up to God’s voice as the Giver of Life tends your soul.
Exodus 17:1-7 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. The people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried out to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” The Lord said to Moses, “Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.” Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
It is easy for us to think of the Israelites and their seeming hard-headedness, but this being the season of Lent, I wonder how many of you fasted for just Ash Wednesday and our day of prayer and fasting. If you did, you found out it was difficult. In fact, I went to sleep about an hour and a half early because I was hungry and cranky and I didn’t want to bother my family. It was one day. And it was by choice. These folks were thirsty, and not by choice. So life can be tough, it can be hard.
You can respond in anger against God. This is the route the Israelites chose. They were mad and they weren’t gonna take it anymore. This is a lack of faith. They were angry in their spirit. They were quarreling and testing God. It showed that they had no fear, love, or faith in God. As soon as God quit giving, they quit loving.
A proper way to respond to God when you are baffled by God’s seeming lack of provision is by faith and soul searching and faithful questioning before God. Scripture gives many examples of the faithful questioning God, but they do so in a spirit of humility and faith. They never put God to the test as the Israelites in the wilderness.
God, your eye is on the sparrow. You clothe the lilies of the field and feed the birds of the air. Help us to turn to you in humility and faith when we are in our greatest needs. We know that in you we have all the provisions of heaven. Amen
Go with God!