Welcome to Lent meditation and worship with Westside church. During this Lenten season, meet us here each day as we read scripture, worship and rest in the presence of God together. Know that as you listen today, you are doing so with others whether in the same space as you or not, and we pray that the Holy Spirit permeates the places we each find ourselves in right now.
Let us start today by clearing our minds and opening our hearts and minds to what the Lord wants to speak to us through His word today. Take a deep breath in and out. And another in and out.
The entire community of Israel traveled in stages out of the desert of Sin, just as the Eternal instructed. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water there to quench their thirst. 2 Once again the people complained to Moses.
Israelites: Give us water to drink! We’re thirsty.
Moses: Why do you aim your complaints at me? Why are you testing the Eternal One?
3 But the people were so thirsty for water, they complained to Moses and leveled accusations against him.
Israelites: Why did you lead us out of Egypt? Was it to kill all of us—our children and livestock included—with this thirst?
4 Moses had had enough of their complaints, so he cried out to the Eternal One.
Moses: What am I supposed to do with these people and their relentless complaining? They are on the verge of stoning me.
Eternal One (to Moses): 5 Here’s what I want you to do: go on ahead of the people and take some of the elders of Israel with you. Also, be sure to bring your shepherd’s staff—the one with which you struck the Nile. 6 I will be there when you arrive standing at the rock of Horeb. I want you to strike the rock with your staff; and when you do, water will flow out of it so that everyone will have enough to drink.
The elders of Israel accompanied Moses and watched as he did what the Eternal directed.
7 Moses named the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites complained and tested the Eternal, saying, “Is He standing with us or not?”
Have you ever felt like the Israelites and wondered if God was really for you and tested God? The Israelites had spent so much time in captivity, that they thought they were better off back in Egypt. They couldn’t comprehend why God would take them out of Egypt into wilderness. They weren’t trusting God and what he said he would do. Have you ever felt this way?
God doesn’t despise testing when it comes from a place of faith. In Mark one of the disciples says to Jesus, “I believe but help my unbelief.” It’s ok to question and wonder and doubt. But it does matter what state our heart is in when we do so. God will not be put on the defense of proving himself. But He will always meet us where we are and bring us along in what he is doing. Exodus 17 is a moment when the Israelites are wanting to understand why Moses would do this, and really questioning why God would do this to them. And God meets them in that moment. He takes Moses out ahead of the Israelites to provide water in a weary and wild place. God meets a very practical need for them and guides them to where he is.
Theologian Matthew Henry writes, “God can open fountains for us where we least expect them. Those who in this wilderness keep to God’s way, may trust him to provide for them. Also, let this direct us to depend on Christ’s grace. The apostle says, that Rock was Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4), it was a type of him. While the curse of God might justly have been executed upon our guilty souls, behold the Son of God is smitten for us. Let us ask and receive.”
Are you trusting God to be your guide? Trusting that he is going ahead of you to make a way for you? I know it may not always feel that way, but talk to him about it. Approach him in the humility of wonder instead of the aggression of accusation.
Enduring Presence, goal and guide, you go before and await our coming. Only our thirst compels us beyond complaint to conversation, beyond rejection to relationship. Pour your love into our hearts, that, refreshed and renewed, we may invite others to the living water given to us in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
WRITE and DISCUSS