Reading: Exodus 17:1-17
Life is a spiritual battle. Israel’s faith in God is constantly under attack; sometimes from the outside, as with Pharaoh. At other times the attack is from within – this battle (against sin and unbelief) is in every believer’s heart. So it is in this chapter. God leads the Israelites to Rephidim. When they see there is no water they complain much. First they demand water instead of waiting for the Lord to give it (Vs 2). Second they deny God’s protection saying “Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” (Vs 3). Third they doubt that God is with them saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?” (Vs 7). While Israel directs its complaints against Moses, they are actually complaining to God. It was God, not Moses, who led them to Rephidim where there was no water.
Instead of complaining, Israel should remember that God provides for them with great displays of power. He rescued them from Pharaoh’s power, gave water at Mara and manna in the Wilderness of Sin (Ex 15, 16). They so quickly forget God’s blessings. Instead of demanding water, they should ask Moses to pray, and patiently waiting for God’s time. Instead of questioning God’s presence, they should look at the great cloud showing God is there. But no, as soon as they have a problem they commit a great sin by complaining.
We understand Israel’s reaction because we so often complain ourselves. Our complaints, too, are unjustified and evidence of the inner spiritual war. What should we do? Remember what God does for us and what He promises. When we are faced with a problem, consider that God is your almighty Father. Meditate on what He has given to you in the past. Recall when He rescued you from a difficult situation. When we consider His goodness we will trust Him without complaining.
Key text: Ex 17:2 “So Moses said to them, ‘Why do you contend with me? Why do you tempt the LORD?’ ”
Question: What do you learn from this passage about your own life?