Lenten Reader | Day 18

God Will Provide

The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”

Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?”

But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”

Then 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?”

Exodus 17:1-7
Are you waiting for an answer from God right now? Are you getting agitated that the answers aren't coming as quickly as you want or that the answers aren't the answers that you're looking for? Do you think that God no longer cares about your day-to-day life?

I'm glad that God chose the Israelites as his people. Because his people of that day are the same type of people that he chooses today. We have our mountaintop experiences. We see the unbelievable things come to life right in front of us. Then, when small things in life agitate us, we become impatient and quickly forget what's already been done for us. In our story, what have the Israelites already witnessed? God has delivered them out of Egypt and the ten plagues. He provided protection for them and guidance with the pillar of fire as he marched them out of Egypt. He made a way for them across the Red Sea and defeated their enemies as they fell to a watery grave. He has provided manna for them in the desert, fresh every day. Now they are thirsty. Instead of going to God and asking him to take care of their needs they fall back to grumbling and complaining. Again, they blame Moses for leading them into the desert to die. Yet God still provides for his forgetful and impatient children.

The answer didn't come the way they expected it. God does something special. God does something unique. God does something unexpected. He provides water from the most unlikely place: a rock. As you wait in hope, don't let your response be remembered in the same way as the Israelites here in the desert. Moses gave this place two names – Massah, meaning to test and Meribah, meaning to quarrel. Don't let your response be a quarrel with God, testing his sincerity for us. But let it be gratitude for what has already been done, full of expectation of something special and unexpected as “We Wait in Hope”.

John Manasco