But tormented by thirst, they continued to argue with Moses. "Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Are you trying to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst?" Exodus 17:3
It is interesting that if you have done the devotional this week, you have noticed a change in the Israelites. Remember when they crossed the Red Sea, the Bible told us that they put their faith and trust in God and Moses' leadership. Now they are well on the road trip, and they are tormented by thirst. Their unchecked complaining has led them to doubt the leadership of Moses and the leadership of God. Instead of looking to God for help, they are commiserating with one another and almost to the point of mutiny.
What changed for the people that set them on this course? Over and over, they had seen God come through during their trials in the desert. God had afflicted the Egyptians with plagues, parted the Red Sea, provided water in the desert, and rained down bread in the form of manna so they would trust in Him. But here, they doubt that God is even in their midst because of their extreme thirst. This whole time, God is trying to teach the Israelites the importance of depending up Him, but it is evident in this passage that they are not getting this message.
Before you get really critical of the Israelites, think about how patient God has been with you. You might have wandered away from the truth for a time and lived life by your own standards. It may have been that your faith became a list of rules over a real relationship. You could have been angry at God for not answering a heartfelt prayer, so you stopped attending church altogether. We have all had times where we have doubted and questioned where God is leading.
When we hit that point of questioning and wondering about where God is leading, we have to turn to Him for help. The Israelites, at this point in their journey, are still confused about how to approach God, but we have the whole story on this matter. God made a way for us to connect regularly to Him through Jesus. Jesus is our advocate who carries our needs before God. He made it possible for us to connect directly with God, rather than through a priest or temple, by dying on the cross. When you feel lost, confused, or uncertain, you can find peace by turning to God for help.
For your journal today, think about the patience of God. Write out some ways that God has been patient with you over the years. It could have been that you were rebellious and went your own way, or it might have been that your heart drifted from the things of God even though you attended church. Put together some ways you have seen and experienced God's patience in the past, then think through some ways you need to trust Him this coming week. One of the ways we reset our focus is by worshipping together on the weekend. We hope to see you in church!
Read Exodus 17:1-7 (NLT)
At the Lord’s command, the whole community of Israel left the wilderness of Sin and moved from place to place. Eventually they camped at Rephidim, but there was no water there for the people to drink. So once more the people complained against Moses. “Give us water to drink!” they demanded.
“Quiet!” Moses replied. “Why are you complaining against me? And why are you testing the Lord?”
But tormented by thirst, they continued to argue with Moses. “Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Are you trying to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst?”
Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What should I do with these people? They are ready to stone me!”
The Lord said to Moses, “Walk out in front of the people. Take your staff, the one you used when you struck the water of the Nile, and call some of the elders of Israel to join you. I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink.” So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on.
Moses named the place Massah (which means “test”) and Meribah (which means “arguing”) because the people of Israel argued with Moses and tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord here with us or not?”
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